The World of the Autistic Child: Understanding and Treating Autistic Spectrum Disorders

By Bryna Siegel | Go to book overview

Afterword

My purpose in writing this book has been to help parents, caregivers, and teachers of children with autistic spectrum disorders to cope better with the disabilities they confront. The single greatest difficulty in writing this book has been in making "autism" and "PDD" real for each reader. The child or children each reader will have in mind will be different. Not all children with autism have the same constellation of symptoms. In addition, each autistic child, just like each child who is not autistic, has a unique personality that is his or her own. I hope you will think about what you have read here and realize that some information will not pertain now, and may never pertain to your child. Try to make sense of the parts that do ring true, and don't worry about the rest.

For most parents, "autism" is a word they've rarely even heard before someone starts suggesting their child may be autistic. Faced with a great unknown, reading helps make autism real. Once something becomes real through words, we feel we can begin to take effective action. Reading about autism, therefore, is a form of coping. The more coping you can do, the better. Read, meet doctors, ask questions, meet teachers, observe classrooms, watch therapists work with your child. Get ideas from wherever you can. Use those around you as resources. Don't hesitate to get others to help you understand how your own observations and theories about your child fit into what they say. In certain ways, a parent or a teacher who is with anautistic child daily is more of an expert on that particular child than any "autism expert."

If you read this, and you do feel your child may be autistic, and you haven't sought professional help yet, please do it. The earlier we can intervene, the more hope there is. If a child is autistic, even mildly autistic or your child is suspected of having a mild developmental disorder, it won't go away on its own. It can't hurt to get help.

The emotional stress of parenting a child with a disability can be nearly

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