spark* t-shirts are getting around


Willy & Iris at ASHA 2015 – yes, we gave a spark* t-shirt to Iris too!!


Kite boarding on Lake Muskoka in Canada

Reviews of The Autistic Child’s Guide and spark*:

The Autistic Child’s Guide to How to Behave introduces spark*, the Self-Regulation Program of Awareness and Resilience in Kids. spark* is an innovative programme for teaching self-regulation of behaviour, thinking and emotions to young children on the autism spectrum as well as those with other developmental disabilities.

I have to admit I’m a big Heather MacKenzie fan. That’s the bias out in the open. The Autistic Child’s Guide to How to Behave represents a really new direction in teaching. Heather describes her approach as establishing a ‘positive working alliance with a child’. It’s this mediational approach that’s key.

“For many years, I have watched these children grow up to be dependent on adults for absolutely everything that happens in their day. They wait to be told to do some things and not others; when to stop or start an activity; to calm down, stay still, even when to eat and sleep. They never get a chance to shift from being adult-regulated to being self-regulated,”

The book contains step-by-step lessons for helping the child move from imitation of easy actions through to self-direction and self-control. What’s more they are fun (for therapist and child!).

The focus on ability and the positive belief that independence isn’t a pipe dream for these youngsters is stamped all over this brilliant book. Sometimes (with the best of intentions) we teach dependence rather than independence. This great resource shows us another way. Well done Heather.

I adapted one of the ‘lessons’ and incorporated it into a recent workshop with a group of support staff. We worked all morning on how we could improve a child’s “ignoring skills”! It was great to see the group get hold of this approach and run with it.

– Positive About Autism™ June 2011 Newsletter

The spark* program is an invaluable tool for a busy clinician. The spark* lessons are brilliant!!!! Thorough, clearly outlined, comprehensive in instructions and cueing and easy to follow.

– Carmen Hengeveld, M. S.L.P., R.SLP, S-LP(C), Registered Speech-Language Pathologist, Calgary, Alberta

The spark* model is clearly described – all the way from research-based rationale to step-by-step instructions in the lesson plans. I’d be feeling hopeful and eager to implement these ideas and see what a difference spark* could make in helping my child reach her potential!

– Teeya Scholten, Ph.D., Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta

spark* is a refreshing alternative to more strictly behavioral teaching and treats children with ASC with more respect giving them an opportunity to blossom.

– Karen, Duff, M.A., Speech-Language Pathologist, Victoria, B.C.

I think many parents of children with ASC will find spark* to be life-changing for them.

– Janine Montgomery, Ph.D., Educator, Winnipeg, Manitoba

In order for a child to gain success in life and reach his/her full potential, the whole child needs to be educated. spark* does an excellent job of addressing the child’s needs related to cognitive, behavioral and emotional self-regulation. The lessons are well-planned and well-organized. Educators and support staff will find the lessons very user-friendly.

– Laureen Schellenberg, Special Education Resource Teacher, Winnipeg, Manitoba

spark* is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to teaching the metacognitive skills necessary for self-directed learning and social interaction. It breaks down higher level complex cognitive processes into measurable and achievable increments. spark* trains the independent use and transfer of skills to meaningful contexts at home, at school and in the community. It empowers children with autism to participate more functionally in a variety of daily life situations.

– Susan Greaves, M.A., Speech-Language Pathologist, Edmonton, Alberta

spark* is easily usable by teachers and other professionals. All the material needed to use the program is included. The program always emphasizes praising the child and keeping families involved. This book has condensed an amazing amount of resource material into one very usable book.

– Susan Deike, B.A., B.A. (Journalism), Communication Specialist, Calgary, Alberta


AuKids magazine did a feature article on spark* in May 2012. Have a look read below.

 Tori and TACG
Here’s a picture of Tori Houghton, one half of the dynamic duo responsible for Aukids magazine. Debby Elly is her partner in the wonderful creation. Of course, Tori is holding a copy of The Autistic Child’s Guide. Our spark* t-shirt is shown in the background.

Aukids article about spark - page 1

Aukids article about spark - page 2