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Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders
Characteristics, Causes and Practical Issues

Third Edition

May 2022 | 376 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

What are the historical foundations of autism and what precisely is meant by the 'autistic spectrum'? How can we explain behavioural patterns of people with autism, young or old, and what are the major theoretical bases for understanding these? What is the latest thinking regarding diagnosis, and what are the most effective strategies for assessment, education and care for people on the autistic spectrum?

From historical information to methods of assessment, and from intervention to education and support, this informative and accessible text explores theories at the psychological, neurobiological and 'first cause' levels. This fully up to date Third Edition answers these questions with a strong practical focus, encompassing the latest research on autistic spectrum disorders. New features include:

  • Further reading suggestions
  • Glossary of technical terms
  • Updated information on autism support services
  • Personal illustrative examples

Jill Boucher is a retired academic psychologist.  Her most recent post was Professor of Developmental Psychology at City, University of London.

Part I: What is Autism?
Chapter 1: Historical Background
Chapter 2: Current Concept and Definition
Chapter 3: The Fuller Picture: Shared Characteristics
Chapter 4: The Fuller Picture: Sources of Diversity
Chapter 5: Facts and Figures: Epidemiology and Lifespan Development
Part II: What Causes Autism?
Chapter 6: A Framework for Explaining Autism
Chapter 7: Root Causes
Chapter 8: Brain Bases
Chapter 9: Proximal Causes 1: Diagnostic Behaviours
Chapter 10: Proximal Causes 2: Additional Shared Characteristics and Major Specifiers
Part III: Practical Issues
Chapter 11: Assessment, Diagnosis and Screening
Chapter 12: Intervention
Chapter 13: Care

‘A free spirit and strongly critical mind; an independent thinker, with encyclopedic knowledge of autism.  Who else can write a multidisciplinary book on autism single-handedly?’

Laurent Mottron, Professor of Psychiatry and research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience of Autism, University of Montreal.

‘An invaluable and comprehensive ‘go-to- guide for both my BPhil and Med in Autism, providing reliable information in an easily accessible way.’

Trudi Rainsberry, Special Educational Needs Teacher and Researcher specialising in autism.

The author of this excellent book states in the preface that she intended to "provide an account of autism that people with little or no specialist knowledge will find comprehensible and digestible, but which at the same time offers more advanced readers a clear summary of existing knowledge". In my opinion, she has achieved her stated goal, in a most impressive volume which does justice to the complexity of the subject covered, without being over-long or alienating the less knowledgeable reader. This is no mean feat, as the book covers topics as disparate as the potential genetic cause of autism and the principle of inclusive care as applied to people with autism. The result is a handbook which I would have no hesitation in recommending to an intelligent parent of a child with autism, a teacher, and undergraduate student or a clinical trainee. In fact, I feel that this book has something to offer even a supposed "expert" in the study of autism since it so neatly synthesises historic and current understanding of the condition... a thoughtfully written book, which makes a modern, thorough and readable account of a complex and intriguing condition′ - Autism

′This is an authoritative, accessible and original approach to our current understanding of autistic spectrum disorders′ - Rita Jordan PhD, Emeritus Professor in Autism Studies, University of Birmingham

′Jill Boucher is a leading academic and clinician who brings an individual and authoritative perspective to the autism field. In this book she does an excellent job of communicating a broad range of practical as well as theoretical issues to a general audience, making up-to-date information about this puzzling condition accessible to a wide readership. Boucher′s book is a welcome and unique addition to the literature′ - Tony Charman, Professor of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University College of London

As a parent, I found this book insightful, and it was  useful to learn how autism is understood by clinicians and researchers. As a student,  I found the  writing clear and informative. – Psychology student and mother of a son with ASD

Reviewers of the second edition

Complicated concepts and terminology are clearly explained/made accessible. The 'boxes' provide good resources to use in class. Excellent glossary.

Mrs Ursula Quick
School of Social Sciences, Business and Law, Teesside University
May 31, 2023

Excellent text for anyone wanting to learn more about autism. The LRC are ordering 5 copies in the first instance.

Mrs Beverley Earley
Childcare and education, Coleg Gwent
June 4, 2023

Ideal text for this course

Professor john knutsen
Psychology Dept, Harvard University
November 1, 2023

The book has been added to our Learner Experience module, where PGCE trainees consider to individual needs and challenges learners face in the classroom.

Miss Chloe Hindmarsh
Division of Education and Humanities, Sheffield Hallam University
November 22, 2022

Builds on previous edition

Dr Erwin Neumark
Psychology Dept, Concordia University
September 21, 2022

Detailed and compassionate. An excellent companion reosurce for those training to teach in SEN provision.

Dr Clare Winder
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Central Lancashire
May 18, 2022

A really well structured and evidence based text. The use of examples and case studies in boxes adds to interest and accessibility.

Mrs Sian Templeton
Department of Education, Gloucestershire University
March 22, 2022

This is a really helpful book which encompasses a lot of the key topics covered in the module.

Mrs Claire Carkin
Healthcare, Nursing & Social Work, City College Norwich
March 31, 2022
Key features
  • Provides readers with essential information about autism, as well as the latest thinking on diagnosis
  • Features case studies, poems, and examples from children with autism
  • Follows the DSMV criteria for autism

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 13: Care

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