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Autism & PDD Concept Development 6-Book Set
Ages: 3-8   Grades: PreK-3

Large, simple pictures and a step-by-step progression help children with ASD understand concepts.  Comprehension activities facilitate generalization.


  • Identify, label, and use everyday objects
  • Answer questions about concepts
  • Build vocabulary
  • Generalize concepts to real experiences


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*The CD contains the complete book.  All pages are printable.
** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

Each book in the 6-book series covers 10 concepts around a theme: Animals, Clothing, Food, Household Items, Toys and Entertainment, and Transportation. 

Concepts and their critical features/functions are introduced one at a time with plenty of helps, including: 

  • 9 pages of large-size illustrations with corresponding rebus-style descriptive sentences that clearly show the attributes and unique features of the concept
  • a mini-page booklet for review/home practice
  • 20 comprehension questions (yes/no, wh-, how)
  • a generalization exercise to expand the child's understanding of the concept
  • an extension activity

The books may be purchased as a set or individually.  The 6-book set consists of: 

Autism & PDD Concept Development Animals
Autism & PDD Concept Development Clothing
Autism & PDD Concept Development Food
Autism & PDD Concept Development Household Items
Autism & PDD Concept Development Toys & Entertainment
Autism & PDD Concept Development Transportation

Copyright © 2001

6-Book Set: each book approximately 135 pages

Until I was introduced to LinguiSystems, I spent hundreds of hours making my own picture stories with accompanying questions, sequence boards, and games!  I am hooked on the LinguiSystems' programs that I have used with my students with autism.  They have clear, age-appropriate rebuses with wonderful lessons that target social skills, basic routines, and concept development and a great approach for teaching comprehension.  I want to buy it all.  I've become "evangelical" about the products and have spread the word to my students' parents, behavior therapists, speech and occupational therapists, and my fellow teachers.  I have been in the field of special education for over 25 years in positions from teacher to principal and this is the most excited I've been about an entire line of materials.


I have been so wowed by the Autism & PDD Concept Development books, Autism & PDD Primary Social Skills Lessons, and Autism & PDD Picture Stories and Language Activities series, that when I took on a student to tutor with SLD, my first source for program materials was LinguiSystems.  I find myself referring my colleagues, who are teaching English Language Learners, to the LinguiSystems products for their clarity regarding language arts (reading, writing, listening, and speaking skill development).

Laura Gross, Teacher
Woodland Hills, CA

  • Early intervention that addresses skill acquisition in the areas of interaction, attention, play, comprehension, and expression will support the development of an even profile.  The acquisition of key developmental skills supports the later development of communication, language, and speech and enhances emotional, social, and academic development (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Many children with autism spectrum disorders learn more readily through the visual modality (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Students need to understand semantic connections among words for academic success (NRP, 2000).
  • Vocabulary intervention should provide opportunities for students to use target words in multiple contexts (Boone et al., 2007).

Autism & PDD Concept Development incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Boone, K., Letsky, S., Wallach, S., Young, J., Gingrass, K., & Daly, C. (2007, November 28). Role of SLP: A method of inclusion. Paper presented at the 2007 ASHA National Convention. Retrieved March 24, 2009, from

National Reading Panel (NRP). (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction—Reports of the subgroups. Retrieved March 24, 2009, from

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech & language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark.


Pam Britton Reese, Nena C. Challenner


Pam Britton Reese, M.A., CCC-SLP, owns a private practice, CommunicAid Plus, where she provides speech and language services to children and adults.  She is also an educational consultant to public and private schools.  Pam has over nine years experience in the schools as a speech-language pathologist and teacher of the hearing-impaired.  She has worked with children with autism and PDD since 1995.  Autism & PDD Concept Development is her fourth publication with LinguiSystems.

Nena C. Challenner, M.Ed., is a community-based instruction teacher and inclusion specialist.  She has been a teacher for over 15 years and has taught preschool through second grade.  She has worked with children with autism and PDD since 1995.  Nena is also a reading consultant at CommunicAid Plus.  Autism & PDD Concept Development is her third publication with LinguiSystems.


In our work with children with autism, we were often surprised at misconceptions our students had about the world.  For example, when 9-year-old Katie was asked, "What would you do if you saw a house on fire?" she answered, "Roast marshmallows."  She had only experienced fire in this way and was unable to perceive that fire might also be dangerous, that it burns, or that it can heat a home.  Other children with autism whom we have known didn't recognize a sitting dog as a dog or a rocking chair as a chair.  These are concepts that typically-developing children are able to process through observing or listening to information and instantly linking to other learned concepts.  We know that children with autism must be taught such language skills as naming attributes, placing words in appropriate categories, and giving descriptions.

It is well documented that children with autism learn more easily when information is presented in a visual format.  The picture is constant and the child can view it until the concept is learned, as opposed to the transient nature of speech.  Most books published for young children, however, do not teach the concepts the child with autism needs to learn.  Although the stories are often engaging and the artwork of museum quality, they too often confuse the child with autism.  Foxes that drive?  Animals that wear clothing and talk?  Cars with eyes?  Although amusing, they are not a realistic depiction of our world.  Often, too, the art is very complex with many extraneous details. 

Each book in Autism & PDD Concept Development covers 10 concepts around a theme:

  • Animals
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Household Items
  • Toys and Entertainment
  • Transportation

Specific attributes and features of each concept are illustrated with large pictures, simple sentences, and picture symbols.  In addition, there are questions to check comprehension and activities to help the child apply this knowledge to other contexts.  These books were developed for professionals who work with children with autism, ages 3 through 8.  However, these books can also be used with children who have language delays or language disorders caused by disabilities such as Down syndrome.  Parents and caregivers can also use these books.


How to Use the Books 
Each book contains concepts about 10 different types of a theme.  Each concept is illustrated in both a large-page and mini-page format for making books to read to the child.  We suggest that the large-page format be copied. Place the pages in plastic page protectors.  Sliding a thin piece of cardboard or card stock into the pocket between the pages will stiffen the pages and make them easier for young children to turn.  Put the pages into folders with brads or three-ring notebooks to create a book.  You may want to put a copy of the first page of each unit on the front of the folder or notebook.  The mini-pages can be made into small books for the children to take home after they've heard the story at school.

You may want to use all of the concepts in the book at one time to introduce or extend a thematic unit or you can select a specific concept to focus on.  For example, a child might know dog and cat, but have no idea what a rabbit is!  Remember to go at the child's pace.  A child might need many lessons on chairs, for example, before moving on to other concepts in the book.


Comprehension Questions
A variety of comprehension questions (e.g., yes/no, wh-, how) follow each concept.  The questions can be used in different ways.  Some children may only be able to answer the yes/no questions.  Some children may do better with the wh- and how questions.  You can ask the questions after each concept is taught or after each page.  If a child has difficulty answering a question, go through the targeted concept again and help him find the answer.  Cue the child by pointing to the picture and/or text as you ask the question again.


Generalization Pages
Each concept has a generalization exercise.  This exercise is designed to check the child's comprehension of the concept as well as to extend understanding of the concept to different forms and views.  Many of the children we work with understand only one form of a concept: "That is a cat.  That cat is gray.  Thus, all cats must be gray or they are not cats."  As you can see, that is a false generalization.  By presenting variations of the same concept such as size, color, and position, the child learns to expand his mental definition of the concept.

After you read about the targeted concept, make a copy of the generalization page for the child.  Read the directions aloud and have the child complete the page.  Then encourage the child to describe the circled concepts.  Depending on the child's level, the responses could be as simple as labeling "shirt" or as elaborate as "The shirt has long sleeves."  You can also use the pictures on this page to point out the differences between the circled concepts.


Extension Activity
This activity is designed to extend instruction for any of the concepts in the book.  Directions are found on the activity pages.


Suggested Literature
We have included a list of children's literature to help extend and promote generalization of the concepts to other contexts.  These books were carefully chosen because of their simple text and realistic pictures.  It is important to provide as many opportunities as possible for the child with autism to see and hear the concept.  We have found that repeated exposure to the concepts in Autism & PDD Concept Development, followed by other books with different pictures and texts, aids the child with autism in generalizing the concept to different contexts.


Remember that the concepts covered in the book can be taught in classrooms as well as group or individual therapy sessions.  We hope that the children you work with enjoy the books as much as our students and clients do.

Pam and Nena