I am reviewing STARS Social: Skills Training and Readiness Skills by Lynn M. O’Dell-Pateman MA CCC-SLP, Kerry L. Walsh PT, MS and Jaime E. Meyer-McHale MS OTR/L.
The STARS program declares itself as A FUNctional Multi-sensory Group Approach to Enhancing the Social Skills of Children with Autism and Other Special Needs. The three authors bring together their very distinct and different backgrounds (speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy) to successfully accomplish this. This manual offers a variety of techniques, all very clearly explained, to ensure success for every child, no matter their individual skill set.
All of the activities (warm-up, vestibular, proprioceptive, and cool-down) are broken down into three distinct levels to allow for every child to participate in the same activity modified for their age/skill set and the group lessons allow for flexibility to adjust to your groups specific needs.
As a yoga teacher offering classes to typical and special needs populations, both privately and within the public school setting, I appreciate the multitude of ideas and activities the manual presents that I can integrate into my own classes to ensure that basic concepts for successful integration make my classes accessible to all students. I appreciate the convenient sensory based flow carts that I can use for visual summary and the pre-made progress reports are a plus for organization. The only thing I would suggest would be that the authors consider developing some type of color coding to make finding the skill set variations easier throughout the book.
I highly recommend this book and see it as a necessary addition to libraries, to school teachers, yoga teachers, parents of children with special needs and to anyone who seeks to create a community of inclusion.
Full Disclosure: The authors provided me with a copy of STARS Social: Skills Training and Readiness Skills to review. All opinions expressed are my own.