Saturday, January 8, 2011

Book Review: Behavior Solutions for the Inclusive Classroom

This newest book that I recently finished is a little bit different than the usual ones. Not only is it not autism specific, it’s the type of book that you don’t necessarily have to read all the way through. It’s more of a handbook that one can refer to when needed.

The book is called Behavior Solutions for the Inclusive Classroom, and is written by Beth Aune, Beth Burt, and Peter Gennaro. Interestingly, this particular book has a LOT of your basic OT related advice- because one of the authors happens to be an OT! I think it is really fantastic to get that perspective in. The book gives valuable information to those who may not have access to OT services.

The OT point of view is so important, particularly in figuring out solutions to behavioral issues. As we moms of kids with autism know, behaviors can often stem from unmet sensory needs. Sometimes solving a behavior problem is as simple as providing a weighted blanket or handing a child a straw to chew on. Rather than focusing on consequences and rigid adherence to rules, the book really explains why certain behaviors occur and how meeting those unmet needs changes those things. In addition, ideas are put forth that offer a way to meet a child’s sensory need without drawing the attention of others and making the child seem different and thus less likely to end up being teased.

The book can be used by parents, teachers, therapists… Basically anyone who is working with a child exhibiting the behaviors discussed. And there are a LOT of behaviors. Most books seem like they focus on a small handful of things, leaving a whole lot out. The issues and their solutions can be applied to kids with autism, ADD/ADHD, mental health diagnoses, emotionally disturbed children, and those with various developmental disabilities. Some can even be applied to “normal” kids like my daughter.

This is definitely not the type of book you would read all the way through, then set back on the shelf. No, this one is meant to be frequently looked through. As it says on the cover “See a behavior, look it up!” I think that every inclusive classroom (or EC/special needs classroom) should have a copy. I’d offer my copy to my son’s school if I thought they might read and apply some of what they read. The way the book is laid out makes it super easy to flip around, find the info needed, and move on to the next thing. Suggestions for solutions are written very succinctly, taking a couple minutes at most to read- rather than taking up too much time in the midst of a situation.

Behaviors discussed include out of seat behaviors, fidgeting, hand flapping, covering ears, running away, putting head down, trouble with homework, losing things, missing assignments, poor handwriting, trouble following directions, saying rude things, clothing issues, talking too much, decision making, lack of eye contact, outbursts… The list goes on and on.

Not only is the book chock full of helpful information that can be applied to many different diagnoses, it is also fantastic because the tips range from very young or very severely impaired children, right on up to teenagers and higher functioning kiddos. There is great information for any child, any age, and any disability.

This book will definitely find itself opened time and time again, as I check out new behaviors and get ideas for how to deal with those. I see myself sharing it with friends too. The writing style is friendly and not overly professional, making it an easy read. I am really impressed with this one.

No comments: