The Connections Center (Relationship Development Intervention) RDI® is a family focused intervention which strives to remediate (treat until they are no longer deficits) the core deficits of autism. This site includes information about RDI®, research, chat groups, message boards, testimonials, and recommended reading.

First Signs is devoted to educating parents and pediatric professionals on the early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders.

Autism Society of America is a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing education, advocacy, research, services, and support for families and professionals.

San Diego Autism Society of America is the local ASA chapter. The SDASA strives to provide extensive information and resources for families and professionals. A few of the programs include monthly informational meetings, an informative newsletter, conferences, a monthly pool party, and funding for CAMP I CAN, a summer Surf Camp, and swim lessons.

Division TEACCH hope to enable children with autism to function as meaningfully and independently as possible in the community.

Sensory Smarts provides extensive information regarding Sensory Integration. It includes functional techniques, sample sensory diets, information about different types of sensory input as well as recommended sensory toys.

Future Horizons is a leading publishing company dedicated to providing resources for parents and professionals in the field of autism. This site includes books, journals, videos, medical resources, and conference information.

The Lake Shore Learning Store provides extensive educational materials, classroom furniture, organizational tools, and toys for teachers and parents.

Diff Learn is a web site dedicated to supplying autism specific materials for parents and professionals. These include a variety of visuals, programs, games, puzzles, timers, books, flashcards, software, handwriting tools, etc.

The Autism Research Institute (ARI) is devoted to conducting research, and to disseminating the results of research, on the causes of autism and on methods of preventing, diagnosing and treating autism and other severe behavioral disorders of childhood.

The National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) is devoted to funding biomedical research for autism and related disorders.

Cure Autism Now (CAN) is an organization of parents, physicians, and researchers, dedicated to promoting and funding research with direct clinical implications for treatment and a cure for autism. is a web site dedicated to providing information for people on gluten free diets due to celiac disease, gluten intolerance, dermatitis herpetiformis, wheat allergy, or other health reasons.

The Gluten Free Casein Free web site is a free resource for parents who are implementing the GFCF diet. It includes books, educational videos, vitamins, and liquid calcium.

The Gluten Free Pantry provides gluten free recipes, products, and resources for parents and professionals.

RDI® Specific
Autism Aspergers: Solving the Relationship Puzzle by Dr. Steven Gutstein. This was the first book to describe the model and theory of Relationship Development Intervention (RDI™ Program). The reader will begin to learn the basics of a new developmental program that will open the door to lifelong social and emotional growth for individuals on the autistic spectrum.

Steve Gutstein, psychologist and autism specialist, sought to discover why children with autism lack the social skills that come so easily to the rest of us. The result of his efforts is an innovative program – Relationship Development Intervention – that takes social skills teaching to the next level. You’ll learn about the social development pathway of the nondisabled child and the life-changing detour taken by children on the autism spectrum.

However, instead of leaving you there, Autism/Aspergers: Solving the Relationship Puzzle describes ways to steer children with autism onto a bright new path of self discovery and social awareness, one that will ultimately bring them home to meaningful friendships, shared emotions and heartfelt connection with the people in their lives.

Dynamic Thinking and Development
Cradle of Thought by Peter Hobson. This is Dr. Peter Hobson’s brilliant book which explains the basis of his theory that Autism can be thought of as a failure to develop active mental engagement. Dr. Hobson is a Psychiatrist and Experimental Psychologist who is a professor at the world-renowned Tavistock Institute of the University of London. His theoretical approach is at the cornerstone of RDI®. (HL1)

Emotional Development: The Organization of Emotional Life in Early Years by Alan Fogel. I think it is the single most important book re: the development of RDI… Dr. Alan Sroufe is generally recognized to be the world’s leading expert on children’s emotional development. In this technical but brilliant work, Dr. Sroufe details the developmental sequences that lead to children’s learning to successfully function in dynamic systems and to crave incongruity and cognitive challenge. (HL1)

The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are by Daniel Siegel. Dr. Daniel Siegel has produced the first non-technical, readable book about the amazing development of the human mind. He provides excellent sections on the way the brain communicates, the development of episodic memory and a host of other areas that are essential reading for anyone seeking a background to RDI. (HL1)

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D. In The Explosive Child, Dr. Ross Greene proposes that challenging behavior should be understood and handled in the same manner as other recognized learning disabilities. In other words, difficult children and adolescents lack some crucial cognitive skills essential to handling frustration and mastering situations requiring flexibility and adaptability. The Second Edition of The Explosive Child is the internationally acclaimed book that provides a more contemporary conceptualization of inflexible, easily frustrated, explosive children, and describes a new, practical, comprehensive approach for helping these children at home and school. This approach – called the Collaborative Problem Solving Approach — is aimed at decreasing adversarial parent-child interactions, reducing family hostility, and improving children’s capacities for flexibility, frustration tolerance, communication, and self-regulation. A perfect companion to the book, the DVD, Parenting the Explosive Child is also available through

Early Relationships and Relationship Development
Developing Through Relationships by Alan Fogel. Dr. Fogel is the developmental psychologist who has had the most influence in bringing the study of co-regulation in dynamic systems to the forefront of developmental psychology. His work, especially his explanation of the co-regulation process, was a revelation to me and is still a foundation for progress in RDI. (HL1)

The First Relationship: Infant and Mother by Daniel Stern. For over 30 years, Dr. Daniel Stern has been known as the most poignant narrator of the parent-infant experience. While this book is somewhat dated, Dr. Stern’s vivid narrative accounts and illustration provide a timeless glimpse into the miraculous dance that begins at birth between the young infant and caretakers. (HL1)

The Infant’s World by Philippe Rochat. Dr. Rochat has been recognized on the leading edge of the new generation of developmental psychologists. Dr. Rochat’s volume, while quite readable, also is a detailed account of the most recent findings about infant’s development of mental processes that only a few years ago were thought to occur at a much later developmental stage. Rochat nicely summarizes the research literature in an understandable manner. (HL1)

I Love You Rituals by Becky A Bailey. I Love You Rituals offers more than seventy delightful rhymes and games that send the message of unconditional love and enhance children’s social, emotional, and school success. Winner of a 1999 Parent’s Guide Children’s Media Award, these positive nursery rhymes, interactive finger plays, soothing games, and physical activity can be played with children from infancy through age eight. In only minutes a day, these powerful rituals:
Prime a child’s brain for learning
Help children cope with change
Enhance attention, cooperation, and self-esteem
Help busy families stay close
Affirm the parent-child bond that insulates children from violence, peer pressure, and drugs, and much more.
Easy to learn and especially effective in stressful situations, I Love You Rituals gives parents, grandparents, caregivers and teachers inspiring tools to help children thrive.

Joint Attention
Joint Attention: Communication and Other Minds edited by Naomi Eilan, Chirstoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack, and Johannes Roessler. Joint Attention has been a pivotal concept in Autism for over twenty years. Unfortunately the concept has been misrepresented and grossly misunderstood in many clinical approaches. This volume presents the thoughts of world experts in Joint Attention including Michael Tomasello, Dare Baldwin and Peter Hobson. Each chapter places a unique spotlight on a different aspect of joint attention. The book provides an important foundation for anyone wishing to understand the nature of joint attention impairments in autism spectrum disorders. (HL2)

Master-Apprentice Relationship
Apprenticeship in Thinking: Cognitive Development in Social Context by Barbara Rogoff. Barbara Rogoff has spent her long career studying cultures in all parts of the world to determine the ways that parents and communities facilitate the development of productive thinking and problem solving in their children. This book details some of her findings and is a cornerstone in developing our concept of the ‘Master-Apprentice’ relationship. (HL1)

Wisdom, Intelligence and Creativity Synthesized by Robert J. Sternberg. This is the latest work from noted Yale University professor Dr. Sternberg who, more than any other scientist has worked to understand intelligence in a real-world manner. In this book, Sternberg provides an alternative model for understanding intelligence and many cogent ideas for assessing it and developing the types of cognitive abilities that are most related to real-life success. (HL2)

Language Development
How Children Learn the Meanings of Words by Paul Bloom. No account of modern understanding of children’s language development can be considered complete unless it includes the work of Dr. Paul Bloom. His elegantly written, powerfully convincing work provides a unique door into our modern understanding of language development. In this account Dr. Bloom focuses on a single, critical aspect of language; how children come to understand the meaning of words. (HL2)

Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition by Michael Tomasello. Dr. Tomasello has been acknowledged as one of the world leaders of modern developmental psychology. This volume is especially important to those in the autism community, as it provides an up-to-date understanding of the amazing progress that has been made, in the past twenty years, in understanding language development. This book should be considered essential reading in a field that is still largely mired in a 1950’s Skinnerian view of language as “verbal behavior”. (HL2)

Sensory Processing
The following two books are recommended by The Autism Group, Inc. with descriptions by

The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Stock Kranowitz. The Out-of-Sync Child broke new ground by identifying Sensory Processing Disorder, a common but frequently misdiagnosed problem in which the central nervous system misinterprets messages from the senses. This newly revised edition features additional information from recent research on vision and hearing deficits, motor skill problems, nutrition and picky eaters, ADHA, autism, and other related disorders.

The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, Revised Edition: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Stock Kranowitz. This book is the revised and updated edition of a groundbreaking special-needs activity guide. This revised edition of the companion volume to The Out-of-Sync Child includes new activities that parents of kids with Sensory Processing Disorder can do at home with their child, along with updated information on which activities are most appropriate for children with coexisting conditions such as Asperger’s, autism and more.

Learning and Educational Resources
Awakening Children’s Minds: How Parents and Teachers Can Make a Difference by Laura E. Berk. In this very well written book, Dr. Berk provides a well-written, easily understood account of the practical application of Vygotsky and the development of children’s mental life. Dr. Berk takes difficult concepts such as the Zone of Proximal Development and makes them both understandable and useable. This is an essential volume for any professional or parent. (HL2 and HLP)

Guided Reading: Making It Work by Mary Browning Schulman and Carleen DaCruz Payne. Guided reading is a proven method for teaching reading as a thoughtful, reflective process. The guided reading method is based on understanding reading as an integrated process involving perception, thought, reflection and emotion. It provides an excellent method for parents to actively participate in ensuring that reading is learned in a “connected” manner. (HLP)

Creative Homeschooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families by Lisa Rivero. An excellent text for parents considering or already engaged in home schooling. The book takes a good deal of the fear away from home schooling and offers several alternatives from the ‘traditional’ to the improvisational. It is crammed full of resources. (HLP)

Guided Comprehension: A Teaching Model for Grades 3-8 by Maureen McLaughlin and Mary Beth Allen. The Guided Comprehension Model is a step-by-step teaching framework that encourages students to become active, strategic readers by providing direct and guided strategy instruction, numerous opportunities for engagement, and a variety of texts and instructional settings. This book has a multitude of strategies that can be used at any grade level. (HLP)

Tasks Galore (Early Education or Beginning Steps) by Laurie Eckenrode, Pat Fennell and Kathy Hearsey. Written by teachers and therapists who are highly experienced in Structured Teaching methodology, this book offers a compilation of 250 tasks shown in color photographs. These tasks were used by the authors in North Carolina TEACCH-affiliated classrooms and in University of North Carolina Division TEACCH treatment sessions and trainings, and are applicable to any student working on early learning concepts. Each photograph shows how manipulative, sensory and visual elements can be incorporated into educational tasks in order to capture a student’s attention and make learning fun. With tasks from a variety of preschool and elementary curriculum areas– fine motor skills, readiness, language arts, math, reasoning, and play– this “encyclopedia” will provide numerous ideas to spark the creativity of parents, teachers, and therapists as they individualize a program for their students (Description from: Official website:

Tasks Galore for the Real World (Adolescents and Adults) by Pat Fennell, Laurie Eckenrode and Kathy Hearsey. This is the second book in the popular “Tasks Galore” series. Utilizing over 60 years of experience as teachers and therapists, the authors have developed a collection of tasks for older elementary to adult learners. This illustrated guide contains over 240 color photographs that depict domestic, independent functioning, vocational and job site activities. These visually structured tasks are strategies that translate complex, everyday life skills into simpler, meaningful learning situations. The myriad of ideas in this guide will be valuable to anyone developing functional, daily living goals for a child or client (Description from: Official website:

For Friends and Siblings of a Child with Autism
The following two books and book reviews can be found at

The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone With Autism by Ellen Sabin. The Autism Acceptance Book is an interactive, educational, and character-building book that introduces children to the challenges faced by people with autism while also supporting their personal journey toward appreciating and respecting people’s differences. This book offers educational information, conversation-starters, and engaging exercises that invite children to “walk in someone else’s shoes” as they learn to treat others the same ways they would like to be treated themselves.

Everybody Is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters With Autism by Fiona Bleach. This book is different! It is specially designed to give answers to the many questions of brothers and sisters of young people on the autism spectrum. As well as explaining the characteristics of autism, it is full of helpful suggestions for making family life more comfortable for everyone concerned.

The book reviews come directly from the Connections Center website: unless otherwise specified.

The following books have been read and reviewed by an RDI mother who is currently homeschooling her two young children. She was previously a teacher in the traditional academic setting for many years.

Educational Philosophies: Alternative Homeschooling
Better Late Than Early by Raymond S. Moore. This book advocates not starting any form of structured education until the ages of 8-10 for most children. It is easy to read and yet backed by cited publications. You will find a frank discussion on the potential problems of introducing “academics” too early. The author argues that most children do not develop “readiness” or their optimum integrated maturity factor (IMF) until the ages of 8-10. And it is at this “readiness” state that optimum learning takes place.

Learning all the time by John Holt. This book advocates HS of the unschooling variety. Holt has created a philosophy that developed from his life as an educator. He describes beautifully how children can learn with very little direct instruction. He argues that children are very good at learning for themselves as long as the opportunities and their supports are present. He contrasts this with direct observations of what happens to “schooled” children when presented with similar problems. The book argues for an unschooled approach.

How Children Fail by John Holt. Here Holt uses his direct experiences as a classroom teacher to discuss how “schooled” children by the time they reach 3rd grade have started to become intellectually damaged. A very insightful look into the unfortunate “lessons” children learn in school that can lead to failure in understanding.

Teach Your Own by John Holt. This is Holt’s handbook with vignettes, frequent questions, and practical information for parents interested in HS.

The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith. This book advocates learning without direct instruction. A great book, easy to read and filled with resources. Gives a well rounded description on the unschooling philosophy and includes many vignettes that help the reader get a real picture of what unschooling looks like.

Educational Resources: Homeschooling and Instruction
Homeschool Your Child For Free by Laura Maery Gold and Joan Zielinski. This selection offers great access to ideas for the different disciplines. The subtitle says it all; more than 1200 smart, effective and practical resources for home education on the internet and beyond.

The Ultimate Book Of Homeschooling Ideas by Linda Dobson. A great resource of ideas that include the whole family in the learning process. Again the subtitle says it all; 500+ Fun and creative learning activities.

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. Once you get past the obvious, the real plus is chapter 10 which is a fabulous, comprehensive, and categorized collection of quality books to help parents build the foundations necessary for children to develop a true love of reading by sharing stories aloud.

Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. This book is great for learning the fundamentals of instructional design using Bloom’s taxonomy. In a concise fashion, it takes an in depth look into the depths of understanding. It argues that well designed learning experiences will give children an opportunity to learn at higher levels of understanding.