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Autism and Understanding

Autism and Understanding
The Waldon Approach to Child Development

First Edition


June 2012 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This book does not offer a 'miracle cure' for autism, although the authors aim to counteract the prevailing view that autism is a lifetime condition. Authors Walter Solomon, Chris Holland and Mary Jo Middleton demonstrate that with the appropriate intervention, children with autism – and other special needs – can gain a fuller understanding of the world and learn to take a constructive and contributing place in it.

The authors set out an approach based on Dr. Geoffrey Waldon's philosophy of the development of understanding, which centers on helping children learn how to learn. The Waldon Approach is presented through accounts of how it has helped to enrich many lives.

The book includes:

  • The inspirational story of the author's son, diagnosed at two with autism
  • An introduction to Geoffrey Waldon's theory and working methods
  • Testimony from parents, covering autism and a range of learning difficulties

Teachers, therapists, doctors, parents and special interest groups will find this book an important and transformational read.

Early Days 1968-1972
School Years 1972-1987
College Years, UK and Israel 1987-1998
Work and Marriage 1998-2011
The Waldon Theory of Child Development and the Waldon Approach
Centres Influenced by Geoffrey Waldon
Case Studies of Children on the Autistic Spectrum
Not Only for Autism - More Case Studies
Functional Reading: A Special Orientation of the Approach

'Dr Waldon offered hope to parents, not only changing lives but also often saving lives. The book is a worthy tribute to how Dr Waldon dediated his life to helping children and their families'

-Saira Pester, Special Children

'A regular one hour lesson using the Waldon Approach can have a significant and lasting impact. It is refreshingly low-tech, and complements and reinforces the student's learning and activities throughout the rest of their day. But, most important, it provides a framework for understanding how children learn and how children who have difficulties might be helped'

-Peter Bowker, Teacher of the Waldon Approach

'Geoffrey's theories were about development and learning and they were applicable to everyone at every stage of life. Although his ideas were actually far broader, he became identified with learning disabilities and with autism. But anyone, from any culture or of any age, could benefit'

-John Gooding Teacher of the Waldon Approach

'Author Walter Solomon is a father

inspired to write about his son and the

educational programme which the

author feels was crucial to his son

overturning the experts’ expectations to

become an employed, happily married

man...He puts his case convincingly,

leading you into an understanding of the

method, rather than trying to define it up

front.This is a book I am going to treasure'
- Communication

'This is an important book for mental health professionals about the Waldon approach to child development, and based originally on the author's experience with his son...This is clearly a philosophy that deserves to be more widely known, and the author has done a fine job in this respect'
-David Lorimer, SCI-MED Network News

'It is meant to be, and succeeds in being, accessible to parents and teachers...It is a fascinating and highly readable publication'


The book is easy to read and is often written as a dialoguebetween people discussing an experience or teachers andother professionals retelling a case study and the progressthose children made. There is an extensive bibliographythat has been personally selected by the author andsorted into books on autism, child development,neuroscience and movement. However, I question theauthor’s opinion that autism is not a lifelong conditionand that the Waldon Approach can be used at any age inany culture.This book would be informative for teachers and otherprofessionals who work with autistic children that maybe further along on the spectrum, although it may havelimited application for the specialist literacy teacher.

Siobhan Smillie, specialist teacher and parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome
Dyslexia Review

"The authors of this book should be congratulated for producing a useful resource that explains the journey of one family through the maze of explores most of the important issues of autism in an accessible and jargon-free way.  It also gives the reader access to a website with relevant videos, podcasts, forums and other valuable materials."
-Mike Gibbs, Keele University

Mike Gibbs
Keele University
Learning Disability Practice Volume 16 Number 1

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