I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
I have three daughters, and two of them are on the autism spectrum. They are high functioning, and sometimes, people in our community are unaware of the diagnosis because the girls often “present” as neurotypical. This is, perhaps, not the blessing that it might appear to be, because meltdowns and other displays of frustration can be jarring to people who are not close enough with us to know about their diagnoses.
We are grateful to live in a town with a wonderful school system. The teachers we have worked with have extensive knowledge and experience with children on the autism spectrum. On my oldest daughter’s first day of kindergarten, she got up from the table to speak to a friend at the next table. She was not aware of the rule about staying in her seat. The next day, her BLA (behavior learning assistant) provided her with a laminated paper with the cafeteria rules.
This is exactly the sort of thing that authors Cornelia Pelzer Elwood and D. Scott McLeod are hoping to foster with their new book Take Charge of Treatment for Your Child with Asperger’s (ASD). By the end of the book, you should be able to create a personalized roadmap/guide tailored to your child’s unique situation.
I enjoyed the anecdotes that Elwood shared about her son Alexander. She found that things ran smoothly if Alexander received advanced notice of a situation, and what the expectations were regarding his behavior. She also worked hard to encourage independence, with acute awareness of the goal for him to be living on his own when he reaches adulthood.
The book is comprised of categories that cover all aspects of life, from school to community settings to new life situations (moving or the acquisition of a new pet) to visitors coming to the house. Each chapter is broken down into bulleted lists and even Social Stories that can be customized to fit your child’s situation.
There is an expression that states if you have met one child on the spectrum, then you have met one child on the spectrum. The point being, there may be some similarities that multiple children share, but autism manifests itself very differently from child to child. I have seen this with my own two ASD children; their personalities are very different, and things that bother one child do not even register with the other.
With that in mind, I was especially grateful for the section at the beginning that broke down facets that can be affected by autism. Now, this is now my first rodeo; my oldest daughter was diagnosed almost six years ago- but there were terms in this book that I was not familiar with. For example, I learned that my oldest daughter’s tendency to write too lightly (and thus illegibly) was a manifestation of proprioceptive under responsivity. I do not have difficulty advocating for my daughters, but now that I know the specific ways in which autism affects their learning, I can be a better advocate.
I would absolutely recommend Take Charge of Treatment for Your Child with Asperger’s (ASD). Some of this information may be obvious to the seasoned autism parent, and I also suppose that much of the information can be found in other books. But the reason that this book is worth getting is that all the information is in one place, and presented in easy to read bulleted lists. This book is great for parents who are relatively new to the diagnosis, but there is still plenty to offer the seasoned professionals who have been through the IEP meeting circus.