Praise for the First Edition

“A remarkable reference resource. It is, without a doubt, the most absorbing and easily absorbed book we have seen, setting out the most comprehensive survey of the history, definitions, needs of carers and sufferers, issues of diagnosis, and much, much more.” - Nurturing Potential

This new edition of the leading book in autism and early years practice continues to provide excellent guidance for all early childhood students and practitioners on how to work with young children who have autism, or who appear on the autistic spectrum.

Kate Wall's wise words will resonate with all, as she sets out clear and realistic suggestions for ways to include young children with autism in mainstream settings, supporting her advice with case studies based on her own experience as a practitioner. Each chapter also looks at key issues and offers suggestions for discussion.

Highlights of the new edition include:

Coverage of the latest developments in research; Reference to current early years legislation; Reference to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS); New case studies, covering the full Birth to 8 age range; New suggestions for further reading

Every early childhood student and early childhood practitioner needs this book; it is an invaluable guide to best practice when working with young children with such particular needs.

Definitions of Autism, Common Features and Relevant Legislation

Definitions of autism, common features and relevant legislation

This chapter covers:

  • developments in special needs and early years provision;
  • definitions and characteristics of autistic spectrum disorders;
  • historical and current legislation, guidance and policy.


In an era of increased inclusion within society in general, early years practitioners are under increasing pressure to accept more and more young children from a range of backgrounds and with a range of individual needs. Current legislation and policy also emphasise the importance of providing effectively for all children.

I would suggest that all children have individual needs which change according to their age, circumstances and life events. Some changes will result in a short-term additional need, such as settling in to an early years setting, whilst other needs will be much longer term, such as autism.

This chapter ...

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