Recently, I took the time to read "Autism Facts and Strategies for Parents" by Janice E. Janzen, M.S. I wanted to read this book because sometimes I get in the mindset of Speech-Language Pathology. It's important to take some steps back and look at the complete picture.
When I started this book I tried to place myself in the position of new mom who just found out that my child has Autism. I thought that this was a great starter book that would help me with finding more resources and a general good guide! Please note that I have no relation to this author and no one is paying me to write this review.
The book is a fairly quick read, it covers great information such as facts about Autism, becoming a strong advocate for your child, therapy options, educational intervention, and basic strategies. It also gives several outside resources to guide into continued research (which is great)!
Personally, I have been familiar with the diagnosis of Autism since I was a young girl. My cousin, Alex, (who is just 6 months younger than me) was diagnosed with Autism when he was young. I think a lot about Alex and his amazing parents (my uncle and aunt/godmother) everyday, especially when I'm working with my other kids with the diagnosis of Autism. I also thought about them when I read a particular passage of the book. Janice quoted a Dr. Wing "An autistic child can be helped only if a serious attempt is made to see the world from his point of view..." (Wing 1980, Foreword). This is very true, if we keep the mind set of our own when working with a child with Autism then I guarantee little and/or slow progress will be made.
A perfect example of this is just the other day I was working with one of my kids, he requested to play with a puzzle via pointing to a picture, when I brought the puzzle forward he began to hit himself, I assumed that he made the wrong choice and that his association of the picture of the puzzle to the actual activity of the puzzle was not 100% yet. So we started the requesting process over again. The patient again pointed to the puzzle, again I brought the puzzle forward and again he began to hit himself. The patient's mother than said "maybe he thinks that he won't get to do the puzzle because the pieces are still in it." Once I removed the puzzle pieces the hitting stop and the patient was able to participate in requesting for more puzzle pieces to complete the puzzle. The patient's mother demonstrated the amazing ability to see from her son's point of view!
Within this book the author goes into details of "Guidelines for being a Parent Advocate". I think these guidelines can be carried over to any diagnosis...
1. Educate yourself about autism
2. Seek help from a professional advisor or advocate
3. Locate a parent support group
4. Take care of yourself and your family
5. Organize your child's life
6. Set priorities and ask for help
7. Keep track. Start a file
8. Forgive yourself
For more details into these guidelines check the book out!
I especially enjoyed the authors review into early intervention programs, terminology that parents are most likely going to come across, and behavior and therapy techniques. Because of the early intervention program review in this book I'm planning on doing some more research and possibly developing a more concrete program for where I work currently.
This was a nice graph the author included reviewing behaviors. Just today I had one of my children with a diagnosis of Autism go into "Crisis Level" during TX.
Finally, I loved the authors advocacy for communication (of course I am a bit biased being a SLP and all). The author wrote so eloquently, "Many parents fear that if their child is taught to use gestures, signs, or pictures to communicate, he will never learn to talk. This is just not so. We now know that verbal communication often begins to develop once a child learns to communicate in whatever way is easiest."
All in all I think this is a great book. If you have questions or comments please leave them!!