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New Book, 'Visual/Spatial Portals to Thinking, Feeling and Movement,' Offers Groundbreaking Therapy for Autistic Children


May 29, 2013 - NEW YORK, NY

"Visual/Spatial Portals to Thinking, Feeling and Movement," a new book co-authored by Dr. Serena Wieder, clinical director of the non-profit Profectum Foundation (www.profectum.org), offers ground-breaking therapeutic strategies for students with learning and autism spectrum disorders.

The approach developed by Wieder and co-author Harry Wachs, O.D., addresses a child's visual-spatial knowledge -- an essential building block to learning that's often underestimated in therapies, Wieder says.

"Visual-spatial knowledge -- understanding where you are in space and where other things are relative to you -- is essential to anything you want to do," she says. "When development of that knowledge is delayed, it has a domino effect on other aspects of development."

An example of a typical child with still-developing visual-spatial knowledge is the toddler who finds himself separated from his mother in a store, she explains. Without the familiar visual anchor of Mom, the toddler is confused, lost and anxious.

"Imagine you're an older child whose visual-spatial knowledge has not developed beyond that of the toddler separated from his mom," Wieder says. "You would experience the emotions of that frightened toddler on a regular basis. You would be too upset to learn, and too afraid to engage in the play and social interaction that helps other areas of cognitive function develop."

Part 1 of Wieder's book walks readers through the role of visual-spatial knowledge in emotional and cognitive development, including illustrative examples from the co-authors' combined decades of clinical and research experience.

Part 2 is a step-by-step manual of tools, including hundreds of activities, to help children improve their visual/spatial knowledge no matter where they are developmentally.

"This is a very valuable book -- especially for parents and professionals who deal with children with special needs and autism," writes celebrated pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton, Harvard professor emeritus and noted author. "I recommend that you read it and treasure it."

About Serena Wieder, Ph.D.

Psychologist Serena Wieder is clinical director of the non-profit Profectum Foundation, which is dedicated to the advancement of individuals with special needs through educational programs. She was co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders, and she directed the DIR Institute. Her research has focused on diagnostic classification, emotional and symbolic development, and long-term follow-up of children treated with the DIR approach. Dr. Harry Wachs is a pioneer in visual cognitive therapy.

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