I read a book! I need cliff notes for next time…

So, I read my first book dealing with autism from cover to cover!  I’m not going to lie, about 1/3rd of the way through when it started getting all technical I started to think…where are the cliff notes on this book?!


So, this book is very helpful in the understanding of the type of applied behavior analysis therapy (ABA) that my son is receiving.  It is like mind-blowing and so cool.  It is also totally over my head. LOL   My Dr. at the ABA clinic gave me a copy of this book.  So kind, right?!  He’s a smart man.  He knew I was going to read it and than do something.  So, I started reading and reading then researching.  Why are there not summary notes or cliff notes on these academic books?

Even though there were no cliff notes, I kept reading because the author, Mary Lynch Barbera, had me hooked on the second page of chapter 1.  I also knew that my son was receiving this type of therapy and we were making a commitment to the clinic and school for the next three years.  So, here are the chapter topics and some quick notes from me!

  • chapter 1: Starting with ABA
  • chapter 2: The ABC’s of ABA
  • chapter 3: Assessing your Child
  • chapter 4: Developing Reinforcers
  • chapter 5: Manding
  • chapter 6: Increasing and Improving Speech in Non-Vocal or Minimally Vocal Children
  • chapter 7: Errorless Teaching and the Use of Transfer Procedures
  • chapter 8: Teaching receptive Language Skills and Other Nonverbal Operants
  • chapter 9: Teaching Verbal Operants
  • chapter 10: Putting it all Together
  • chapter 11: Teaching Toileting and Other Important Self-Help Skills
  • chapter 12: Final Thoughts
  1. In chapter 2 you want to skim to find the ABC’s of your child’s behavior.  She calls it determining the functions(s) of the behavior. Read the entire chapter then jump to the section that fits your child’s behavior and re-read and take notes on that section.  She gives you ways to prevent or replace behavior!
  2. In chapter 4, a must read and re-read chapter also.  REINFORCERS are key to success with the verbal behavior model.  Take time here and thing about what motivates your child or what your child likes to eat, play with or do.  This will help when you are ready for any table work at home.
  3. Try to understand what demands are and are not.  There is no dedicated chapter to demands exactly.  This also goes for remembering and learning the ABA language within the program.  What is tacking, manding, and imitation for example; there is a glossary in the book too.
  4. I loved the examples but don’t know how to apply them to real life.  I would assume LOTS of practice would make the work and demands function well.   Bookmark the examples so you can revisit them.  Also check out the appendix (for real) because lots of charts and forms from the examples are included in the text.


Overall, the book was very helpful in understanding the therapy my son is receiving and teaching me the basics that I can review and later go back to get more examples and understanding of.  My recommendation would be that the book should probably be two different books.  One written for professionals with all the technical language and a second book for parents, written from a parent perceptive with more common language.

Order a copy of this book on Amazon!

P.S. My Dr and ABA high-fived me after I told them that I read it and was able to use the key words to describe how it helped me learn about the therapy my son was receiving.  They were so happy that the Dr. gave me 2 more copies!!  So my MIL is reading it and I gifted a book to the VPK program at school.

Are there any books that you want to read but could benefit from some quick notes?  Share you suggestions.



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