Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Educational Needs

Engaging with Nature to Combat Anxiety, Promote Sensory Integration and Build Social Skills

Winner of the American Horticultural Therapy Association's Book Publication Award 2014

A garden or nature setting presents the perfect opportunity for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and special needs to learn, play and strengthen body and mind. This book empowers teachers and parents with little gardening know-how to get outside and use nature to motivate young learners.

Using a mindfulness approach, Natasha Etherington presents a simple gardening program that offers learning experiences beyond those a special needs student can gain within the classroom. The book outlines the many positive physical, cognitive, sensory, emotional and social benefits of getting out into the garden and provides specially adapted gardening activities for a variety of needs, including those with developmental disabilities and behavioural difficulties, as well as wheelchair users. With a focus on the therapeutic potential of nature, the book shows that gardening can help reduce feelings of anxiety, provide an outlet for physical aggression, build self-esteem through the nurturing of plants and much more.

With this practical program, teachers and parents can easily adopt gardening activities into their schedules and enjoy the benefits of introducing children with special needs to nature and the rhythms of the seasons.

£13.99
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Press reviews for: Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Educational Needs

The Spark

In an increasingly frantic and fast-pace world this book is vital reading. It includes many child-centred activities that will help a child build connections and documents the many cognitive, psychological and social benefits of gardening and being outdoors... The book also includes appendices on how to carry out a risk assessment and how to do a relaxation and visualisation exercise... The author shows her long experience and dedication in her concluding top tips: to remain flexible and always to maintain a sense of humour when working with children and to never give up on your child and always aim high for them.

Canadian Child Magazine

Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Educational Needs has all you need to start gardening and enjoying this unique experience with the child in your care.

The Word Pool

This inspiring and motivating book presents a thoughtful yet highly practical program that offers a wealth of opportunities to complement the indoor curriculum with outdoor gardening-based activities.

Red Reading Hub - Jillrbennett's Reviews of Children's Books

This inspiring and motivating book presents a thoughtful yet highly practical program that offers a wealth of opportunities to complement the indoor curriculum with outdoor gardening-based activities... If teachers, and other who share in the education and care of the young take up the wealth of possibilities offered here, the children in their care (whether or not they have special needs)would indeed benefit enormously.

Nasen Special

...the book follows a clear, systematic approach to using a garden environment as a teaching tool and the beneficial effects that it can have on the student... It is easy to read and accessible for anyone who may take an interest in this subject, be they teacher, support assistant, volunteer, parent, and in either a mainstream or a special needs setting... it's great to have a practical book written with students with SEN and ASD in mind!.. Theoretical concepts are lightly presented at the start of each chapter, making them readable and easy to digest... The practical lesson plans are, in the main, useful, meaningful and worthwhile... the wealth of other factors - practicality, lesson plans, risk assessments, tips on gardening, the effects of teaching gardening - really does make this book worth reading for anyone with a passing interest the subject.

Special Needs Book Review

Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Educational Needs has all you need to start gardening and enjoying this unique experience with the child in your care... Leaving no stone unturned, Natasha Etherington includes chapters on Poisonous Plants, Gardens for Children who Suffer from Asthma and Allergies and has appendixes on the top ten potential hazards in the garden or nature setting, the top ten sensory plants and must have herbs, and examples of themed containers and gardens. The author has been generous with giving you numerous links to resources on the benefits of horticultural therapy and therapeutic gardens... Best of all, the comprehensive index makes Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Educational Needs a handy resource book you will use and reuse.

Communication

To discover how, and learn more about how gardening can improve the lives of children with autism and their families, I strongly recommend you read Natasha's compact book.

Katherine L. Kuhn, HTR, JD, USA

Natasha Etherington provides teachers, parents and other caregivers of special needs children with a detailed, practical handbook of the benefits of therapeutic horticulture including a discussion of each population's needs, descriptions of appropriate seasonal horticultural activities and a listing of additional resources.

Christine Pollard, Horticultural Therapist, Home Farm, British Columbia, Canada

Natasha's much needed book reveals her refreshing enthusiasm for addressing the needs of a specific population. The useful strategic activities follow participant-led interests and abilities, making this a handbook for the supporting people in the life of a person with autism. Natasha reminds all of us how effectively the respectful 'lead by following' approach using horticulture can invite the connection and the subsequent growth needed to be able to contribute to our society.

Asteens

Any book which advocates children getting out of the classroom and having an opportunity to work with nature has got to be good and Etherington's book does not disappoint... I would recommend this book for all teachers and parents looking for a new activity to help a child change direction and escape from the downward spiral that can occur with special needs children.

SNAP Childcare

This book provides a great dip in dip out resource for teachers and parents alike... I work in a mainstream nursery where some of the children have SEN and feel that this book provides a great starting point to providing ideas, links to other sources and safety hints and tips to give you the confidence to just give it a go... I enjoyed the book and it gave me confidence to take my children out into the garden and start exploring.

Mary Mountstephen, SEN Magazine

A useful, practical introduction for non-gardeners working with special needs.

Kid Companions.

I just reviewed a wonderful book that I want to share with you. To be truthful, I did not know there was such a thing a Horticultural Therapy (HT). What is horticultural therapy? Natasha Etherington has all you need to know in her book... I recommend parents buy Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Education Needs and do what they can at their home.

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