Thank you!!! There is so much information out there about autism (and sadly, still so much we still don't know) that this compendium is an absolute gift from Heaven. I am one year in from my daughter's diagnosis of autism. She is now 4 years old and we are very much in the thick of things regarding treatment options and therapies. This book has been great about including just about every methodological treatment and approach (that is, both biomedical and traditional therapies) used to treat Autism Spectrum Disorders today. They talk about ABA therapy, special diets like gluten-free casein-free diets, floortime, aquatic therapy, chelation, Son-Rise, occupational therapy, marijuana, parasites, physical therapy, and much more. (Can you tell that this really runs the gamut of possibilities?)
The authors cut through autism politics by allowing practitioners of these therapies to present their approach in their own words. The book is arranged with each treatment having a single essay/article ranging anywhere from 2 to 8 pages compiled in alphabetical order. This may be unhelpful to some parents first investigating autism treatments simply because there is no overall voice telling them which treatments are more effective, widespread, researched, or recommended. There is also no voice to counter any one of these treatments by describing any dangers or adverse effects, relying on the contributors to critique their own approaches. Clearly, there can be a downside to this. But I believe that Siri and Lyons calculated that it was more important to avoid the controversies and politics so common in autism circles which can sink any autism treatment book from the beginning. Instead, they felt that parents were better served by having the compendium with comprehensive information in a single place. Think of this book as a starting point for investigation. When an approach seems worth investigating, do further research on that approach than what is found in the book.
The only other possible criticism I have is about the contributors themselves. In some instances, a therapeutic approach is described by a founder or key practitioner of that particular approach. Some articles are authored simply by a certified therapist. But a problem with either of these is that while the therapeutic approach may be very highly recommended, the author may not have adequately explained its methodology, may not fully engage the reader, or poorly represent its benefits and/or shortcomings. In essence, it may be that a certified practitioner or even the founder of a methodology is not the best salesman for that same methodology. I found some of the essays were more compelling or more accessible/easily readable than others. I urge that readers keep this in mind when reading this book--try to glean the information and not necessarily reject an article because it may not have been the most effective author who wrote it. For instance, I personally found the ABA therapy article a bit boring -- though ABA is the most widely recommended approach and we've had much success with it for our daughter. On the other hand, I found the marijuana article very compelling, but I am unsure about whether or not it is appropriate for my own daughter.
I am so grateful that this book is available. The sheer volume of information out there is overwhelming. Siri and Lyons have done a tremendous service for parents like me.
If you found this review helpful, please let me know.
Parents and teachers seeking innovative ways to assist children with autism will find this a very useful resource.
For parents of children with autism, research is a full-time job. For parents with limited time, ability, or resources to do this, Ken Siri and Tony Lyons have compiled the latest in autism theory, research, and treatment. Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism contains contributions from more than eighty experts on a variety of therapies, models, and multifaceted evaluation and treatment centers. Each contributor gives the reader a basic description of the topic, including its scientific rationale, development, risks, and benefits. Siri and Lyons include the therapies of the future, focusing on current clinical trials, ongoing research, and the researchers striving to better understand autism and find new treatments.