OAKLAND, CA--(Marketwire - April 14, 2010) -  For the past 17 years, Behavioral Intervention Association (BIA) has been teaching children with autism the important social skills needed to successfully live in this very social society. Because autism -- now prevalent in 1 in 110 children -- drastically affects a child's ability to interact with others, it is very important and also very valuable for these children to build friendships and in turn enhance communication and social competence. In a world where social skills are a key component to landing a job or navigating college, parents are desperate to find techniques that can help their child learn these critical but complex skills. Passport to Friendship: Facilitating Peer Play for Children with ASD provides parents and professionals with practical strategies to help support children as they build lasting relationships, and develop social and communication skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Developed by autism experts at BIA, Passport to Friendship is a step-by-step guide to teach parents and professionals how to work on social skills in the context of peer play dates. Highly engaging, this DVD provides simple strategies to create comfortable and predictable play environments, use supports and adaptations to engage children in positive peer play, and break down desired skills into achievable goals. Footage of actual students, teachers, and parents demonstrating the techniques, candid interviews, and expert commentary make this DVD an essential resource for anyone working with young children with ASD. Sandy Furia, a speech-language pathologist who specializes in strengthening social skills for children with autism, recommends this DVD because she says, "it clearly defines the complexity of social interaction and teaches those working with children how to develop specific measurable goals in order to improve play skills of the participants."

Josh, who graduated from BIA over a decade ago, is a walking testament to the techniques espoused by BIA. He now attends Brandeis University and thrives off of the social environment of college. "I would not have recovered from Autism and be where I am today without the help of BIA. I have had the pleasure of remaining in contact with BIA in order to give back and have directly seen the benefits of BIA's methods of addressing children's social interactions." Josh is one of many BIA students who have gone on to live happy and independent lives amidst a sea of friends.

The cornerstone of BIA's success lies not only in the early and intensive intervention but also in the frequent and consistent structured peer play dates that BIA recommends for a majority of their clients. Working on social skills incrementally, but in the context of actual peers and with repeated practice, is the key to learning and internalizing these vital skills. Hilary Baldi, Clinical Director of BIA, is frequently asked by parents how they can help their child with autism learn social skills. Baldi sums up, "unequivocally, it's repeated and supported practice interacting with typical peers."

Passport to Friendship: Facilitating Peer Play for Children with ASD is available from Brookes Publishing (1-800-638-3775; www.brookespublishing.com) for $49.95. Review copies are available to the press, contact Christina Lukenich (Brookes Publishing) at 410-337-9580, x 120 or clukenich@brookespublishing.com.

About Behavioral Intervention Association:
Founded in 1993, BIA provides in-home, intensive early intervention programs to children on the Autism Spectrum. BIA strives to enhance each child's ability to reach his/her maximum potential by creating playful and individualized programs that capitalize on a child's strengths and interests. BIA has seen the direct and lasting effects of providing an intensive number of learning opportunities from its many success stories. BIA has served hundreds of children in the San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley Area as well as Overseas. BIA also provides workshops to professionals, students and families.

Contact Information:

Contact: Deanne Detmers, MA
Behavioral Intervention Association (BIA)
Phone: 510-652-7445, ext. 15