Seven Keys to Unlock AutismMaking Miracles in the Classroom
The acclaimed approach to helping children with autism, profiled in the award-winning documentary Autism: The Musical This groundbreaking book outlines seven integrated keys for educators and parents to make meaningful connections with children on the autism spectrum. The book is based on the unique approach used by Elaine Hall and Diane Isaacs of The Miracle Project, a musical theater program for children with autism and their peers and siblings. The Miracle Project integrates traditional and creative therapies in an interactive, social dynamic. The book shows how to apply these effective strategies at school and at home to nurture kids' self-expression and social skills. Elaine Hall and The Miracle Project were profiled in the two-time Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary, Autism: The Musical Seven Keys reveals the seven-step program that has proven so successful for children in the Miracle Project After reading Seven Keys teachers and parents will better understand this puzzling disorder and be able to help children with autism draw connections and form more meaningful relationships Seven Keys to Unlock Autism offers readers strategies for creating a personal skill set to make their encounters with autistic children as successful and rewarding as possible.
Acknowledgments ix About the Authors xi About The Miracle Project xiii Foreword by Stephen M. Shore xv Introduction: It Starts with You xvii The Seven Keys xviii How to Use This Book xix The Keys xx Elaine’s Story xxiii Part One: Autism 101 1 Primer: Autism Through a Different Lens 3 A Brief History 7 Inspirational Stories 11 Autism’s Alphabet Soup 13 Part Two: The Seven Keys 19 Key One Set an Intention 21 Key Two Develop Acceptance and Appreciation 37 Diane’s Story of Acceptance 51 Key Three Understand Sensory Profile 59 Key Four Follow the Leader 73 Key Five Include the Child 87 Key Six Practice and Preparation Make Progress 105 Key Seven Live Miracle Minded 121 Conclusion: Opening Doors 131 Part Three: Appendixes 135 Appendix A: The Resource Room: Tools for Using the Seven Keys 137 Primer: Leading Schools of Thought 138 Autism Organizations 139 Films 141 IDEA and IEP 142 Key One Resources 142 Key Two Resources 143 Key Three Resources 144 Key Four Resources 144 Key Five Resources 145 Key Six Resources 145 Key Seven Resources 146 Appendix B: Additional Corners of the Resource Room 149 Environmental Factors 149 Classroom Set-Up 151 Proactive Tools 153 Accommodations 157 Creating Consistency Across All Environments 160 Creating a User-Friendly System 161 Seven Keys to a Smooth IEP 164 The Greatest Untapped Resource: The Parent 167 Index 175
"This should be required reading for all teachers. Each of the seven keys are simple to add to not only the classroom but the home." (examiner.com, April 2012)
Elaine Hall ("Coach E") is the founder of The Miracle Project. When traditional therapies failed to help her autistic son, she sought out creative people—actors, writers, and teachers—to work with him. The methods Elainedeveloped to reach kids with autism resulted in The Miracle Project and were profiled in the HBO documentary, Autism: The Musical. Diane Isaacs is the cofounder of The Miracle Project. A successful film producer, she is the former president of Green Moon Productions, which she cofounded with Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith. Diane produced The Miracle Project's benefit album, FLY, with artists including Jack Black, Stephen Stills, and Chaka Khan. She is expanding The Miracle Project nationally and internationally, from India to Ethiopia.
Seven Keys to Unlock Autism offers educators, parents, and other caregivers specific and actionable techniques to reach "seemingly unreachable" children on the autism spectrum and teach students of all abilities. With the increased number of children diagnosed with autism, this essential resource is needed now more than ever. Seven Keys to Unlock Autism can help anyone develop a personal skill set to better understand and access these often hard-to-reach children. Step-by-step, this engaging book shows how to identify these skills and use them in your daily interactions with kids on the autism spectrum. Using the ideas outlined in the book, teachers and parents can create more meaningful relationships for optimal results in the classroom and at home. The seven keys are based on the unique, world-acclaimed approach used by Elaine Hall and Diane Isaacs of The Miracle Project, a fully inclusive socialization and communication program for children with autism and their typically developing peers and siblings. Featured in the Emmy Award winning documentary, Autism: The Musical, this proven program seamlessly integrates traditional and creative therapies in an interactive, dynamic social environment. The seven keys uncover and develop the diverse skills, wisdom, and talents of children on the spectrum. Each key includes a self-led exercise, examples of ways to navigate potential obstacles, "from the trenches" advice from real-world educators, and "Quick Keys" for ongoing daily support. Seven Keys to Unlock Autism is sure to be a trusted companion for rewarding classroom success.
Praise for Seven Keys to Unlock Autism "These seven essential keys unlock for readers a greater awareness, acceptance, and appreciation of the gifts waiting to be reaped from relationships with people having the fascinating, sometimes vexing (but rewarding in the end) condition we call autism." —from the Foreword by Stephen Shore, EdD "Seven Keys to Unlock Autism is extraordinarily rich in wisdom and honest, practical advice. Welcome this book into your home and you will be inspired. Miracles are never easy, but they are closer than you think." —Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP, creator of the DVD and book The Happiest Toddler on the Block "Elaine Hall's Miracle Project is a 'miracle'—a miracle of ingenuity, human intimacy, and creativity. This magnificent work vividly demonstrates the joy and hope of discovering the creative and emotional capacities that exist in all children but especially in those children with autism and other special needs." —Stanley I. Greenspan, MD, author, Engaging Autism and The Child with Special Needs "What a remarkable guide for educators and care providers of people with ASD! In Seven Keys to Unlock Autism, Elaine Hall and Diane Isaacs urge us to live the timeless advice shared by Gandhi: 'You must be the change you want to see in the world.'" —Barry M. Prizant, PhD, CCC-SLP, director, Childhood Communication Services, adjunct professor, Center for the Study of Human Development, Brown University, and coauthor of The SCERTS Model "This book is a blueprint for us all to use in addressing our 'differently abled' kids. Finding our own internal regulation is where it all begins!" —Stephen Stills, musician, parent, and advocate