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 Difference Not Disorder

Difference Not Disorder

Understanding Autism Theory in Practice

Dr Catherine Harvey, illustrated by Kevin McFadden

Quick Overview

This practical guide provides excellent practical guidance to support children with autism. Covering topics from behaviour management to sensory needs, this book provides a clear overview which will help practitioners put autism research into practice, learn from historic mistakes and create the most supportive environment for children with autism.
2018, Paperback / softback, 9.02in x 5.98in / 229mm x 152mm, 240pp
ISBN: 9781785924743

Availability: In stock



Interventions and educational approaches for children with autism spectrum disorders have developed in response to the different models for how autism has been constructed and understood. This book explores the evolving theories on autism and how these have impacted the interventions and outcomes in education. Drawing on 30 years of professional experience and detailed research, Harvey exposes the myths around autism, advocates for understanding autism as difference rather than impairment, and provides practical guidance on teaching and learning, behaviour management, addressing sensory and physical needs of children with ASD. This accessible overview shows how to put autism research into practice, learn from historic mistakes and create the most supportive environment for children on the autism spectrum.


'It is a rare and sensitive person who can share a lifetime of human experience illuminated by research and allow the reader access to new thinking. This book offers the complex world of autism serious reflections in unexpected and creative ways. Scholarship written with sensitivity.'
- Professor Bart McGettrick, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Glasgow

'This book offers readers - whether they are teachers, psychologists, parents or academics - a remarkable level of heartfelt insight. It has the emotional literacy that is often absent from texts in this area ... with supporting wider evidence, born from a career well spent in the service of children and education.'
- Dr Toby Brandon, Reader in Disability and Mental Health, Department of Social Work and Community Wellbeing, Northumbria University

'As the parent of a daughter who is on the autistic spectrum, I found the book informative and wished that I had read it when she was first diagnosed.'
- Surrinder Sandham Bains, Health Professional/Parent Carer

'This book is an inspiration. It contains a vision of autism as different to a disorder or an impairment; a pedagogy designed around the strengths of minds with autism.'
- Dr. Jack Whitehead, Visiting Professor of Education, University of Cumbria

'Catherine's writing ... gently draws you into scrutinising the assumptions, values and beliefs that underpin your own understandings for practice - she really makes you think - and that for me is the marker of a truly valuable book.'
- Dr Tina Cook, Professorial Fellow, Department of Disability and Education, Liverpool Hope University

'The author provides a comprehensive and comprehensible overview of theory and practice to help teachers make better-informed choices between educational methods and approaches to meet the needs of their pupils with autism. I endorse her exhortation: 'May we all strive to put the humanity of others before their diagnosis.'
- Marie Huxtable, Visiting Research Fellow, University of Cumbria

'I congratulate Dr Catherine Harvey for this thought-provoking journey through the history of autism and for highlighting the various therapies and interventions that have evolved over many years. It is also a very worthwhile reference book for parents and professionals, and will encourage us to question our own awareness and knowledge.'
- Dr Pat Matthews, Executive Director, the Irish Society for Autism

'I had the pleasure of working with Catherine Harvey during her teaching career: this book encapsulates the progressive, holistic approach she herself practised when educating children with AS and working closely with families. I recommend this book to fellow speech and language therapists interested in supporting children in schools. It should be a core text for trainee teachers. I would also recommend this book for parents whose children have been newly diagnosed as it delivers up-to-date classification information and theories with a wealth of personal practical school-based experience in an easy-to-read format.'
- Louise Gallagher Sterritt, Speech & Language Therapist and Doctoral student.


By (author): Dr Catherine Harvey
Illustrated by: Kevin McFadden