The Activity Kit for Babies and Toddlers at Risk

How to Use Everyday Routines to Build Social and Communication Skills

Deborah Fein, Molly Helt, Lynn Brennan, and Marianne Barton

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
December 3, 2015
ISBN 9781462533718
Price: $57.00
240 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
December 4, 2015
ISBN 9781462520916
Price: $16.95
240 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
December 4, 2015
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $16.95
240 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $33.90 $18.64
240 Pages

"As we read this book, we were overwhelmed with the thought 'where has this book been all my professional life?'..."   read more »
Science in Autism Treatment

Suspecting that your baby or toddler may have autism spectrum disorder or another developmental delay can be scary and overwhelming. But there is a lot you can do to help, even while waiting for an evaluation or early intervention. With the right tools, everyday tasks can be terrific opportunities for building critical social and communication skills. Start at the kitchen table, bathtub, or shopping cart! In this easy-to-navigate guide, leading experts present more than 100 games and activities designed to support development in children from birth to age 3. Your child's daily routines are transformed into learning opportunities that promote crucial abilities, like how to imitate others or use simple hand gestures to convey wants and needs. As a parent, you are the most important person in your child's life. Now you can be the best teacher, too.

Winner (First Place)—American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award, Child Health Category

“As we read this book, we were overwhelmed with the thought ‘where has this book been all my professional life?’ We have worked with so many parents of children with autism with whom we would have shared this accessible and practical resource….The activities illustrate fun and interactive ways to engage with any child to promote positive social interactions and language development. Organized by age range, the activities are developmentally appropriate and create learning opportunities for children, regardless of their risk factors for ASD….This book is a valuable resource for parents and caregivers who are concerned about promoting language and social interactions with their young children. It is also a valuable resource for BCBAs and treatment providers working with families with young children with ASD….The book is easy to read and explains essential behavioral principles in friendly language….We will recommend this book far and wide to parents with recently diagnosed toddlers, parents with an older child with ASD and younger children at risk, and all new parents looking for ways to better engage with their babies.”

Science in Autism Treatment

“[The book] helps parents help their children and provides a wonderful contextual structure for establishing everyday routines and activities that will strengthen communication and social skills in children from birth to age three….Parents will find encouragement for implementing activities that cost nothing yet emulate clinical practice. The methods behind the tasks give new meaning to the ‘same ol’ routine’ and make learning opportunities out of the otherwise mundane.”

Library Journal (starred)

“I had the tremendous fortune of previewing this book and being coached by the authors when my daughter was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at 14 months old. We actually had fun incorporating the creative activities into our daily lives. Along with therapy, these techniques undoubtedly contributed to my daughter's amazing progress. Reading this book is like having these four leading consultants guiding you in your home every step of the way!”

—Stephanie S., parent

“Fantastic! The book provides key information about typical developmental milestones from birth through toddlerhood, and is chock full of clever games and activities to make learning fun.”

—Wendy L. Stone, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Washington; Director, Research on Early Autism Detection and Intervention (READi) Lab

“I will recommend this book to all the parents I work with. It is just what you need if you are worried about your infant's or toddler's development. The chapters are bursting with easy-to-implement games and activities, embedded in daily routines, that could help any child.”

—Sally Ozonoff, PhD, coauthor of A Parent's Guide to High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, Second Edition

“A marvelous, unique resource that fills an important need. This book is filled with practical and helpful advice and activities that parents can readily use when developmental delays are suspected. It enables you to take active steps to facilitate your child's development.”

—Fred R. Volkmar, MD, coauthor of A Practical Guide to Autism

“This clearly written, extremely user-friendly book will be invaluable to parents. It contains a plethora of ingenious ideas that you can incorporate into your everyday routines to enhance and expand your young child's learning.”

—Katarzyna Chawarska, PhD, Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine

Table of Contents

Introduction: Is This Book for You?

I. Helping Babies and Toddlers Learn and Develop

1. What Is a Developmental Delay and How Can Games in Routine Activities Help?

2. Keystones: Attachment and Behavioral Teaching

3. 12 Rules to Play By

4. Language, Eye Contact, and Imagination: Important Targets of Learning

II. Games and Activities for Toddlers at Risk

5. Waking Up and Going to Sleep

6. Dressing, Undressing, and Diaper Changing

7. Mealtime

8. Bathtime

9. Chores

10. Errands

11. Indoor Play

12. Outdoor Play

III. Games and Activities for Babies at Risk

13.0–3 Months

14. 3–6 Months

15. 6–9 Months

16. 9–12 Months

IV. More Tips and Tools

17. Specific Words, Phrases, Gestures, and Signs to Work On

18. Preventing Problem Behavior

Appendix: Activity Lists

About the Authors

Deborah Fein, PhD, is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut.

Molly Helt, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Neuroscience at Trinity College, and the parent of a child with autism.

Lynn Brennan, EdD, BCBA-D, is a board-certified behavior analyst, based in Massachusetts, who has worked with children with autism spectrum disorders for more than 20 years.

Marianne Barton, PhD, is Clinical Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at the University of Connecticut, where she is also Director of the Psychological Services Clinic.


Parents who want to help very young children develop communication, attention, and social skills; also of interest to mental health and early education professionals.