Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Autism Conversations

Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Review - Autism Conversations

About the Book
Dr. Marilyn J. Monteiro has released a new book providing valuable new techniques for evaluating children on the autism spectrum, and how to communicate findings to parents and others on the treatment team. AUTISM CONVERSATIONS: Evaluating Children on the Autism Spectrum through Authentic Conversations (Western Psychological Services, 208 pg., paperback) demonstrates a conversation-based approach, allowing for a more personalized and descriptive response to autism diagnosis.

Recent Centers for Disease Control estimates report a rising rate of autism - 1 in every 110 births in the United States in 2009.  Thanks to growing attention from the medical community and high profile celebrities - "autism" is fast becoming a household word. Just this past year, NBC prominently depicted a child on the autism spectrum in its highly-rated prime-time drama, “Parenthood.” Despite all the attention, the autism diagnosis remains a complicated, emotionally tense, and often misunderstood process.

With AUTISM CONVERSATIONS, Dr. Monteiro shares years of field work and interaction with thousands of children. She introduces a new framework and approachable terms that are of equal value to autism practitioners and to parents.

While autism became a clinical study in the 1930s, it took decades for the neurodevelopmental disorder to become publicly recognized.  In the 1980s, as diagnostic processes progressed, the term became more familiar, but the symptoms and treatment remained debatable.  Parents with children on the autism spectrum generally did not have the same tools with which to have informative and valuable conversation with doctors and teachers.  It was at that time Dr. Monteiro began her long career focusing on evaluation and training. 

Regarding the unique way in which the book is accessible to parents as well as teachers and clinicians, Dr. Monteiro explains, “The conversational approach to evaluating children on the autism spectrum adds an authentic and nuanced understanding of the child to the diagnostic process.  Professional evaluators love using the conversational approach because the children they evaluate relax and enjoy the process of sharing their unique worldview.   Parents trust the evaluation process more because the evaluators are able to describe the child instead of stating a diagnosis based on checklists and technical language.  When children are understood in an individual and authentic way, adults become better teachers and advocates.”

Chapters in AUTISM CONVERSATIONS include:

1.       Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders: Setting the Context for the Conversations
2.       Conversations With Children: The Sensory-Based Diagnostic Interview
3.       Conversations With Parents: The Parent Interview
4.       Conversations With Teachers: The Teacher Interview
5.       Collaborative Team Conversations: From Interview to Diagnosis
6.       Conversations With Parents: The Diagnostic feedback Conversation
7.       Written Conversations: Constructing a Narrative Report

About Dr. Marilyn Monteiro
Marilyn J. Monteiro, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and expert in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders. During her 25-year career, Dr. Monteiro has evaluated more than 4,000 children on the autism spectrum. Her clinical work focuses on evaluating children and training other professionals. She helps educators and clinicians across the United States better understand and use her methods for diagnosing and working with children on the autism spectrum and their families.  Dr. Monteiro is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences, speaking on autism issues and autism evaluation.  Dr. Monteiro continues to provide autism evaluations in schools throughout Texas, and she thoroughly enjoys having conversations with individuals on the autism spectrum.

My Take on the Book
Autism is something that touches so many families throughout the world. This book provides both guidance and solace for these families. The author does a wonderful job at providing great examples for families to relate to. Also, the best part of this book comes from the wealth of knowledge and down to earth experience that the author has had that she in turn is sharing with her readers. If autism has touched you or your family, this is a wonderful resource that will aid you in your journey!

If this sounds like a book you would like in your own library you can find it on Amazon!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Terms of Use  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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