Books and Reviews

I am starting out listing books that I have read because our grandson is on the autism spectrum. Before our grandson was diagnosed, I thought autism was a rare condition and was restricted to cases where children could not speak and acted out radically. Upon researching the condition, I found that first it isn’t rare. In fact, now one in 45 children are diagnosed with autism and in 1970 it was one in ten thousand.

The second thing we found out was that there is truly a spectrum with low functioning and high functioning on the ends of the spectrum. Our grandson is fortunately on the high functioning end of the spectrum, although has the typical challenges with social interaction.

Knowing how to respond to this diagnosis and providing the best care and therapy for the child can only be gained from research and trial and error. At least that is our experience as a family. When ABA therapy was recommended, we enrolled him into a program that specialized in it. We could see the value while sitting in the room with the specialist and our grandson. Methods of direction and reinforcement were used that helped us learn how to help him at home.

Reading books about other family’s experiences have been very helpful. The different diagnoses and treatments described in these books as well as the journey that the parents when through have been very helpful in keeping things in perspective and providing hope going forward. The three books listed here are in many ways different in approach but also similar in the journey. The parent’s attitude are key to learning how to deal with the challenge and providing the best environment for helping their children progress and achieve the best they can.

Even though I am highlighting and recommending these books, I think it would be best to start with watching the movie “Temple Grandin”. This is a true story about the life of a woman who became a very high achiever based on her ability to use her unique gifts to provide a revolutionary innovation in a very old industry. The movie shows the challenges and the opportunities to encourage children to follow their passions and use their unique talents in the marketplace.
Dancing with Max book cover image

Dancing with Max
by Emily Colson

This is a book written by Emily Colson, daughter of Chuck Colson, who tackles the challenges of raising her son Max after her husband leaves following Max’s diagnosis. Because of Max’s behavior in public, Emily becomes reclusive tending to her sons needs but avoiding embarrassing and disruptive public displays. She finds that Max is not even welcome at their church.

The book takes the reader through the journey for Max and for Emily in finding support, acceptance, and understanding that leads them to happiness.
A Child's Journey Out of Autism book cover

A Child's Journey
Out of Autism
by Leeann Whiffen

This book is about a mother’s refusal to except a diagnosis with low expectations for he son’s potential. Leeann and her husband commit their assets to doing every possible thing to overcome the symptoms of their son’s autism. If ABA therapy is recommended, then they hire a coach and train students to learn and administer that therapy on a daily program.

If gluten free diet is recommended, then they embrace that diet and make sure that their son only eats on that diet.

They embrace and employ any viable therapy they can identify and ultimately get their son to a point where he no longer has the diagnosis of autism.
Autism Life skills

Autism Life Skills
by Chantal Sicile-Kira

This book is written not only from the perspective of a mother but also includes dialog with older children and young adults with autism on how they learned to live and succeed with this condition.

“In a single publication, Chantal Sicile-Kira has sensitively combined personal interviews and the extensive literature highlighting personal perspectives into a thoughtful collection of comments that address topics ranging from sensory integration to employment. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who lives with, works with, or educates someone on the autism spectrum.” Dr. Cathy Pratt, chair of the board of directors for Autism Society of America and director of Indiana Resource Center for Autism.

Additional Resources

Britta Merwin Autism article

KPRC 2 meteorologist Britta Merwin shares her family's autism journey

Merwin recently sat down with moms raising children on the autism spectrum

Read the article

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Ashley Kress – Parent of a young adult with Down syndrome

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