What I know about autism. 1. It's hard. 2. There's hope: A story of fear and faith, meltdowns and mayhem, tea and tears. But mostly love.
What does Cecily Paterson know about autism? When her three year old son was diagnosed with autism, the answer was ‘nothing’. She didn’t know anything about it. At all.
Four years later, she knew a lot more. But it wasn’t just information from a book. Her knowledge was deeper than that. It delved into her heart and her emotions and her strength. Cecily’s son’s autism would turn her upside down and inside out. It would kick her in the guts and make her trade her pride for love. Real, gritty love that never takes no for an answer.
‘What I know about autism’ is the story of a mom and a kid and their quest to not just survive, but to thrive. With faith in God, an insatiable desire to find (and afford) the right therapy and the honesty to be able to say, ‘Hey, I’m not coping right now’, Cecily Paterson tells a story that will make parents of children with ASD feel like they are not alone. (Plus, she describes some of the more memorable meltdowns for you. Just in case there aren’t enough meltdowns in your life.)
Cecily is an autism parent who ‘gets it’. And who ‘tells it’. Just like it is. The hard bits are all here; the heartache, the difficulty in relationships, the depression, the anti-depressants, the floundering, crazy, ‘I-don’t-know-what-to-do’ feelings. The tears, the joys, the unrelenting desire to find a breakthrough for autism.
This book offers not only emotional support, but also practical information and resources to help you find your way through the jungle of diagnosis and therapy. The ‘hope’ part of it isn’t just pie in the sky. There are real things that can help your child, and Cecily outlines what they are, and why they work.
Paterson also answers these questions:
How much can you cope with?
Why do we avoid people who are a little bit different?
How do you really feel when you read 'Welcome to Holland'?
What will life be like for children with ASD when they grow up?
What's the future for siblings?
And she shares her straight to the point thoughts on topics such as
Other people's responses
The ‘admiration’ reaction
What an autistic child needs
Diet and the biomed approach
Depression for carers
The book gives a special mention to RDI, the Relationship Development Intervention program and includes a list of useful resources, books and websites.
Finally, in case you think this is just another story of a mom who’s tried hard but hasn’t made much progress, there’s an ‘Update’ chapter. Five years on, Cecily’s son is progressing so well that his doctor is hopeful he might even be able to ‘lose’ his ASD diagnosis in a few years.
A personal note from the author
After my son was diagnosed, I read everything about autism I could get my hands on, but I never found the book I really wanted. Some of it was technical and medical – textbook type stuff. And that was fine, but it didn’t hold my hand as I read it and say, ‘hey, I know how you feel. This is devastating stuff.’
Some books were stories of real people with real children with autism. But they all seemed so ‘nice’. They said things like, “I learn every day from my child,” and, “I wouldn’t want him any different,” or, “my child was miraculously healed.” And none of that seemed to hold my hand either. I didn’t feel nice, or courageous, or faith-filled. I just felt bad. And sad. And ashamed for not coping.
In the end, I never found the book I was looking for, so I wrote it. You’re looking at it right now.
I hope this book will be your friend and hold your hand as you go through all the things I went through. I know more about autism now. I know a lot of technical things. I know a lot of therapy things. But I can sum what I know up in two simple points.
1.It’s hard. I know that. You know that. Let me support you in your journey.
2.There’s hope. You might not see it, but let me show you the way. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, and I can see the good things ahead for you, if you keep going and don’t give up.
- Cecily Anne Paterson, December 2012
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