Meeting Martha Gabler, author of Chaos to Calm

This week I’d like to welcome the author Martha Gabler to the hotseat to explain more about the book she has written, Chaos to  Calm: Discovering Solutions to the Everyday Problems of Living with Autism. In the book Martha Gabler discovered that effective solutions really did exist for the overwhelming behavior problems of her own son with profoundly nonverbal, severe autism.

Chaos to CalmThe Review

I have no experience of autism, either with a member of the family or with anyone I know and I was concerned that I’d not be able to ‘understand’ how the book might work. However, what I found was a great insight into what autism is and how it impacts on both the individual and wider world around them.

What Martha has shown is that finding the right way to communicate is as much about ‘training’ as it is about communication skills. It also shows that the parenting of such children is remarkably similar to the parenting of so called ‘normal’ children as well, in that positive reinforcement works.

The Martha Gabler Interview

martha gablerWhat is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?

As a child, I loved my parents’ stories about how things were done in the olden days.  One of my favorite pastimes was to write letters with a quill pen (a ballpoint with a feather attached) and seal the letters with sealing wax.  I had red and blue sealing wax, and sometimes combined them to create a purple seal.

How did you choose a title for your book?

The title of my book is Chaos to Calm, and I chose it because it describes our experience.  The dreadful early years of dealing with my son’s autism were chaotic in countless ways.  After learning about scientific methods and how to apply them with my son in our home, he became increasingly calm, and our family life improved greatly.

What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?

The biggest challenge is always finding an hour or two of uninterrupted time when I still have some mental energy.  My son is now 17 years old.  Although he is much improved, he still requires a lot of time and interaction.  Also, we are starting to look at the transition years and have to make preparations for his future, including legal guardianship.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from my son, and from seeing the change in him over the years. His eagerness to learn and participate in the good things of life is very touching.  He can do a lot now, our family can do much more, and we are all much happier than in the early years.  We have had a good outcome with him, and there is nothing magical about this.  It was the result of hard work and knowledge and, please note, not money.  In particular, knowledge about the principles of behavioral science was the most important factor.  The method I discuss in the book, Teaching with Acoustical Guidance, describes the key parts of this body of science and how to apply them to common problems of living with autism.  It is exciting to share information about an effective, scientific method that is easy to learn, easy to do and very low cost.

What was the most important thing you learned at school? 

How to read.  How to integrate information from disparate sources and apply it to novel situations.

Do you have any favourite resources you would like to share with our readers? 

Yes.  I would like to refer readers to the body of scientific study known as behavioral science.  This body of science gave rise to the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which led to the development of successful, research-validated approaches to learning.  In the autism community, we have the well-known therapies of ABA and VB (Verbal Behavior therapy) and now, I hope, Teaching with Acoustical Guidance.  In the education community, it has given rise to the very successful methods of Direct Instruction and Precision Teaching.  These are wonderful tools to increase learning and functional skills, and I hope readers will look into them.


Where can you find out more about Martha and buy Chaos to Calm?

Chaos to Calm is available in Kindle and Paperback format from and And you can meet Martha in the following places online:


Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?

These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.

If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here:

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  1. Hello!
    I’m interested in this subject, as I work with disabled adults, several of whom have autism. I’ve been reading a lot about the experience of autism over the past months, and it’s helpful in ensuring more meaningful connections with our students who have autism. I think I would have liked a little more information about the assumptions and techniques proposed in the book, with maybe a case study illustration. Or is that too much to ask for in a short review? Anyhow, I shall look out Martha’s book and check out her blog. Robyn Steward, a trainer with Asperger’s, has just published a book called “The Independent Woman’s Handbook for Super Safe Living on the Autistic Spectrum” and I’m looking forward to reading that too! It’s published by Jessica Kingsley Publications.

    All the best,