The Conversation Train
Release Date:01 Apr 2014

The Conversation Train

A Visual Approach to Conversation for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

This inventive color picture book uses the metaphor of a train to teach basic conventions of conversation to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).


Locomotives are like greetings; they get the train going. Train cars are like different speakers' turns; it is good to have at least a few when you are in conversation. A switch track is like a tactful change in the topic of conversation. When a conversation veers off-topic it is like a derailed train. As well as attractive color photographs of trains, the book contains engaging photocopiable worksheets and coloring pages to help promote skill generalization.


This highly visual approach to conversation is ideally suited to children with ASDs aged approximately 5-13.

RELATED TOPICS: Disability Studies, Education
This book is a vital tool for anyone teaching conversation skills! The Conversation Train is packed with engaging locomotive imagery connecting the aspects of conversation with trains in a tangible way. It explores advanced conversation issues such as a "derailed" conversation, or expanding interactions by "making the train longer." This interactive format capitalizes on the natural appeal of trains, offering specific teaching cues to support positive peer interactions. A must-have for any elementary teacher or parent.

– Jill D. Kuzma, M.A. CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist and Social Skill Teacher, Minneapolis, MN

Joel Shaul is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in ASDs. Through his organization, Autism Teaching Strategies, he provides workshops on social skills teaching and mental health treatment methods. He is also co-creator of Ryuu social skills products. He provides clinical and consultation services at The Watson Institute of Sewickley, PA. Joel's website can be found at
Introduction. Promote Skill Generalization Using the Train Imagery. Using the Worksheets. Section One: The Conversation Train. Part One: Starting a Conversation. Part Two: Taking Turns in Conversation. Part Three: Staying On Track. Part Four: Changing Topics. Part Five: Ending the Conversation. Part Six: Putting it All Together. Section Two: The Conversation Train Worksheets. What Do the Different Parts of the Train Mean? Hello Words, How Are You Words, Switch Track Words and Goodbye Words. Fix the Mixed-Up Conversation. Things You Love Can Make You Go Off Track. People You Know and What They Like Talking About. People You Know and What You Both Like Talking About. The Two-Person, On-Track Worksheet. Choosing the Right Words with Different People. Keeping Track of Staying on Track. Conversation Train Coloring Pages.
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