Voices from the Spectrum: Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, People with Autism, and Professionals Share Their Wisdom

Voices from the Spectrum: Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, People with Autism, and Professionals Share Their Wisdom

Voices from the Spectrum: Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, People with Autism, and Professionals Share Their Wisdom

Voices from the Spectrum: Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, People with Autism, and Professionals Share Their Wisdom

Synopsis

This compelling collection of personal accounts, from people on the autism spectrum and those who care for them, presents insights into autism from many different perspectives. The contributors describe their experiences, including reactions to diagnosis and childhood memories.

Excerpt

Is a diagnosis on the autism spectrum a puzzle to be solved, or is the child with the diagnosis someone to be embraced and accepted just as she is? As the editors of this collection of essays, drawing upon our professional and personal experiences, we firmly believe that both are essential—with many lessons to be learned.

For this book, parents, people with autism, close relatives, and professionals of various disciplines were invited to write about their experiences. We wanted to hear lessons of mind and heart culled from life and professional practice. The contributors were asked to address how autism has changed their lives in love and/or work, what they have learned, and what they would want others to know that might help them. We were interested in situations from the most mild to the most severe—from classic autism to Asperger's. We were deluged with hundreds of essays from many countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, Kuwait, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and many parts of the United States. We were faced with the unexpected and unwelcome task of rejecting many heartfelt and well-written accounts.

You will be reading 60 personal accounts of issues such as diagnosis, treatment options, and family relationships. While the journey of each person is unique, we wanted to pull together many accounts about individual turning points and personal evolution. As the number of new cases skyrockets around the world, the issues are many and complex including the causes of autism, the impact on families, the status of research, and the need for early diagnosis and intensive treatment. In 1980, the incidence of autism was 1 in 2000. In 2005, the incidence is in the vicinity of 1 in 200—a tenfold increase which experts agree cannot be accounted for by the changes in the diagnostic system alone.

As psychologists, we help families deal with the often treacherous emotional landscape once autism strikes. It's been called the [autism bomb.] People often spontaneously describe how the diagnosis of their child's autism was a bomb that exploded their hopes and dreams. The calendar of their lives was ripped off the wall and replaced by an uncertain future as . . .

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