An Autism Casebook for Parents and Practitioners
The Child Behind the Symptoms
Drawing from the author’s extensive clinical experience, this autism casebook offers stimulating reflections and a fresh perspective on how we assess, diagnose, and ultimately treat young children thought to be autistic.
Challenging what she perceives as the rampant over-diagnosis and misdiagnosis of autism, and the commonly accepted status of autism as an unchangeable trait, Dr. Levin Fox illustrates how the developmental play strategies of DIRFloortime, combined with the creative psychological perspective of Reuven Feuerstein, create an effective way of identifying the child's strengths behind the autistic symptoms. The chapters are an accessible mix of clinical insights, theoretical reflections and vivid case stories that argue and illustrate that qualitative assessment methods based on play have the power to yield a more accurate clinical understanding of a child's difficulties—and strengths—than conventional symptom-focused autism assessment methods.
This engaging casebook will stimulate practitioners, educators and students in the field of autism to question commonly held assumptions when assessing and treating autistic children, as it both urges and illustrates more reflective practice. Parents of children considered autistic will find renewed encouragement and hope in these enlightening case stories.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Call from the Trenches
PART ONE CHILDREN
Chapter 1. Jack: Misdiagnosis and the Burden of Doubt
Chapter 2. Sasha: The Specter of Early Diagnosis
Chapter 3. Annie: Emergence from the Shadows
Chapter 4. Davie: A Longer Journey
Chapter 5. Joe: Was it Too Late?
Chapter 6. Mikey: Talk to Your Child
Chapter 7. Max: The Impact of Oral Dyspraxia
Chapter 8. Josh: Developmental Drama
PART TWO THEORETICAL GROUNDINGS
Chapter 9. Feuerstein's Vision and Vocabulary
Chapter 10. Searching for Islets of Normalcy
Chapter 11. DIRFloortime Basics
Chapter 12. Islets of Normalcy Revisited
Chapter 13. The DSM on Autism: A Closer Look
Chapter 14. Autistiform but Not Autistic
Chapter 15. Toward a Paradigm Shift
Chapter 16. Concluding Reflections
Shoshana Levin Fox, EdD, is a child psychologist specializing in play therapy. Since completing doctoral studies in Canada, she has worked in Jerusalem, where she lives with her husband.
"An Autism Casebook for Parents and Practitioners: The Child Behind the Symptoms is a marvelous read that combines the heroic success stories of resilient children and their families impacted by autism, while offering educational play strategies within a historical context taken from the author's own professional experiences utilizing the developmental/relational treatment model DIRFloortime with the modifiable directives of the Feuerstein clinical paradigm. The result is a text that continuously challenges the reader to consider, among other things, the limits if not the dangers of overused diagnostic terminology, while continuously seeking the strengths that ultimately define and maximize the potential of each individual child."
Esther Hess, PhD, Executive Director, Center for the Developing Mind, Los Angeles, CA, USA
"An Autism Casebook for Parents and Practitioners: The Child Behind the Symptoms is a breath of fresh air for the field of autism. Dr. Levin Fox sweeps aside many assumptions about autism and replaces them with reflections, questions and insights for practice that grew from her extensive career working with autistic children. These case stories do more than engage. They illustrate new ways of understanding and helping autistic children. This book is a 'must read' for therapists interested in expanding their clinical perspective on autism and for educators guiding students toward reflective practice. Parents of children with autism will find encouragement and guidance in this important book."
John Allan, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada