Behavioral Challenges in Children with Autism and Other Special Needs

The Developmental Approach

Diane Cullinane (Author)

Overview | Contents

Attune, help, and recover: a structured developmental approach to behavioral challenges in children with disabilities.

This book offers a comprehensive view of behavioral challenges for a child with autism or other special needs from a developmental perspective based on the DIRFloortime® framework. Parents and professionals are guided to understand and improve a child’s behavior while also supporting underlying developmental capacities for shared attention, warm engagement, trust, initiative, creative shared problem solving, symbolic and logical thinking, and the development of personal values.

The approach is presented in three parts. Step-by-step, clinicians, caretakers, and educators will learn how to use the developmental approach to:

1. Understand the many variables involved in the behavior of a child with special needs,
2. Effectively respond to a challenging behavior in the moment with three key steps: attune, help, and recover
3. Create a long-term plan to support developmental and behavioral progress.

When a child with a disability has a behavioral challenge, a clinician is confronted with the complexities of the child’s developmental strengths and vulnerabilities, individual differences, and his or her unique pattern of interactions in personal relationships. Keeping all the variables in mind, the developmental approach provides a plan that supports a child’s growth and deepens his or her capacity for perspective and care for others.

The framework is based on universal developmental principles, which are effective regardless of the child’s particular age or disability. By recognizing a child’s developmental level of functioning, an adult can select strategies to effectively guide the child toward higher levels of relating, thinking and communicating. Through the process of compassionate attunement, and building on a child’s strengths, adults can optimistically chart a clear path to long-term success.

A refreshing alternative to rewards-and consequences-based models of behavior management, the methods and practices in this book will empower any adult who interacts with a child with special needs, whether their work is directly focused on improving behavior, or because they must provide support so that the child can participate in other endeavors.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • August 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-70925-4
  • 6.6 × 9.6 in / 368 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“[A] useful tool for parents, families, students, and professionals working with children who have special and developmental needs. . . . Cullinane provides a structured and comprehensive foundation for those seeking greater knowledge of how to treat children with special needs.” — PsychCentral

“Every parent encounters the stress of behavioral challenges with children. This book offers insight into the meaning of these behaviors, identifying where development has gone awry, and offers effective solutions. In the ways Dr. Cullinane has translated the DIRFloortime Model, parents and professionals will find understanding, hope, and guidance in helping children of every age develop self-regulation and experience the security of relationships that help them feel understood and able to regulate emotions, think ahead, be flexible, and relate to others. This book is valuable, compelling, and easy to read. It provides the in-depth answers parents and therapists have been looking for.” — Dr. Serena Wieder, Profectum Foundation, Co-Developer of the DIR Model

“This book is a thoughtful and important contribution to the literature on developmental approaches to treating autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. Dr. Cullinane stresses the need to understand individual differences when considering behavioral challenges, and to integrate this understanding into the treatment approach. Her emphasis on the child's internal world and experience of self and others is an essential and timely contribution to the field of intervention for behavioral challenges in those with special needs.” — Kathy Koenig, MSN, Yale Child Study Center

Behavioral Challenges in Children with Autism and Other Special Needs accurately and respectfully elucidates Stanley Greenspan's developmental model and Floortime intervention, and also expands upon them with Dr. Cullinane's own astute and carefully laid-out techniques and observations. While emphasizing the importance of Greenspan's insights on the emotional basis for learning, this book underlines and develops those insights in important new ways, supporting the reader through clear explanations and short, well-targeted examples. It is a valuable, highly recommended addition to the DIR Model.” — Nancy Greenspan, The Greenspan Floortime Approach

“[A] vital resource for so many families and professionals in the world of special needs... [G]raceful blending of how to turn developmental thinking into helpful responses by walking the reader through the phases of sharing negative moments... [Offers] a unique gift by so explicitly explaining how one actually applies the theory when the relationship most critically needs it.
” — Griffin Doyle, PhD, faculty member and former Co-Chair of the Infant Mental Health Postgraduate Seminar Program at the Washington School of Psychiatry

“Cullinane provides a healthy description of why some children exhibit more difficulty with self-regulation and a stronger inclination to our primitive fight-or-flight reactions…. Especially important is the description of the DIR (Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-Based) approach and the parents' role in helping their child with behavioral issues through play and natural environmental variables.... Most public schools in the United States follow the ideals of the developmental approach, so this book can support those interventions and provide the necessary steps to provide consistency across settings.” — American Reference Books Annual

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