3rd June 2005 at 01:00

This concise book is essential reading for every teacher, support worker and parent. It has brief, helpful case studies, checklists and a wealth of ideas that should fit in, or, occasionally, alongside, a good classroom structure. It is a perceptive, empathetic description of the autistic spectrum, and a package of support for all concerned with the care and education of children affected by these disorders.

Dave Sherratt describes autism as "a difference in thinking style", which immediately focuses the mind on seeing things from another's point of view, rather than seeing only difficulty and bizarre behaviour.

It is not unusual for many young children to need some help learning how to make friends, see things from another's point of view or communicate effectively, but the particular difficulties associated with autism mean children may need more specific help, and may continue to need it as they grow older.

Sherratt demonstrates first hand observation of, and successful interaction with, children with autism, showing how using a child's interests can increase motivation to learn basic classroom skills and competencies. This wholly positive approach is based on sharing and learning together.

If you've never read a book about autism, read this one first.

Margaret Sahin

Early years teacher, Bardwell school, Bicester

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