Real Life, Real Progress for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Strategies for Successful Generalization in Natural Environments

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9781557669544: Real Life, Real Progress for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Strategies for Successful Generalization in Natural Environments
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Generalization is the key to effective autism intervention—when children can apply new skills across settings, they'll make broad, long-term improvements in behavior and social communication. The first how-to guide to generalization is finally here! Practical and reader-friendly, this is the book that helps professionals take today's most popular autism interventions to the next level by making generalization an integral part of them.

Pre-K–Grade 8 special educators, early interventionists, SLPs, and other professionals will

  • enhance 6 widely used autism intervention models with specific, evidence-based generalization strategies
  • get dozens of easy activities that really help children use new skills consistently—no matter where they are or who they're with
  • learn about generalization from the experts who know best, with contributions from top autism authorities like Ilene Schwartz, Carol Gray, Andy Bondy, Laura Schriebman, and Bryna Siegel
  • provide positive, supportive parent education so they can be active partners in promoting their children's generalization of skills
  • weave generalization strategies into every phase of intervention planning, not just at the end after skills have already been learned
  • modify generalization strategies for different settings, so children can achieve their ultimate goal: applying their skills successfully in school, at home, and in the community
  • assess the effectiveness of generalization strategies at multiple stages of instruction

Case studies and vivid examples bring the strategies to life in every chapter, and forms and checklists help professionals plan interventions, track children's goals, and monitor their progress toward generalization. With this urgently needed guide to one of the most important facets of autism intervention, readers will help children generalize social behaviors and communication skills—and ensure better lives and brighter futures.

Make generalization strategies a part of these popular interventions:

  • Pivotal Response Training
  • Discrete Trial Instruction
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • Social Stories™
  • Computer-Assisted Intervention
  • JumpStart Learning-to-Learn

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About the Author:


Christina Whalen, Ph.D., BCBA, President and Chief Science Officer, Jigsaw Learning, 2815 Eastlake Avenue East, Suite 300, Seattle, Washington 98102

Dr. Whalen is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst specializing in autism and related disorders. She is one of the founders of TeachTown, Inc. (http://www.drchris.teachtown.com), and is now Co-founder and President and Chief Science Officer of Jigsaw Learning (http://www.jigsawlearning. com; a merged company of TeachTown, Inc., and Animated Speech Co.). She received her Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego, and did her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. She also worked at Autism Spectrum Therapies in Los Angeles and at the University of Washington Autism Center as the Early STAART Treatment and Training Director.

Dr. Whalen has more than 15 years of experience in research and clinical practice with children with autism and their families. She has developed and supervised home programs, educated and trained parents and teachers, consulted with school districts, taught college and graduate courses in psychology and education, presented at numerous professional conferences, participated in fund-raising activities for various autism organizations, and published in professional scientific journals. She is also a chapter author in Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse Users (edited by Jonathan Lazar; Wiley, 2007), a book about how technology can help people with special needs. Dr. Whalen served on a task force for the California Blue Ribbon Commission for Autism, acted as the ABA Liaison for the California Association for Behavior Analysis (Cal-ABA), and is now the Chair of the Technology Special Interest Group for the Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Dr. Whalen resides in Millbrae, California, near San Francisco. She is married and has a 6-year-old boy.



Lee Grossman is President and CEO of the Autism Society of America.



Anne Bernard, Research and Clinical Coordinator,Autism and Neurodevelopment Clinic, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143. In addition to her research on diagnosis and intervention strategies for autism spectrum disorders, Ms. Bernard is currently coordinating a magnetic source imaging study on sensory processing disorders.



Andy Bondy, Ph.D., Co-founder, Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc., 13 Garfield Way, Suite 1, Newark, Delaware 19713. Dr. Bondy has more than 35 years of experience in applied behavior analysis and autism. He directed a statewide program for students with autism for 14 years and co-developed the Picture Exchange Communication System. He also co-founded (with his wife, Lori Frost) Pyramid Educational Consultants, which provides parent and staff training around the world.



Shannon Cernich, Ph.D., BCBA, Director of Implementation and Training, Jigsaw Learning, 2815 Eastlake Avenue East, Suite 300, Seattle, Washington 98102. Dr. Cernich has more than 10 years of experience working with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders and special needs as well as with their educators and caregivers. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has a Ph.D. in psychology. Her goal is to work with her team to utilize technology to help 100,000 children with special needs in the next 5 years, and she has met her 1-year benchmark.



Sabrina D. Daneshvar, Ph.D., BCBA, Program Coordinator, Autism Spectrum Therapies, 1526 Brookhollow Drive, Suite 70, Santa Ana, California 92705. Dr. Daneshvar received her Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from Claremont Graduate University with a concentration in behavioral treatment of developmental disabilities. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a program coordinator with Autism Spectrum Therapies. Her expertise includes early intervention, parent education, behavior support, consultation, and staff development.



Carol Davis, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Special Education, University of Washington, Box 353600, Seattle, Washington 98195. Dr. Davis’s research interests include examining effective instructional practices that facilitate skill acquisition and promote positive behavior of students with moderate to profound disabilities in inclusive settings, identifying variables that contribute to the use of effective strategies by teachers in these settings, and developing systems to support students with severe disabilities to have access to the general education curriculum within the public school setting.



Anna Dvortcsak, M.S., CCC-SLP, Private Practice, 4110 South East Hawthorne Boulevard #420, Portland, Oregon 97214. Ms. Dvortcsak, a licensed speech and language pathologist, specializes in parent-mediated intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders. In 2004, Ms. Dvortcsak founded Dvortcsak Speech and Language Services (DSLSI), which provides individual and group training to families with children with autism and related disorders, individualized speech and language services, and training to professionals working with children with autism and related disorders. She also consults with school districts, private practices, and hospitals to train staff to use naturalistic treatment strategies to enhance children’s engagement, imitation, language, and play skills and to use parent-mediated interventions.



Lauren Franke, Psy.D, Private Practice, 1600 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite C, Seal Beach, California 90740. As a licensed clinical psychologist and language pathologist, Dr. Franke has spent the last 25 years in private and clinical practice with an emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of language disorders, developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, learning disorders, and attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. She also consults with school districts providing training to professionals and parents regarding diagnosing developmental disorders and treatment strategies for expressive language development and improving language comprehension and social-pragmatic skills.



William D. Frea, Ph.D., BCBA, Chief Clinical Officer, Autism Spectrum Therapies, 6001 Bristol Parkway, Suite 200, Culver City, California 90230. Dr. Frea is the co-founder of Autism Spectrum Therapies (http://www.autismtherapies .com), an agency providing comprehensive applied behavior analysis services to individuals with autism. He and his agency specialize in intensive behavioral interventions, positive behavior supports, and social skills across the life span. Autism Spectrum Therapies also works closely with school districts to develop state-of-the-art autism programs.



Lori Frost, Co-founder, Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc., 13 Garfield Way, Suite 1, Newark, Delaware 19713. Ms. Frost is Vice-President and Co-founder of Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc., as well as a coauthor of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Training Manual. Ms. Frost has been the driving force behind creating PECS, a unique system that allows children with limited communication abilities to initiate communication with teachers, parents, and peers. She has a wealth of background in functional communication training and applied behavior analysis.



Carol Gray, President and Consultant to Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding, Embassy Drive Southeast, Kentwood, Michigan, 49546. Ms. Gray is an author, speaker, and consultant who works on behalf of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. She developed the Social Story approach early in 1991 and is noted for the development of other instructional strategies and her groundbreaking articles on bullying and loss and learning. She is the recipient of the Barbara Lipinski Award for her international contribution to the education and welfare of individuals on the autism spectrum.



Brooke Ingersoll, Ph.D., BCBA, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Michigan State University, 105B Psychology Building, East Lansing, Michigan 48824. Dr. Ingersoll is an assistant professor at Michigan State University, where she heads the Autism Research Laboratory. Her research is focused on social-communication development and interventions aimed at improving social-communication deficits in children with autism. She is a licensed psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.



Robert H. LaRue, Ph.D., BCBA, Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Research and Training, Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University, 151 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901. Dr. LaRue received his doctorate in biological and school psychology from Louisiana State University and completed a predoctoral internship and a postdoctoral fellowship with the Kennedy Krieger and Marcus Institutes at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Emory University. He is Assistant Director of Research and Training at The Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center. He has coauthored articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as book chapters and has presented at national and international conferences.



Dominic W. Massaro, Ph.D., Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz, Department of Psychology, Santa Cruz, California 95060. Dr. Massaro is Professor of Psychology and Computer Engineering, Director of the Perceptual Science Laboratory, and Founding Chair of Digital Arts and New Media M.F.A. program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a University of Wisconsin Romnes Fellow, a James McKeen Cattell Fellow, and a National Institute of Mental Health Fellow. His research uses a formal experimental and theoretical approach to the study of speech perception, reading, psycholinguistics, memory, cognition, learning, and decision making.



Annie McLaughlin, M.T., Doctoral Student, Experimental Education Unit, University of Washington, Box 353600, Seattle, Washington 98195. Ms. McLaughlin has a master’s of teaching in special education from The University of Virginia with a specialization in working with people with developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and emotional/behavior disorders. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in severe disabilities at the University of Washington. Her classroom and research experiences focus on students with severe disabilities, autism, and challenging behavior.



Ronit M. Molko, Ph.D., BCBA, Founder, Autism Spectrum Therapies, 6001 Bristol Parkway, Suite 200, Culver City, California 90230. Dr. Molko is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and clinical psychologist, specializing in the treatment of children with autism and related disorders. She is co-founder of Autism Spectrum Therapies (http://www.autismtherapies.com), an agency that specializes in intensive behavioral interventions, positive behavior supports, and social skills for individuals with autism across the life span. Autism Spectrum Therapies also works closely with school districts to develop state-of-the-art autism programs.



Daniel Openden, Ph.D., BCBA, Vice President/Clinical Services Director, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), 300 North 18th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85006. Dr. Openden is Faculty Associate in the Division of Curriculum & Instruction at Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University. He has worked extensively with families with children with autism spectrum disorders on both federal- and state-funded research projects; provided consulting and training for school districts across the country; presented research at regional, state, and national conventions; and been published in peerreviewed journals and book chapters in the field. Dr. Openden has expertise in developing training programs for teaching parents and professionals to implement Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) and is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.



Nancy E. Rosenberg, Ph.D., Teaching Associate, Experimental Education Unit, University of Washington, 4000 15th Avenue Northeast, Seattle, Washington 98195. Dr. Rosenberg received her Ph.D. in special education from the University of Washington with a particular focus in autism. She currently teaches classes for both educators and parents around issues related to autism and consults with families and school districts for these children. Dr. Rosenberg is also the parent of a son with autism.



Laura Schreibman, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093. Dr. Laura Schreibman directs the UCSD Autism Intervention Research Program, a federally funded research program focusing on the experimental analysis and treatment of autism. A co-developer of Pivotal Response Training, her general research interests include naturalistic behavioral intervention strategies, development of individualized treatment protocols, analysis of language and attentional deficits, generalization of behavior change, parent training, and issues of assessment. She is the author of three books and more than 120 research articles and book chapters.



Ilene S. Schwartz, Ph.D. is Professor at the University of Washington in the area of special education. Dr. Schwartz has an extensive background working with young children with special needs, specifically with young children with autism and other disabilities. Dr. Schwartz is the Director of the Haring Center for Research and Training in Inclusive Education at the University of Washington. Dr. Schwartz is the faculty advisor for the inclusive preschool and kindergarten programs at the Experimental Education Unit at the University of Washington, where she maintains an active line of research and personnel preparation activities. Dr. Schwartz is Principal Investigator of several projects, including a model demonstration project to develop school-based services for young children with autism, a research project to assess the differential effectiveness of preschool programs for young children with autism, and a personnel preparation program for early childhood education teachers who work with children with severe disabilities in inclusive settings. Dr. Schwartz has published numerous chapters and articles about early childhood education and social validity. She serves on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Early Intervention and Topics in Early Childhood Special Education.



Bryna Siegel, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, Director, Autism Clinic, Co-director, Autism Neurodevelopment Center, 401 Parnassus Avenue, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), California 94143. Dr. Siegel founded and directs the UCSF Autism Clinic. She has been involved with autism research for the past 25 years and has authored numerous books, chapters, and scientific papers. Her work has focused on operationalizing a definition for autism as specific autistic learning disabilities and autistic learning styles that can be treated with developmental curricula administered using...

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Excerpted from Real Life, Real Progress for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Strategies for Successful Generalization in Natural Environments
Edited by Christina Whalen, Ph.D., BCBA

Chapter 1: Generalization and Autism Spectrum Disorders
By Daniel Openden, Christina Whalen, Shannon Cernich, and Manya Vaupel
© 2009. Brookes Publishing. All rights reserved.

STRATEGIES GUIDE: TOWARD IMPROVING GENERALIZATION

Antecedent Strategies

When planning for and teaching generalization, consider the following strategies:

  • Use interesting, preferred, and functional activities and items.

Students are more likely to engage in an activity when there is natural reinforcement associated with the activity. For example, if you want to teach turn taking in board games, find out what board games the children are playing at school. This way, if there is a group of children playing a particular game, your student will already know how to play and can then join the group.

  • Exaggerate and vary affect when interacting with your students.

Your students are the first ones to notice if something is boring. If you are not interested, they may not be either. Your student may not pick up on various moods or feelings if you are subtle. Often, students with ASDs have a delay in affect and have difficulty picking up on the affective states of others. Therefore, as a therapist, it is important to exaggerate your affect so that students may then notice various types of affect in others and better demonstrate affect themselves in different social situations. For example, if you find a missing puzzle piece while doing a puzzle with your student and want to show her that you are happy about it, exaggerate your happiness so that it is clear to her that you are happy about it. Say, “Yeah! I found the piece that goes here!†with a big smile on your face while looking at the child. Reciprocally, when she finds a missing piece, model the same reaction and wait for her to have the opportunity to display her affective response. It is also critical to vary your affective responses as people are not always going to be happy all the time and your time with your student is a good time to model and teach appropriate affect in various situations. This applies to negative emotions as well. For instance, if you are playing a video game with your student and your character gets knocked out of the game, you can model an appropriate affective response such as saying, “Oh no! Not again!†and frowning, but then also demonstrate a return to neutral affect by getting back into the game and saying, “Oh well, I’ll try it again.â€

  • Vary your instructions.

The same question can be asked in many ways (e.g., “What is it?†“What do you see?†“Tell me what this is.†“Tell me about this!†). It is important for students with ASDs to know how to respond to a variety of instructions, questions, and comments to optimize generalization.

  • Vary your teaching environments and settings.
  • Watch carefully for mastery of skills.

Students will get bored easily if they are expected to continue to work on the same skill over and over again, especially if they have already demonstrated that they have learned it. Once a student masters a skill, immediately move it into generalization. Teach the skill with new materials, in new settings, and with new people and assess whether the child maintains the skill over time.

  • Intersperse tasks.

Mix and vary your materials, instructions, goals, and activities. The student should learn to discriminate his or her response based on the question or instruction and then respond appropriately.

  • Teach using multiple types of stimuli.

Sometimes it is necessary to use all possible stimuli that are appropriate for your student. For example, teach your student all varieties of fasteners on pants (e.g., snaps, zippers, buttons, hook and loop closures, belts, drawstrings) so that he or she is independent in every setting with his or her own clothing. However, in some cases it is not possible to teach all stimuli. In cases such as teaching every kind of dog, you may need to just have multiple exemplars (i.e., many examples, but not all) to teach the concept of dog.

  • Use stimuli that are routinely found in the natural environment.
Optimize generalization by using stimuli from the natural environment in the training environment whenever possible.

  • Use natural language.

Think of language and instructions that the students would typically expect during the activity outside of the training environment and in natural settings or situations. Then, when the student is working with other people or in natural environments, he or she is more likely to engage appropriately in the activity.

  • Train in natural settings as much as possible.

    If the behavior that you are working on with your student is only appropriate in a limited number of situations, then it is likely going to be more efficient and effective if you just work directly in those environments. For example, teaching grocery shopping is much more effective in the grocery store than it is in a mock grocery store. Similarly, if you are working on a play activity, try it on the floor rather than the worktable. If you are looking at books, try doing so on a beanbag chair or in a reading corner rather than just at a desk. By doing this, you will likely be able to determine what other skills need to be worked on when you are in the natural setting, which will help with future treatment plan goals.

    Response Strategies

    When working toward generalization, you can use the following techniques to help maximize your student’s success in everyday life:

    • Increase your student’s proficiency in the newly acquired goal.

    If the student has recently mastered a goal in the training environment but is not exhibiting that skill in the natural environment, try increasing your student’s performance of the target skill in the training environment (e.g., improving student’s response time). Increasing a student’s proficiency in the training environment ensures a stronger response, which will then provide a better chance at success in the natural environment. For example, when babies have become proficient at crawling from one place to another, it is often quite difficult for them to make the transition to walking. Because they often fall down and get frustrated, they are more likely to just crawl to the desired item or location. But, after working with a baby in the training setting (e.g., short jaunts between mom and dad), you will likely see a quick transition to walking in other environments because the baby has built up confidence and proficiency in the training setting with mom and dad.

    • Amplify the target response or make the target response more obvious.

    You will need to analyze whether the target response is reliably providing access to the natural reinforcers found in the generalization setting. If you find that the target response is not providing access to reinforcement, then you will need to change the target response in a way that will ensure access to natural reinforcers. For example, if your student is not getting a listener’s attention by simply saying the listener’s name, then teach the child to tap the listener on the arm while saying the listener’s name.

    Consequence Strategies

    After your student responds to generalization training, you can use the following techniques to address consequences and reinforcement:

    • Eliminate training reinforcers completely and thin your reinforcement schedule.

    In the training and acquisition environment, eliminate training reinforcers or any reinforcers that are considered to be artificial (i.e., not directly related to the desired behavior). Compare what should reinforce the behavior naturally with what is reinforcing the behavior in the training setting. Gradually fade out the artificial reinforcers while thinning your reinforcement schedule so that it better reflects what is found in natural settings.

    • Use varied and natural reinforcers.

    Natural reinforcers are directly and functionally related to the activity or desired behavior. For example, if a student loves to swing, try teaching all of the language associated with swinging (e.g., “push me,†“my turn,†“go higher,†“get down,†“underdog,†“spin me†). Because the consequences associated with these requests are naturally reinforcing, appropriate requests during a swinging activity are likely to increase.

    • Plan for consistency of caregiver responses in the natural environment.

    It is helpful if everyone involved in the student’s treatment plan (e.g., parents, caregivers, extended family, school staff) receives training and information on how to effectively respond to your student across settings. For example, everyone will know to answer the student’s most commonly asked question (e.g., “When were you born?†) only if the student asks an appropriate social question first (e.g., “What did you do this weekend?†or “Having a good day?†) in order to increase the frequency of appropriate social questions from the student.

    • Reinforce only generalized behavior.

    Sometimes it is necessary to systematically plan to only reinforce behavior that has not been demonstrated before. For example, if you are trying to teach your student to explore more playground equipment, you may need to only provide reinforcement when the student tries a new piece of equipment.

    • Program for naturally occurring consequences.

    Often, a student’s target behavior is not necessarily observed due to subtleties in social interactions and natural reinforcers are provided by the event itself. For example, the possibility of a social punisher motivates most adults to avoid engaging in certain inappropriate behaviors (e.g., being frowned at if we bump someone with our grocery cart, our conversation partner interrupting us if we dominate the conversation too much, someone hanging up on us if we are being rude on the telephone or walking away if we are being disrespectful). These are natural consequences to inappropriate behavior and may need supplemental training so that your student understands that other people typically do not respond well to these types of behaviors.

    • Teach your student to solicit reinforcement in structured and natural settings.

    Teach your student to follow a target behavior with an additional behavior that will normally elicit social approval both in the structured and less structured setting. In a structured environment such as playing a board game, your student may easily give up his or her turn for another student if he or she has learned to consistently and spontaneously seek desired praise from the teacher. You will also need to train in less structured settings such as taking turns riding bikes at recess and seeking reinforcement from playground staff.

    • Teach self-reinforcement.

    If reinforcement is sparse or unidentifiable in the generalization setting, consider teaching your student to self-reinforce for accuracy of his or her own behavior. Remember that self-reinforcement can be difficult, and portability is key. Often, just the training involved in teaching self-reinforcement increases the proficiency of the target behavior. For instance, an older student is learning to stay on task on his job. He carries a vibrating timer that is pre-programmed to vibrate at varying times throughout his work session before his first break. At each intermittent timing, he checks in with himself to determine if he is on task (i.e., he was taught to ask himself each time the timer went off, “Am I on task?†). If he decides that he was on task, he gives himself a star on his “on task chart.†At the end of his work session, he adds up his stars and if he has enough stars, he buys himself a soda to drink during his break. It is important to note that before this program was implemented in the workplace, the student first learned how to selfreinforce his own behavior with his instructor during his one-to-one work. The program was then introduced in his classroom with his teacher before moving it to his job setting.

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Book Description Brookes Publishing Co, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Rather than describing autism, etiology, diagnosis, or a specific treatment approach, this book covers generalization, an important aspect of any kind of treatment approach. Generalization is when responses or skills that are not directly targeted occur as a result of training or intervention. Generalization is one of the most important measures of treatment outcome, if a child can learn a variety of skills and use them in a variety of settings, it is the best measure of whether or not an intervention was effective.In addition to the informative chapters in the first half of the book, this book includes naturalistic activities teaching language, play, imitation, social skills, motor skills, academic skills, and cognitive skills. The activities are written in clear language with the intention that non-experts, such as parents and many school staff, will be able to implement these activities in the child s natural environment.This book offers information, practical, easy-to-use activities, and simple data collection for everyday use - all designed to help parents, teachers, and professionals begin a comprehensive treatment program for their child. Seller Inventory # AAN9781557669544

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Christina Whalen
Published by Brookes Publishing Co
ISBN 10: 1557669546 ISBN 13: 9781557669544
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Book Description Brookes Publishing Co. Paperback. Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory # B9781557669544

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Published by Brookes Publishing (2009)
ISBN 10: 1557669546 ISBN 13: 9781557669544
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Murray Media
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Book Description Brookes Publishing, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111557669546

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