The Groundbreaking Method that Has Helped Families All Over the World
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The director of Global Education for the Autism Treatment Center of America chronicles how his parents pioneered a new treatment for autism after receiving a grim prognosis of his condition.

In 1974, doctors informed Kaufman’s parents that their 1-year-old son was so severely autistic that he ought to be institutionalized. He was unresponsive and transfixed by inanimate objects and repetitive activities. The parents rejected this advice and, fortunately for the author, decided to go it alone, relying instead on their own experiences as professional educators. Kaufman explains their approach. As they saw it, their primary task was to develop a relationship with their son. They spent hours sitting with him, imitating his behavior patterns, including hand flapping and rocking. Gradually, they built a foundation for communication, and their son began to respond. They created games to use as learning experiences, and in just five years, the author writes, he was on the road to full recovery and able to attend school. In 1976, his father, Barry Neil Kaufman (No Regrets: Last Chance for a Father and Son, 2003), wrote Son Rise, the first of his many self-help books. Then the Kaufmans opened the Autism Treatment Center to share their methods. (Their children, including the author, now run the center.) Avoiding the techniques of behavior modification, the methods promoted by the center help parents understand how repetitive behavior patterns give autistic children an illusion of control—autistic children deal with sensory overload by shutting out their environments. The center offers motivational tools and training for parents and caregivers on how to structure an emotionally safe environment in which children can experiment with new social skills. Kaufman includes links to training guides and three appendices.

An innovative, alternative approach to creating a child-centered environment that directly empowers parents and caregivers.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-250-04111-1
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2014


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