3rd Edition

Learners on the Autism Spectrum Preparing Educators and Related Practitioners

Edited By Pamela Wolfberg, Kari Dunn Buron Copyright 2024
    354 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    354 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This third edition is a foundational text that has been updated and expanded to prepare educators, therapists, and other care providers with vital knowledge and practical skills to support diverse learners on the autism spectrum. Covering an expanse of fundamental topics, this edited volume features new directions in research and practice that are essential to understanding the ever-changing field of autism. Along with new chapters from leading experts (including those who identify as autistic), this revision places greater emphasis on the intersection of neurodevelopmental differences with ethnicity, race, culture, language, gender expression, and socioeconomic experiences. The diverse disciplines and perspectives presented provide a foundation on how these students learn and how best to provide them with effective teaching, therapy, and social supports. This book equips readers with knowledge and skill to competently apply reflective and humanistic practices that prioritize the preferences, strengths, and values of autistic learners from all walks of life.

    List of Contributors  Acknowledgements  Introduction  I. Foundations of Understanding and Support  1. Re-presenting Autism and Evidence-Based Practice: Tenets of Competent, Humanistic and Meaningful Support  2. Autism Spectrum: An Overview  3. Brain–Behavior Connections in Autism  4. Sensory Processing: Identifying Patterns and Designing Support Strategies  5. Getting a Good Start: Effective Practices in Early Intervention  6. Creating Inclusive Environments for Autistic Learners: Universal Design for Learning  7. Structured Teaching and Environmental Supports  8. Teaching a Different Way of Behaving: Positive Behavior Supports  9. Personal Perspectives and Autistic Authority  10. Finding Our Way: Experiences of an African American Parent and her Autistic Son  II. Guiding Learning, Development and Socialization  11. Social Communication and Language Development in Autistic Leaners  12. An In-Depth Discussion of Emotion Regulation and Autism  13. Using Interactive Multi-Media Technology to Teach about Emotions  14. Harnessing the Power of Special Interest Areas at Home and School  15. Play, Friendships and Autism: Co-creating a Culture of Inclusion with Peers  16. Social Cognition as a Lens for Understanding, Supporting and Teaching Autistic Learners  17. Transitioning to Adulthood for Secondary Students on the Autism Spectrum  18. Growing up with Autism: Perspectives of a Parent and Son  19. Educational Experiences Across the Lifespan: A Personal Perspective


    Pamela Wolfberg, Ph.D., is professor emerita at San Francisco State University where she coordinated autism spectrum studies and served on faculty in special education with the joint doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley. Having originated the Integrated Play Groups model and founded the Autism Collective for Peer Socialization, Play and Imagination, she has an active international agenda leading research, training, and global outreach to advance social inclusion, play, and creative expression as fundamental human rights.

    Kari Dunn Buron, MS, worked with autistic students in K-12 special education for over 30 years. She created an autism certificate program for educators at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. Kari received her MS degree in behavior disorders and learning disorders from Illinois State University, where she was recently inducted into the Education Department Hall of Fame. Kari was one of the founding members of the MN Autism Network, a statewide group of educators, and is a past president of the Autism Society of Minnesota.

    ‘Learners on the Autism Spectrum’ is an exceptional, comprehensive work gifted to us by two of the most respected voices in educating and supporting the development of autistic individuals. For this edited and updated volume, Pamela and Kari have convened experts, researchers and practitioners to share their cutting-edge expertise in a manner that will be of great value to educators, therapists, family members and autistic individuals. In addition to the the practical content, the lived experience of, and respect for autistic individuals and family members shines through in this essential volume.


    ~ Barry M. Prizant, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Communicative Disorders, University of Rhode Island, and author of Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism



    How much easier my life would have been if I had read this book during my teacher education classes years ago! This material bridges the gap between theory and practice for those who work with children on the autism spectrum, saving much trial and error. The tips for the classroom are especially helpful.


    ~ Mary Schlieder, special educator, inclusion specialist, and author, With Open Arms –Creating School Communities of Support for Kids with Social Challenges



    Pamela Wolfberg and Kari Dunn Buron have compiled a critically important volume in supporting learners on the autism spectrum. As each individual's needs are different, they offer us multiple perspectives on how to support learners with contributions from a list of seminal authors in the autism field, including the crucial voices of those on the spectrum and their families. All the chapters share a humanistic framework that respects the perspectives and preferences of learners on the spectrum. From early intervention, school related academic and behavioral supports, social-communication strategies, to transitioning to adulthood, the reader will find what they need to get the latest information on assisting those on the spectrum.


    ~ Jed Baker, PhD, author of Social Skills Training for Children & Adolescents with Autism and Social Communication Differences, No More Meltdowns, Overcoming Anxiety in Children and Teens, The Social Skills Picture Book, Preparing for Life, No More Victims, and School Shadow Guidelines. www.jedbaker.com



    This is a very thoughtful update of a must-read text. ‘Learners on the Autism Spectrum’ provides a deep dive into important current topics for students and professionals in the field.  This is one of the only texts to include the voices of autistic experts. I have added this treasure to my professional library and strongly recommend this book. 


    ~ Barry G. Grossman, PhD, Ziggurat Group



    This is a treasure trove of tips on how to educate children with autism...This highly approachable book contains chapters by leading experts describing their insights into the nature of autism spectrum disorder, written with teachers in mind. It makes plain that teaching these children is both enormously challenging and hugely rewarding.


    ~ Uta Frith, FmedSci, FBA, FRS, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development, University College London



    It is rare to see such a comprehensive guide to research and theory in autism that at the same time uses exemplars to make it all accessible and addresses the question that parents and educators most want to know – what does it all mean, and how can I use it to make a difference? This book will be a wonderful resource for all those seeking to understand (and value) people with autism.


    ~ Professor Rita Jordan, Autism Centre for Education & Research, University

    of Birmingham, United Kingdom



    This is an important textbook in the current autism renaissance...Today, parents and professionals have a wide variety of books to inform and guide their efforts. This book, however, isn’t about autism’s “yesterday” or even its “today.” ‘Learners on the Autism Spectrum’ is about autism’s tomorrow. It merges current thinking with insight to equip each reader with the tools needed to effectively educate learners on the spectrum in the future...Its purpose and quality distinguish it from many other books in the field... It is evident that the editors and authors ... have responded to people on the spectrum with care, creativity, and a respectful and unassuming curiosity. In between the lines of text, and directly reflected in the case examples that open each chapter and the lists of ideas that close them, is a demonstration of how to think about autism...The result is a volume that contains a rare social competence with the potential to connect all learners on or alongside the autism spectrum – university students, professionals, parents, and learners diagnosed with ASD and their peers... (Excerpted from foreword of previous edition).


    ~ Carol Gray, Director of The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding, Grand Rapids, Michigan, US

    The latest edition of “Learners on the Autism Spectrum” goes beyond providing essential knowledge and practical skills that professionals seek to meet the needs of individuals with neurodevelopmental differences by also taking into consideration personal intersectional needs based on sociocultural identities (e.g., ethnicity, race, language, gender expression, socioeconomic). This foundational text is an excellent choice for use in an institute of higher education course on autism.


    ~ L. Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan, Professor, University of St. Thomas