That's Life with Autism: Tales and Tips for Families with Autism

That's Life with Autism: Tales and Tips for Families with Autism

That's Life with Autism: Tales and Tips for Families with Autism

That's Life with Autism: Tales and Tips for Families with Autism


That's Life with Autism brims with tips and inspiration and is written by parents and professionals for parents and professionals caring for children on the autism spectrum. Chapters offer snapshots of common experiences shared by many who live with autism, from practical issues like education, diet, and intervention options, to more personal subjects like faith and humor. The book is full of thought-provoking questions that offer the reader a chance to reflect on their own situation.


Out of the corner of my eye I noticed my husband's college newspaper lying open on the table. I skimmed the classified section with interest:

My name is Sarah. I am 4 years old and have autism.

Therapist needed for aba program, flexible hours.

No experience necessary (will train). $9/hour.

Little did I suspect that the decision to answer the advertisement would change my life as I knew it. To me, at first, it was just a part-time job to pay the bills and keep my foot in the door of my profession. I thought I could drive to work, spend a couple of hours doing drills that someone else created and go home to be with my new baby—no responsibilities beyond the front door, no strings attached. There was no contract and I could leave whenever I wanted.

By the end of my first week at work I was hooked. Helping Sarah taught me a whole new way of looking at the world. When I arrived I didn't know the first thing about autism. My knowledge was limited to a horrible black-and-white film from the 1960s that I had watched in an Abnormal Psychology class as an undergraduate; it included footage of a boy repeatedly banging his head on a wall. Thanks to Jamie, Sarah's mother, my limited vocabulary soon included terms like Lovaas, thimerosal and casein. Catherine Maurice became my hero, as I'm sure she did for many of you, too. I also learned the correct use of prompting, reinforcers, and restraints.

More importantly, though, I didn't just feel like an employee—I felt like a member of the family. Through our conversations at the beginning and end of each session Jamie grew to be like a mother, sister, best friend, educator and mentor rolled in to one. in return I listened to her concerns about the therapy program, the school system, and her hopes and fears for Sarah. With my limited experience dealing with autism I wished I could do more, but I didn't know how.

I spent the next two years doing everything I could to keep the program going and ensure that Sarah received consistent therapy at home. Thinking up new drills, training therapists and ultimately hiring other therapists were . . .

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