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Seven Keys to Unlock Autism: Making Miracles in the Classroom

ISBN: 978-1-118-10269-5
256 pages
September 2011, Jossey-Bass
Seven Keys to Unlock Autism: Making Miracles in the Classroom (111810269X) cover image
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.

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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

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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.

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"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)
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