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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

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.


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.

ISBN: 9781942197263

Reviews (4)

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.
LENEXA, Kansas
September 19 2016
Customer Review: Nicole Rahaim - I am a special eduacation teacher in Illinois and work with children with autism spectrum disorder. I mainly work with children with high functioning autism and Asperger Syndrome. I have used the Power Card book several times and my district is adapting the strategy as one that really works with this population. My students can relate to their "obsessions" while learning rules- it's perfect! I have seen a significant increase in several target (preferred) behaviors with many students with autism and AS after the Power Card stratedy was implemented. I am big fan of this book. It's easy for anyone to use and I highly recommend it to parents and professionals.
LENEXA, Kansas
September 19 2016
Customer Review: Kathleen M. Wadman - This book is a valuable resource for parents and special educators. It offers readers examples of incorporating a child's special interest into a motivational tool to help shape behaviors. The examples are easy to follow and easily translated into real life situations. The reader can certainly take the information in this book and apply it to their own children/students with special needs.
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