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The Power Card Strategy 2.0

Power Card 2.0 9910B

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The Power Cards Strategy 2.0
Using Special Interests to Motivate Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Winner of the 2018 Teachers' Choice Award!

Use special interests to teach and support skill use!  Many researchers, parents, and individuals with ASD 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 research on special interests and teaching educators to use them in classrooms and families to use them at home and in the community. 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.


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 and AAPC President, is 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. Brenda has made over 1500 presentations all over the world and written more than 250 articles and books on ASD. In addition, she served as the co-chair of the National ASD Teacher Standards Committee; and collaborated with the National Professional Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, National Autism Center, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services who identified evidenced-based practices for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Myles is also on the executive boards of several organizations, including the Scientific Council of the Organization for Autism Research (SCORE) and ASTEP Asperger Syndrome Training and Education Program. Further, in the latest survey conducted by the University of Texas, she was acknowledged as the second most productive applied researcher in ASD in the world.

ISBN: 9781942197263

Reviews (6)

March 16 2017
A MUST for Every Special Education Classroom! By Amazon Customer on September 24, 2016 Wow! What a fabulous book! Such a simple but effective strategy for helping students! Working with a variety of students with special needs I love having this as a resource! The buy in from my students, their parents, and IEP team members is always great! This is a MUST for all special educators in their classrooms! You'll love having it as another tool in your toolbox!
March 16 2017
Great for Sped Teachers By Emilee H.on September 23, 2016 The power card overview and examples are easy to follow and implement. As an elementary special education teacher, I am excited to have this resource!
LENEXA, Kansas
September 19 2016
Customer Review: Cynthia K. Van Horn - The Power Card Strategy has become one of the most effective strategies we use in our school. It is intrinsically motivating to students because it incorporates a student's special interest or favorite character into a story that helps them understand appropriate behaviors. The Power Card story is fun to develop because the student's favorite TV personality, cartoon character or real life hero explains the importance of using the appropriate behavior and explains how to display this behavior by following the listed steps. This resource has many examples of the Power Card Strategy and walks you through writing your own Power Card story and Power Card. It is an excellent resource for teachers, parents and other professionals who are involved in shaping children's behaviors.
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