Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Book Review: Seven Keys to Unlock Autism; an educational approach

Seven Keys to Unlock Autism, the new book by Elaine Hall and Diane Isaacs, outlines some basic concepts for educating autistic children. The book discusses a common sense approach on how to ensure that your child is getting the best possible education. The authors discuss ways to engage, to teach and to help your child feel welcome in their school environment. Above all the book, while pointing out major obstacles and attitudes that hold our children back, provides much needed answers. These answers are doable and truly sensible.

Elaine Hall, also known as Coach E,  is best known for her book now i see the moon, about her journey with her son Neal and the development of her acting program for those on the autism spectrum. This program is chronicled in the well known movie Autism: The Musical. She is a co-founder of The Miracle Project.

Diane Isaacs is the other co founder of The Miracle Project. She is a well known film producer. At present she is turning the Miracle Project  into a national and international organization.

The authors outline seven keys to making sure that your child has a successful educational experience. They are::

Develop Acceptance and Appreciation                                       
Sensory Profile                             
Follow the Leader
Include the Child
Practice and Preparation Make Progress
Live Miracle Minded

Each Key is outlined and discussed through the use of illustrations and examples. The authors have broken down each key into six parts:

-Theory that shapes each key; definition, meaning, purpose and outcome
-Illustrated examples of problems and issues the teacher may face
-Exercises that can be used to practice implementation of the key ideas
-Illustrations of how the key ideas can be used to overcome issues
-A special educator's practical ideas that can be implemented
-Buzz words to help you review each day

The book also includes a DVD that demonstrates how to use these seven keys.

Don't forget it is also important to read the appendixes:

Appendix A  lists other books and sources you can turn to for more information to help with each key. An always welcome resource.

Appendix B provides succinct definitions and suggestions for special educational topics. After reading how the authors were able to boil down to just a few paragraphs what a child may need in order to be successful in school, you do wonder why some school districts are so resistant to implement these noninvasive methods. So many of these accommodations are truly common sense and basic practical approaches to making a child's day productive and happy. So many forget that if the child is successful then by extension the teachers, schools and the entire student body benefit immeasurably.

I recommend this book for anyone who is thinking about becoming a special educator or for any parent who wants to try to understand what would be the best program for their child. This book gives you a really good place to start in creating a checklist of classroom and lifeskills supports.

Until next time,


Here is some information about The Miracle Project from their website:

The Miracle Project

THE MIRACLE PROJECT founded in 2004 is a multiplatform socialization program that enables children and teens with autism and other special needs to express themselves through music, dance, acting, story, and writing. ALL children of ALL abilities grow in skill and in spirit while creating and performing in original musicals. This acclaimed arts program was documented in the HBO double EMMY Award-winning documentary, AUTISM: THE MUSICAL.
We offer dynamic, and innovative curriculum, instructional workshops and branded educational support as well as addressing the needs of family and friends through our family wellness program and its growing community.
Through its principles of acceptance and artistic expression, The Miracle Project is dedicated to empowering those living with autism.

Our Mission

THE MIRACLE PROJECT supports, nurtures and inspires children, teens and young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities as well as their families, through innovative socialization skills, and transformational life building protocols.
We are dedicated to providing a positive and nurturing environment for individuals with autism and their families while building a community of knowledge, acceptance and joy.