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Chaos to Calm: Discovering Solutions to the Everyday Problems of Living with Autism

by Martha Gabler

Chaos to Calm describes Martha Gabler's discovery of how effective solutions really did exist for the overwhelming behavior problems of her son, diagnosed with profoundly nonverbal severe autism. When Doug turned five, Martha realized that she and her family were on their own searching for solutions. During the "dreadful early years," Doug's behavior worsened and the family floundered. Daily, if not hourly or even more often, there were screaming, tantrums, self-stimulatory "verbal stimming," running off, and even violent, self-injurious, and destructive actions. The Gablers were exhausted beyond description by the lack of community understanding, by the lack of affordable help, and, perhaps worst of all, by night after night of severe sleep deprivation.

A chance reference in an e-mail listserve led Martha to TAGteach, a teaching system based on the structured delivery of positive reinforcement. TAGteach gave Martha the tools she needed to observe Doug's behaviors, break them down into manageable pieces, and reinforce his previously rare positive actions—positive actions that sometimes lasted only a few seconds in the beginning. But those positive seconds gave Martha the precious key she needed to unlock major improvements. With a few basic rules and a commitment to practice them, Martha was able to apply step-by-step solutions to Doug's disruptive behaviors. The result? A boy who was once wild and chaotic now has the skills to be a charming teenager who loves life and enjoys going places.

Heartbreaking, humorous, and brutally honest, Chaos to Calm explains, step-by-step, how Martha taught Doug to vocalize appropriately, go on walks, wait in line, go to the grocery store, ride a bike, and many more skills that are often taken for granted. For a child with autism, those skills do not come easily—if at all. Perhaps the most important skill Doug was able to learn was how to lie quietly in bed and go to sleep, so that the other exhausted members of the Gabler family could get some badly needed sleep. In Chaos to Calm, Martha uses simple language and engaging prose to explain how she achieved all of this.

Every autism family seeks the light in an ocean of despair. Every autism mom, every autism dad, in fact every person who loves another person with autism, can use TAGteach with ease. This book shows you how.




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