We look at this book which came out in hardback in 2021, and is due out soon in Ireland in paperback also. You can see more about the book and the author Mary Barbera here.

Turn Autism Around: An Action Guide for Parents of Young Children with Early Signs of Autism, reviewed

This is an area which is rapidly evolving as more and more is learned about the various learning difficulties that some, probably more than we realise, children experience from an early age. The author of this book, Mary Barbera is especially relevant to be discussing this topic because, despite her reluctance to accept it, her own children had differing degrees of autism. This is where this book could be very helpful to many readers, both globally, and in Ireland too.

Barbera clearly articulates the challenges she faced, first to come to terms with the fact that her children might have autism, and then to identify what could be the best ways to mitigate and create some coping structures for dealing with her children’s learning issues. A quick google of the term ‘is autism curable’ would suggest that this is a life long challenge for many children, who then grown into adulthood. At the same time, through some degree of trial and error, Barbera has created some methodologies for early identification  and then strategies to help autistic children achieve some learning targets that they had been struggling to achieve.

This is all especially relevant in an Irish context as, even if you think your child might be on the autistic spectrum, it can take a long, long time to get them identified and treated within the Irish healthcare system. First you may have your own doubts about if your child has it, then your first visit to a GP will probably result in a ‘lets wait and see shall we?’ response.

Then, with persistence, you may finally get your child referred, and, if you are lucky, perhaps another year+ later, they might, finally, see a specialist, who, often then confirms your concerns. The issue with this slow approach is that, from Barbera’s own delayed response, is that the child in question may have suffered developmentally along the way.

We didn’t agree with all the parenting advice, for example multiple day time naps can be dropped sooner, and toilet training is possible to start earlier, and co-sleeping just sounds like such an avoidable pain in the neck. However within the context that there are many ways to parent, and to a large degree, it is each to their own, Barbera has still created a super useful resource.

With many, many practical suggestions to help ensure that at least some aspects of your child’s autism can be identified and dealt with much, much sooner than solely waiting on a delayed diagnosis and treatment plan from the public health sector, especially while the global pandemic plays it self out.

Identifying and accepting that your child might have some degree of autism is a tough journey to embark on, but the sooner that the process is begun, the more you can do to help your child and your family. A book well worth reading.

More about the book

Developmental delays and signs of autism usually show up before 18 months of age. This book is for parents of young children aged one-to-five years who are passionate about helping their child as well as learning how they can return their lives to as much normalcy as possible.

This book introduces a novel approach to teaching children with developmental delays that uses the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) but marries it with a positive, child-friendly methodology that any parent can use – whether or not their child has delays – to learn communication skills and socialisation strategies, as well as tackle sleep, eating, toileting and behaviour challenges in a positive, effective and lasting way.

This book will teach parents that they can’t afford to wait and empower them to regain hope and take back control with simple practices they can implement themselves – even 15 minutes a day – to dramatically improve outcomes for their children.

Dr. Barbera has created a new approach to teaching kids with developmental delays that uses the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) married with a positive, child-friendly methodology that any parent can use–whether or not their child has delays–to learn to teach communication skills, socialization strategies, as well as tackle sleep, eating, potty training, and behavior challenges in a positive, effective, and lasting way.

More about the author

Mary Lynch Barbera, Ph.D.,RN, BCBA-D, “fell” into the autism world in the late 1990s when her first-born son Lucas started showing signs of autism.

Over the past two decades, Mary has transformed from an overwhelmed and confused parent to a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and the author of The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders.
Mary is an award-winning international speaker, podcaster, and online course creator.

Her mission is to help parents and professionals turn autism (or signs of autism) around for millions of children around the world.

See more reviews here.


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