Talk to Me
Release Date:01 Feb 2014

Talk to Me

Conversation Strategies for Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum or with Speech and Language Impairments

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

If your child finds talking to people a struggle, this is the book to get the conversation started.

In this hands-on guide, Heather Jones offers practical advice, born of experience with her own son, which will help you teach your child the principles of communication. Full of strategies and examples, it shows how you can allay fears, build confidence and teach your child to enjoy conversation. Once a child gets used to talking with other people, many life skills can develop more easily as they grow up – from making friends and shopping for themselves, to being interviewed and eventually getting a job.

This handy book provides guidance and inspiration to parents, teachers and anyone else who cares for a child who finds language and comprehension difficult.

This should be read by parents of all children, not just those with autism. – Lorretta Perry, grandmother of Yvander, a 17-year old with ADHD and autism
‘Heather Jones has given us an easy-to-read book on an important and complex topic—conversation. She brings a wealth of experience and understanding of her son who, like many others, lacks the skills (though not the interest) to talk with us. Lots of tips for parents here. We need more books from those who live with those coping with autism.’ – Anne M. Donnellan, PhD, Professor, University of San Diego, Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin-Madison
With the benefit of hindsight and personal experience, Heather Jones has provided a powerful insight into the complexities of raising a child with Asperger Syndrome and significant speech language impairment. This enlightening account of Jamie's journey from angry, frustrated child to communicative young adult should not be missed. – Sarah Frost (M.Ed; Ba hons) Educational Consultant
‘This book is a sign of emotional intelligence at its best. It is a wonderfully inspiring piece of writing and should be at the fingertips of parents everywhere who want to think clearly and communicate lovingly with their children. Heather Jones has displayed all of the insights of on outstanding communicator in approaching the problem of connecting with, and developing the communication skills of, her son. She has then managed to translate these insights into clear and simple steps for all to follow.’ – Patsy McCarthy, Adjunct Professor, Speech Communication, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
... those who have Asperger syndrome. They need help to learn the art of conversation and how this might be done is what the author of this book demonstrates. Jessica Jones writes from a wealth of practical experience: she has a son, now a young adult, who has Asperger syndrome and language impairment... She stresses the importance of asking open questions to develop meaningful conversations and reminds readers that the skill of conversational turn taking has to be taught to aspies, again providing personal examples... There are useful chapters on making friends, coping with social situations such as parties and youth groups and how to cope with authority figures... All in all, a very helpful, empowering and affirming book for parents and others working with children who need help in communicating.

– Red Reading Hub blog by Jill Bennett

Heather Jones's son, Jamie, has Asperger Syndrome and severe speech and language impairments. When Jamie was 10, Heather stumbled across a way of getting through to him. Over the years she developed this methodology in more detail, calling it conversational therapy, and has never looked back. Jamie is now 19 and can hold a conversation, which has enabled him to go on to achieve much more, including passing his driving test and getting a job. Heather is the Director of Milkwood Educational, which publishes ESL textbooks in the Far East. She lives in Queensland, Australia.
Preface. Part I. Working on Conversation. 1. Increasing Vocabulary is Not Enough! 2. How to Get Your Child Talking. 3. Demanding a Conversation from Your Child. 4. It's Never Too Late to Start Encouraging Conversation. 5. Talking about a Diagnosis. 6. Finding a Reward System that Your Child Can Verbalise. 7. Using a Diary as a Conversation Catalyst. 8. Teaching Your Child to Ask 'Wh' Questions. 9. Teaching Turn-Taking in Conversation. 10. Teaching Your Child to Be an Active Listener. 11. Being an Active Listener for Your Child. 12. Teaching the Importance of Staying on Topic (without Over-Indulging in Special Interests). 13. What is Phatic Communication and Why is it Important? 14. Encouraging the Use of Names. 15. How to Help Family and Friends Have Conversations with Your Child. 16. Talking about Body Language and Emotions with Your Child. 17. Understanding the Importance of Pauses and Silence. 18. Making the Most of Stories and Story-Telling. 19. Using Mind-Maps to Improve Conversation. 20. Coping with Idioms and Incorrect English. 21. Teaching Your Child to Verbalise Distress (and Avoid Meltdown). 22. Conversation Starters in the Supermarket. 23. Conversation Starters on Car Journeys. 24. Conversation Starters and Special Interests. 25. Encouraging Conversation with Games and Puzzles. Part II: Developing Social Skills, Life Skills and Independence. 26. Making Friends. 27. Dealing with Authority Figures. 28. Birthday Parties and Youth Groups. 29. Planning for Practical Life Skills. 30. Using Mind-Maps to Develop Abstract Life Skills. 31. Organising Daily Life and Establishing a Routine. 32. Giving Your Child Responsibility for Daily Tasks. 33. Preparing Your Child to Organise His Life. 34. What Your Child Can Learn from Caring for a Pet. 35. Preparing Your Child for Cooking. 36. Preparing Your Child to Manage Money. 37. Noticing the Absence of Meltdowns and Encouraging Resilience. 38. Preparing Your Child for Job Interviews. 39. Preparing Your Child for Driving. 40. Preparing for the First Day at Work. Afterword. Where Are We Now? Appendix 1. Charting Your Child's Progress.
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