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by Rebecca A. Moyes
Jessica Kingsley, 2001
Review by Jodi Forschmiedt, M.Ed. on May 2nd 2003

Incorporating Social Goals in the Classroom

Like many experts in the field of autism and Asperger Syndrome, Rebecca Moyes has a child with the diagnosis.  As a teacher who was driven by necessity to learn how to cope with her son's issues, she shares her hard-won expertise in Incorporating Social Goals in the Classroom, and excellent how-to manual for teachers and parents of children with autistic disorders.

Moyes defines Asperger Syndrome (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) interchangeably.  She focuses her discussion on the deficits in social communication and social behavior exhibited by these students.  The remainder of the book contains strategies, in the form of lesson plans, activities, environmental manipulations, assessments, and published curricula, to bolster the social skills of students with AS and HFA.

Moyes' lesson plans include a detailed description of a group or individual instructional activity.  Each one begins with an associated Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) goal and concludes with suggestions for additional practice at home.  Though the lesson plans lack a discussion of data collection and documentation methods, special education teachers should be able to supply this missing piece. 

The sensory issues of children with AS receive an extensive discussion which points out the impact these problems have on the students' ability to function in the classroom and interact with their peers.  Moyes provides several examples of sensory issues and makes practical suggestions for ameliorating their effects. 

In "Interventions to Promote Acquisition," Moyes describes a number of well- known curricula designed to facilitate the social success of children with disabilities.  She lists advantages and disadvantages of the methods discussed, along with many examples and illustrations.  Informal strategies also receive some attention, with enough detail to make it easy for a teacher to adapt any of them to their own classroom.   

The most useful chapter for teachers may by "Social Skills Assessment Tools: Samples and Descriptions."  Moyes takes us through numerous methods for identifying the social communication and behavior deficits of students with and without AS, and lists the characteristics that mark a successful skills inventory.  This chapter will save teachers a lot of legwork in choosing an assessment instrument.

Parents will find the final chapter, "IEP Development," invaluable.  Moyes explains the process thoroughly and advises parents to take a proactive, even aggressive stance in ensuring that their child's needs are appropriately and consistently addressed.

Incorporating Social Goals in the Classroom would be a worthwhile addition to the school curriculum library, or to the shelf of any teacher serving a student with AS in an inclusive setting.  Special education teachers may wish to recommend the IEP chapter to parents who need assistance in becoming more involved in the process.  Moyes' work adds needed, practical information to the body of literature on autistic disorders. 

 

© 2003 Jodi Forschmiedt        

Jodi Forschmiedt reads, writes, and teaches in Seattle, Washington.