Book review: Motivate to Communicate!

A Straight Talking Introduction to Children's Mental Health Problems; Motivate to Communicate! 300 Games and Activities for Your Child with Autism

Motivate to Communicate! 300 Games and Activities for Your Child with Autism

Simone Griffin and Dianne Sandler

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

ISBN 978-1-84905-041-8, £12.99


Simply playing with a child with autism can be a challenge, writes Michael Fitzpatrick

I well recall, shortly after my son James was diagnosed with autism, trying to engage him by throwing a soft ball for him to catch. While his older brother was delighted to share in the to and fro of all sorts of ball games, James would give a withering look, forcefully signalling that such interaction was of no interest whatsoever.

Parents who, like us, have struggled to find ways to connect with their autistic child through play can now turn to this simple yet profound book, which suggests numerous ways to use play to enhance communication and engagement. These offer a welcome alternative to the often frenetic pursuit of intensive early interventions, both behavioural and biomedical, on which parents often feel impelled to embark – not least because of the difficulty of engaging a child with autism in familiar childhood play.

This book is the product of a collaboration between a speech therapist and a teacher working in the dynamic children’s services of the London Borough of Hackney. Royalties are going to the development of a school for children with autism in St Lucia. Brilliant.

Michael Fitzpatrick. is a GP in Hackney, east London. His book Defeating Autism: A Damaging Delusion is published by Routledge.

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