My overall impression of this book is that is contrived and forced in places. The book is structured around a layered model of progress; essentially progressing the student from the lowest level of competence on through higher levels. One might presume that the authors were stuck for a teaching metaphor and grabbed the apprentice-expert metaphor as scaffolding on which to hang the lessons. The book is replete with various lesson plans and tactics for enagaging the AS person's interest. To be fair, a reasonable amount of what is here is worthwhile reading and reflecting on - once you filter out the esotericism of much of the language.
However, the book seems to stumble as it tries to fill its 400 odd pages with 'advanced' lesson plans. Some of the section titles made me wonder was this a case of Asperger Syndrome meets Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The AS subject moves through Novice, Apprentice, Challenger, Voyager and Partner levels as just one example. There are sublevels within each of these. Finding one's unique idenitity and place in the environment etc, are major objectives.
The tenor of a lot of this, for me at least, verged on almost cultish twaddle. I prefer a reasonable scientific tenor to any behavioural modification programme. However, others may find the book's approach illuminating and helpful.
The book emphasises coaching and that the real business of interventions is coaching. My problem with this is that it doesn't tie coaching into any particular theory - though if you take one of the authors' RDI courses presumably the theory will be revealed. There is a growing emphasis on putting intervention programmes on some sort of scientific footing, and it behooves the authors of such programmes to produce the goods on the worth of their offerings.
The latter sections of the book, in my opinion, presume a lot of the AS subject. In particular the use of others to faciliate interaction, learn about emotions and generally mediate social interactions is just not a an easy thing to acomplish with an AS subject. The 'partner' that turns up today may not be there tomorrow. So how do you coach an AS teenager to fall back on there own resources?
The authors state that the book is suitable for use by parents, adolescents and adults, teachers and therapists (not many left out there). Personally I found this to be the most questionable claim of the whole book. How on Earth can it be a manual satisfying the requirements of such different audiences. It is verging on cyncical to suggest it has so much to offer to so many.
In conclusion, there are aspects of the book that are useful and other aspects that I found incongrous, if not downright peculiar. If I had a larger budget, I would definitely prefer Kathleen Quill's book, Do-Watch-Listen-Say even though it is not explicitly aimed at adolescents, and couple it with one of the Boystown Teaching Basic Social Skills to Youth as a more convincing pair. It is a personal choice, and different people may have different requirements.