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The Power Cards Strategy 2.0
Using Special Interests to Motivate
Children and Youth with
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Many researchers, parents, and autistics themselves
have long understood the role of special interests in
teaching and motivating individuals with autism spectrum
disorder (ASD), yet these intense areas of knowledge have not
been widely integrated into the learning activities of children
on the spectrum. It was author Elisa Gagnon’s insightful and innovative first edition of Power Cards that helped move the use of special
interests forward, promoting
classroom-based research on the deep areas of knowledge
and learners on the spectrum. The authors are hopeful that the second edition of this book
will further inspire professionals and parents to incorporate
special interests into the lives of learners on the spectrum.
MEET THE AUTHORS
Elisa Gagnon, MSEd, has worked with children and youth with autism and high-functioning autism spectrum disorder since 1989 as a special education teacher in a self-contained class for young students who were significantly affected by autism, which inspired her to enter the graduate program specializing in autism at the University of Kansas.
In 1998, Elisa took a position at the University of Kansas as coordinator of a federal teacher training grant in order to develop a network of educators trained in autism and high-functioning autism across the state of Kansas. She had the opportunity to publish This is Asperger Syndrome, co-written with Brenda Smith Myles, as well as her best-known work, Power Cards: Using Special Interests to Motivate Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome and Autism. She has also written numerous articles, consulted with school districts nationally, and spoken to groups across the country on characteristics of autism and effective teaching strategies.
Today Elisa works as an autism spectrum disorder consultant for a suburban school district in the Kansas City area. Her proudest accomplishment has been the establishment of specialized programs in inclusive schools for students with high functioning autism as well as programs for students severely impacted by autism and behavior associated with their disability.
Brenda Smith Myles, PhD, a consultant with the Ziggurat Group, the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, and the Education and Treatment Services Project for Military Dependent Children with Autism, was the recipient of the Autism Society of America's Outstanding Professional Award; the Princeton Fellowship Award; and the Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Developmental Disabilities Burton Blatt Humanitarian Award.
She has written over 150 articles and books on autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage, and Meltdowns (with Southwick) and Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Practical Solutions for School Success (with Adreon). The latter was the winner of the Autism Society of America s Outstanding Literary Work. Brenda has made over 500 presentations all over the world, and served as the co-chair of the National ASD Teacher Standards Committee. Myles is also on the executive boards of several organizations, including the Organization for Autism Research and MAAP Services Inc. In addition, she was acknowledged as the second most productive applied researcher in ASD in the world from 1997 to 2004.