The Incredible 5 Point Scale The Incredible 5 Point Scale Kari Dunn Buron - A pretty good teacher from Minnesota

Stuff About Kari
Reviews and Links
More Sweet Scale Ideas
Kari's Blog
Other Projects and Articles


Adalyn's Clare
Adalyn's Clare
Ordering Information

Social Behavior and Self-Management: 5-Point Scales for Adolescents and Adults
Social Behavior and Self-Management: 5-Point Scales for Adolescents and Adults
Ordering Information

When My Worries Get Too Big!
When My Worries Get Too Big
Ordering Information

A 5 Is Against The Law!
A 5 is Against the Law!
Ordering Information

A "5" Could Make Me Lose Control!
A "5" Could Make Me Lose Control!
Ordering Information

The Social Times, Vol. 2
The Social Times, Vol. 4
Ordering Information
Also now available in
single copy subscription.

Learners on the Autism Spectrum
Learners on the Autism Spectrum:
Preparing Highly Qualified Educators

Editors:Kari Dunn Buron and Pamela Wolfberg Ph.D.
Ordering Information

Book Reviews & Links


The Social Times Curriculum | Reviews
Learners on the Autism Spectrum - Second Edition Review

Autism Society of America Book Reviews
More on The Incredible 5-Point Scale | More on When My Worries Get Too Big!
Reviews and More on A 5 is Against the Law! | How to Use A 5 Could Make Me Lose Control
General Resources | Related Links

The Social Times, Vol. 2
The Social Times Curriculum
Ordering Information
View details and reviews.

The Social Times Curriculum

Set includes:
3 Student Books
1 Teacher Book
1 Curriculum Guide
USB drive with downloadable materials

Using a magazine format in full color and standard columns within each chapter, The Social Times Curriculum is written directly to students in an engaging "voice," aimed at teaching social cognition and emotional regulation in an enjoyable way that increases students' motivation and encourages peer interaction. The Social Times Curriculum set consists of three copies of The Social Times Student Book, one copy of The Social Times Teacher Book, The Social Times Curriculum Guide, and a USB drive with downloadable materials. The Social Times Student Book is also available separately to supplement larger classes.

In each chapter, the main topic focuses on an area of social cognition that individuals across the autism spectrum, or with related social needs, might find confusing. All of the topics offer critical information for how to use social learning with peers and in the community, while making each lesson entertaining and applicable to today's students. The accompanying USB materials include word searches, crossword puzzles, quizzes, hand-outs, scales, and additional activities.

Within The Social Times Teacher Book, educators will find expansion topics, ideas for take-home work, benchmarks for the various topics, and tips for sensory activities and additional practice. While the curriculum is targeted toward students ages 8 through 13, The Social Times Teacher Book suggests ways to expand the topics for older students.

The Social Times Curriculum Guide explains the research and emerging neuroscience used in creating the curriculum, as well as how to use each section of the curriculum. By providing information about evidence-based practices and 21st Century Skills, The Social Times Curriculum Guide assists teachers in achieving the social and emotional goals of students with autism spectrum disorders.


"Kari Dunn Buron brings her considerable knowledge and expertise to bear on her most ambitious project to date, and the result is nothing short of dazzling! The Social Times Curriculum is comprehensive in scope, wide-ranging in its application across grade levels, and intelligently formatted to make maximal use of the predictability and repetition so essential to students who struggle with social understanding and expression. This must-have resource features an ingenious and multifaceted application of Ms. Buron's fabulous 5-Point Scale, as well as superb teaching tips designed to engage students and maximize social learning. Teachers and SLPs will love this gem, and if truth be told, so will parents!"

-Diane Twachtman-Cullen, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, author of How to be a Para Pro and The IEP from A to Z: How to Create Meaningful and Measurable Goals and Objectives

"The Social Times Curriculum provides special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, therapists, and social workers a complete package for the planning and implementation of social/emotional interventions aligned with Evidence-Based Practice guidelines. The versatility of this curriculum offers differentiation for intervention for individual students, small groups, and can be conducive for social/emotional learning at a school-wide level. Teachers can effortlessly plan a year's worth of social/emotional topics with this single resource. Each chapter topic can serve the "anchor" for the weekly learning targets and the "Try It" suggestions as well as the "Teaching Tip" guidelines are designed to engage students in a variety of learning modalities. The Social Times provides an opportunity to directly teach social/emotional skills through a literacy lens. The magazine format offers a platform for students to use reading, speaking/listening and written language skills to also improve peer interaction, social engagement, self-regulation and executive function skills." -Jill D. Kuzma, M.A., CCC-SLP, speech-language pathologist

"The original Social Times magazine was my favorite resource for teachers and parents to share with their middle and high school teenagers. Kari Dunn Buron has now compiled the best 25 issues into a single curriculum that addresses these critical concepts for students who struggle with social and emotional understanding. The Social Times Curriculum, which is fun and easy to use, contains short stories, cartoons, crossword puzzles and tips that helps students learn about relationships, emotions and themselves. All materials are included! No specialized training required! It is wonderful." -Kathleen Ann Quill, Ed.D., BCBA-D Autism Institute, Essex, Massachusetts Author of international bestseller DO-WATCH-LISTEN-SAY: Social and communication intervention for children with autism. (2nd edition in press)


Learner's on the Autism Spectrum cover imageLearner's on the Autism Spectrum: Preparing Highly Qualified Educators. Second Edition (2014)
This Second Edition of the best selling textbook has been updated and expanded with a focus on perspectives of evidence based practice, as well as advancement in the field of ASD. In an effort to provide a textbook for educators who serve students on the autism spectrum, this text has highlighted points of research, training and practice that are essential to effective teaching. This much anticipated Second Edition has added three chapters: A discussion about Evidence Based Practice; Emotional Regulation; and Harnessing the Power of Special Interest Areas in the Classroom.

The first edition of this text proved to be beneficial to a wide audience (professionals and parents) and most importantly has been adopted for introductory courses on ASD by teacher preparation and related professional programs at universities and other institutions of higher education.

Based on the premise that successful teaching is rooted in understanding and experience, the revised volume responds to the critical need to prepare teachers with foundational knowledge and practical skills for educating diverse learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Specifically, this volume brings together leading experts from the field of ASD (i.e., researchers, educators and related professionals, parents and individuals with ASD) to provide an up-to-date textbook that translates state-of-the-art theory and research into effective and meaningful practice. The text covers a range of topics and themes while offering a cross-disciplinary perspective drawing from child development/psychology, speech, language and communication, occupational therapy, socio-cultural anthropology, medical/biological as well as education.

Table of Contents

About the Editors


Chapter Reviewers

Carol Gray


Overview of Textbook Features

Chapter 1:
From Autism Theory to Evidence-Based Practice: Tenets of Competent, Humanistic, and Meaningful Support
Pamela Wolfberg and Kari Dunn Buron

Chapter 2:
An Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Tony Attwood

Chapter 3:
Brain-Behavior Connections in Autism
Nancy J. Minshew and Diane L. Williams

Chapter 4:
Getting a Good Start: Effective Practices in Early Intervention
Ilene S. Schwartz and Bonnie J. McBride

Chapter 5:
Symbolic Communication: Common Pathways and Points of Departure
Diane Twachtman-Cullen

Chapter 6:
Sensory Processing: Identifying Patterns and Support Strategies
Winnie Dunn

Chapter 7:
Teaching a Different Way of Behaving: Positive Behavior Supports
Cathy Pratt

Chapter 8:
Fostering Play, Imagination, and Friendships With Peers: Creating a Culture of Social Inclusion
Pamela Wolfberg, Heather McCracken, and Tara Tuchel

Chapter 9:
Social Thinking: Cognition to Enhance Communication and Learning
Michelle Garcia Winner

Chapter 10:
Emotional Regulation
Kari Dunn Buron and Brenda Smith Myles

Chapter 11:
TEACCH: Structured Teaching and Environmental Supports
Victoria Shea and Gary B. Mesibov

Chapter 12:
Harnessing the Power of Special Interest Areas in the Classroom
Mary Ann Winter-Messiers
Chapter 13:
Systemizing Emotions: Using Interactive Multimedia as a Teaching Tool
Ofer Golan and Simon Baron-Cohen

Chapter 14:
Supporting the Transition Years
Brenda Smith Myles, Sheila Smith, and Terri Cooper Swanson

Chapter 15:
The Education Team: Positive, Effective Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Paula Jacobsen

Chapter 16:
Growing up With Autism: One Parent's Perspective
Julie Donnelly

Chapter 17:
Educational Experiences Across the Lifespan: A Personal Perspective
Stephen Shore


Appendix A: Chapter Review Answers

Appendix B: Glossary

"Adalyn's Clare"
reviewed by Jennifer Twachtman-Bassett, M.S., CCC-SLP, Spring 2013 issue of Autism Spectrum Quarterly
Download this review
.PDF format - 246 Kb

"Adalyn's Clare" is a sweet book with a message for children who struggle with anxiety: Fear is big. Fear is real. But it is not everything. And it is not everything you are. I read this book alongside my six-year-old Asperkid (and animal lover). He thoroughly adored hearing perspectives contributed by animals, and the respect the author showed the title character, Adalyn, a girl whose anxiety and social challenges often overwhelm her. The notable lack of condescention was headtily appreciated. For example, my favorite elements included the humility of a teacher who, first critical of the child, eventually recognizes in her his very own social challenges. This is something I've actually witnessed in real life, and which I will never forget. Best of all is the proactive mission of Clare, the service dog, who sets out to find Adalyn "a pack" of disconnected kids she can befriend. This important directive is one I hope humans will adopt. Charming, endearing and (ironically?) humanizing, Adalyn's Clare is a story I have already shared and certainly will again.

Jennifer O'Toole
Temple Grandin Award Winner
CEO, Asperkids LLC
Author, "Asperkids: An Insider's Guide to Loving, Understanding, and Teaching Children with Asperger Syndrome" and the Asperkids series

Autism Society of America Book Reviews:

The Incredible 5-Point Scale: The Significantly Improved and Expanded Second Edition; Assisting students in understanding social interactions and controlling their emotional responses
The Incredible 5-Point Scale: The Significantly Improved and Expanded Second Edition; Assisting students in understanding social interactions and controlling their emotional responses
Ordering Information

When My  Worries Get Too Big
When My Worries Gets Too Big
Ordering Information

The Incredible 5-Point Scale outlines a remarkable strategy geared toward higher-functioning children in a variety of situations. Buron and Curtis were struck with the idea to write the book while working with a five year old boy with Asperger's Disorder who, when speaking, always used a loud voice. Together, they taught him to equate his voice with a number scale. Over time, he learned that his loudest voice was a "5", being quiet was a "1" and that using a "2 or 3" level voice was most appropriate.

The 1-5 scale system is applicable for a variety of behaviors and responses to behaviors, including feelings of anxiety, obsessions, concepts of personal space and feelings of anger. The book includes stories suitable to be read to a child, visual scales and tips on how to implement the particular scale. I found the book to be a very comprehensive teaching tool.

When My Worries Get Too Big is the companion book that also uses a 1-5 scale system. It is written from the perspective of a child to explain that, when he is calm and happy, his autism is a "1", but when overwhelmed or upset, his autism "gets too big" and is a "5". Throughout the book, there are blank spaces for the child to draw. It is a wonderful tool that features a simple-to-use strategy that can help children with autism spectrum disorders successfully understand and cope with their own behavioral challenges in a positive, supportive fashion.

More on The Incredible 5-Point Scale:

I use this every day!, August 13, 2005
Reviewer: Tara Tuchel (Hudson, WI USA) - See all my reviews

This book is fantastic! The authors share their incredible insight into how to help children on the autism spectrum communicate using numbers instead of words. The information in the book is practical and easy to use. I use 5 point scales in my classroom evey single day to teach volume and body control. My students are learning self-regulation! Many thanks to the authors for sharing their discovery!

Five Stars for Five Point Scale, July 23, 2005
Reviewer: Kristi A. Sakai (Oregon) - See all my reviews

The concept in this book is one of those that makes you say, "Well YEAH, DUH." Because it's so simple and workable you wished you'd thought of it yourself! The basic premise is any behavior goal you want to work on with a child can be addressed in a five point scale. I'll give my son as an example. He yells like a maniac...when he's just talking in his normal voice. This drives me CRAZY. So, his scale is 5: I'm being kidnapped, or I'm just having a really, really, really good time on the playground OUTSIDE. 4. Loud play, but not ear piercing. 3. NORMAL INSIDE VOICE (my favorite) 2. Shhhh, whisper and 1. SILENCE (okay, I fibbed, many times THIS is my favorite.) It can also be used for expressing how the CHILD is FEELING. Anxiety levels, fear levels. The idea is that you can address many different issues whether at home or school, it gives clear examples, reproducable sheets and it's an easy concept for teachers, parents and kids to understand. I also love the companion book "When My Autism Gets Too Big", which I highly recommend for kids (and for the adults who care about them.) Incidentally, while the examples in the book are color coded and they are ingeneious ways to implement them in the school and classroom--as a parent I think that there's a reason gave me FIVE FINGERS! The Incredible Five Point Scale of course!! When I hold up three fingers, my son's voice automatically lowers because it's his signal to go DOWN on the scale.

More on When My Worries Get Too Big!

Excellent For Everyone!, August 5, 2005
Reviewer: Bobbie A. Freeman "Aunt Bobbie" (PA) - See all my reviews

This book is really great to share not only with my spectrum kids but with siblings as well. I bought this book to use with my nephew with high functioning autism. I also use this book with the many other children I work with as a Behavior Consultant. This book is a useful tool to utilize to assist with those "moments" we experience with our kids. MUST BUY!!!
Aunt Bobbie

Awesome book, June 16, 2005
Reviewer: M. Sloan (Fargo, ND USA) - See all my reviews

My 8 year old son with pdd-nos has claimed this book as his own. We had to read it three times the night it arrived. I wish we'd had this book years ago!

This book teaches calming techniques in the form of a social story, written from the first person. "Now my autism is at a level 5, and it's time to fight back!" so it's easier for my child to incorporate. My son was practicing calming last night, something he's NEVER attempted before.

If you have a child (especially autistic) under age 10 who tends to have violent tantrums, you need this book. Be sure you get one for each autistic kid, as there are activities at the end for the child to describe how they feel at each level.

Speaks to ASD Children in a Way They Can Understand, May 21, 2005
Reviewer: Kristi A. Sakai (Oregon) - See all my reviews

I am the mother of three children with autism spectrum disorder. I first read this book about a year ago, along with its companion The Incredible Five Point Scale. Initially my intent was merely to use it with my then four year old child with ASD and she did respond remarkably to it. But I was further surprised to discover my older children then aged 9 and 12 were drawn to it too. They asked ME to go over it with them. On their own they individually said to me, "I need a scale for..." For the older son he said, "Mama, you're always telling me to be quiet (he has a BOOMING VOICE even when whispering), maybe I need to learn how to use a lower number for my voice." When My Autism Gets Too Big shows insight into the asd child's world--what he can feel good about and what is hard for him. It doesn't whitewash the difficulties, or downplay them,but at the same time it doesn't make them seem insurmountable. Then it lays out in a very easy to understand way--for example, the levels of stress a child has, what it might look like, how it feels for him, and what to do about it. It gives a clear concise way to not only judge where the child is at--for himself and for his caregivers,but a tool to figure out where to go next. It can be used is such a broad variety of ways, you can use it to address any behavior goal you have with your child. My child with the loud voice, for example: Five is screaming like he's dying (emergency voice), Four is yelling while playing outside, Three is a "normal" speaking voice, Two is whispering and One is completely quiet--no words. Reading this book with my children was the catalyst for making it okay to develop this type of program for each of them for their very different needs, and it has been incredibly effective. Plus,Kari Dunn Buron's illustrations are so gosh darn cute, but more than that they are remarkably expressive. It amazes me that she is able to convey such clear emotions, while at the same time having an almost affectionate humor about the reality of life with an ASD child. The pictures alone, program aside, are worth the purchase of this book. Once read I have donated nearly every book on ASD I have ever purchased to our local therapy center...but I can't part with this one. It is already well worn and much loved. I have pulled it off the shelf many times when one of my kids has a recognizable expression of distress and when I point to the corresponding picture, they often react with relief. I can show them without having to verbally express it, where they are at, and they are glad to be able to see it for themselves. An excellent tool. I also highly recommend buying The Incredible Five Point Scale, which elaborates on this concept and gives many more ideas on how to implement them. Both are excellent for use in both school and home. Incidentally--often ASD parents have their hands full enough without having to manage more visual aides, my philosophy is that's why God must have given us FIVE fingers, so we can use them to show our kid where they are on the Five Point Scale. My digits are regularly used for this purpose.

A 5 Is Against The Law!An excerpt from: A 5 is Against the Law!

One of the interesting and sometimes confusing things about social behavior is that when you are young, you might do something that people consider a #2 behavior - that is, something that is perfectly acceptable. But, then when you are a little older, that same behavior turns into a #3 - a little odd.

One example of this is a friend of mine (we'll call him Fred), who likes hair. He loves the way it feels and the way it smells. When Fred was in elementary school, he used to touch other students' hair. Sometimes, if he was behind someone waiting in line to go to recess or to get a drink of water, he would lean his head towards the person and smell his or her hair. People thought this was a little weird, but nobody was really afraid of him. Fred was just a little boy, so everyone thought the behavior was just a #3 (a little odd).

When Fred started middle school, he still liked to smell hair, so he would look for opportunities to get as close as possible to someone else's hair. One day, he put his face really close to a girl's hair, and she screamed! Not only that, she told the principal and her parents that Fred was harassing her by scaring her. The principal agreed that Fred's behavior, once considered a #3, had now become a #4 - truly scary and possibly against the law.

How Can I Use This Book?

This is a workbook designed to be used in Social Skills groups or counseling sessions. The book is written in the "voice" of a logical, black and white thinker. Information about personal boundaries and relationships is delivered through easy to read scenarios, a 5-point scale to better understand the concepts involved, and an activity to do in the group or with a support person.

Glowing Comments about A 5 is Against the Law!

"This is a great practical guide that will facilitate insight into social conventions and regulations. As a result of completing the activities, a person with ASD will be better able to avoid causing offense or getting into trouble with the law. Kari's excellent program will be used with people who have high-functioning autism and Asperger Syndrome in our clinic in Australia."

Tony Attwood, PhD., Clinical Psychologist
The Asperger's Syndrome Clinic
Brisbane, Australia


"This is an exciting book that makes a lot of sense for students who have issues with social boundaries as well as their teachers/caregivers. Kari Dunn Buron has a special knack for teaching abstract concepts to students while making them accountable for their responses in the complex world around them. By applying the 5-point scale across a range of situations, Kari shows how others' perspectives and the 'hidden curriculum' can alter the perceived severity of our students' responses, including how a response can shift from being "odd" to being illegal. This is a very powerful supplement to The Incredible 5-Point Scale (Buron & Curtis). It is one of the few products available that target adolescents and adults with social cognitive deficits, a population that is screaming out for more guidance."

Michelle Garcia Winner
Speech-language Pathologist and specialist for persons with social cognitive deficits and author of numerous books on social skills and social thinking


How to Use A 5 Could Make Me Lose Control

A "5" Could Make Me Lose Control!This is an activity designed to prompt student input regarding his or her own stressors. There are 5 pockets, each labeled with a number and a face illustrating that #1 represents situations that are no problem; #2 represents situations that are OK but sometimes bother me; #3 represents situations that make me a little nervous; #4 represents situations that could make me really upset or angry; #5 is an explosion, a complete meltdown. There are cards for a variety of environments or situations. The teacher, parent or therapist sits with the person and offers them one card at a time to put in the appropriate pocket.

Some of the cards are blank so you can individualize the cards. There are cards for home and school.

Here are some good strategies for using the activity:

1. This is an activity to do when everyone is calm.
2. Be sure to use easy cards in the beginning. This that you are pretty sure will be at a #1 or #2. This will help get the activity started.
3. Do not try to use all of the cards (that could get boring!) but use enough of the cards to hopefully get at some of the problems.
4. This activity should feel good, not judgmental. Avoid words like good and bad.

The Outcome:

  1. Once you have completed the interaction, record the situations on one of the provided charts. This piece of paper can become a part of the person's Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and the outcome of the activity should be mentioned in the findings of the FBA.

  2. Use the information in the following way:

    • if a situation is rated as a 1 or 2, then these are times that may not need as much support.

    • situations rated at a 1 or 2 should be evaluated to see what about them makes it easier for the person to function well.

    • situations rated at a 3 should be highlighted and "red flagged" as times when everyone should recognize that the person is having a rough day. These are times that the person might need increased support.

    • situations rated at a 4 or a 5 are really serious situations. These situations could cause extreme disruption and even result in a person's suspension from school or getting fired from a job. When someone is at a 4 or 5 they are probably not thinking clearly so it is the worse time to teach. Any behavior plan should clearly provide support for the person during these times.

General Resources:

Creating the Optimal Environment for a Kid with ADHD

Suggested Classroom Interventions for Children with ADD & Learning Disabilities

The Life-Changing Impact of Autism Service Dogs

Addressing Special Education Needs for Students Learning English as a Second Language

22 Tips for Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

50 Must-See Blogs for Special Education Teachers

The Ultimate Guide to Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers of Children with Autism

Teaching Your Child About Peers with Special Needs

Teaching College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism and Addiction: Coping with and Treating Your Dual Diagnosis

Choosing a College: Planning for Teens with ADD

College Resources for Students with Disabilities

Home schooling Jenny Wise:

Related Links:

Tony Attwood

Autism Asperger Digest

Autism Asperger Publishing Company

Autism Awareness Centre

Autism Society of America

Autism Society of Minnesota

Autistic Society of Trinidad and Tobago

James Coplan (Making Sense of Autistic Spectrum Disorders)

Gentle Teaching

Ross Greene

Hamline University

I CAN project

Lori Lite / Lite Books

National Autistic Society UK

National Center for Autism Resources & Education (nCARE)


Michelle Garcia Winner

Pamela Wolfberg

Stress Free Kids


Back to the Top

Stuff About Kari | Book Descriptions, Reviews & Links | More Sweet Scale Ideas
Kari's Blog | Other Projects | Home
Copyright © 2015 The Incredible 5-Point Scale, Kari Dunn Buron