The Bottom Line
By Sandra Furia and Jennifer DiTrani; 161 pages. Subtitle: Initiation conversation; Asking questions; Scripted conversation; Fading written scripts.
Learning the give and take of social conversation can be a major challenge to kids on the autism spectrum or with pragmatic language difficulties. But you may find that school speech therapists are more interested in dealing with articulation than social speech. T.A.S.C., written by a speech therapist and a special education teacher, gives a good blueprint for teaching conversation, one you can start at home or pass on to school personnel.
- Gives guidance for teaching social speech
- Contains tools and templates for implementing the program
- Starts with specific scripts and moves to more general checklists
- Intend for therapists and teachers, but much of it can be used at home
- Spiral-bound format makes it easy to use
- Some of the techniques are best used in a classroom or therapy group
- Parents may have trouble getting kids to cooperate and work on these skills
- Once you teach your child to converse, you're going to have to be available to talk talk talk
- Chapter 1: Scripted Conversation
- Chapter 2: Conversational Starter Cards
- Chapter 3: Basic Script Writing
- Chapter 4: Expanded Script Writing
- Chapter 5: Advanced Script Writing
- Chapter 6: Initiating Conversation
- Chapter 7: Asking Questions
- Chapter 8: Conversational Rules
- Chapter 9: Activity Schedules
- Appendix - Prompting Techniques, Sample Goals and Objectives, Parent Forms, Parent-Student Forms, Data Sheets
Guide Review - Book Review: T.A.S.C. - Tools for Achieving Social Confidence
Conversation seems like it should be an easy enough thing -- you say something, I say something, we respond to each other's words. But if you have a child with an autism spectrum disorder or pragmatic language difficulties, you know that it's so much more complicated than that. Teaching a child the specific rules of showing interest in the thoughts of others and expressing one's own interests in a friendly way may seem like a daunting task, but T.A.S.C. breaks it down into a clear progression of skills and easy-to-implement exercises.
The book is intended for therapists and teachers, not parents, but there is plenty of material here that could be used at home. The format of the spiral-bound book is to introduce a method for working on conversational skills -- from scripted cards to child-written scripts and checklists -- and then provide materials for implementing it.
Some of the more advanced concepts may work better in a classroom or therapy group with multiple kids, but certainly the scripted cards are something that could make for good interactions between parent and child, and there are worksheets that would make for good home reinforcement. Use what you can, then pass the book (which includes IEP goals) on to school personnel with a request that it be implemented for your child.
My own copy of the book is well-traveled. It's been passed among a couple of different speech therapists and a couple of teachers working with my kids at various times. So impressed were they all with the tools here that, when I learned from the book's site that co-author Furia's practice was in my area, I signed my kids up for her program. In the interest of full disclosure, then, I do know one of the authors -- but not until after I was already a fan of her book.