Diary of a Crazy Woman: One Womans Fight to Help Her Son With Autism Find a Place in the World

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Other times, it may be better for you and your child if you use that time to take care of yourself. As a result of her work with many families who deal so gracefully with the challenges of autism, Family Therapist, Kathryn Smerling, Ph. Learn to be the best advocate you can be for your child. Be informed. Take advantage of all the services that are available to you in your community. You will meet practitioners and providers who can educate you and help you. You will gather great strength from the people you meet.

Don't push your feelings away. Talk about them. You may feel both ambivalent and angry. Those are emotions to be expected. It's OK to feel conflicting emotions. Try to direct your anger towards the disorder and not towards your loved ones. When you find yourself arguing with your spouse over an autism related issue, try to remember that this topic is painful for both of you; and be careful not to get mad at each other when it really is the autism that has you so upset and angry.

Try to have some semblance of an adult life. Be careful to not let autism consume every waking hour of your life. Spend quality time with your typically developing children and your spouse, and refrain from constantly talking about autism. Everyone in your family needs support, and to be happy despite the circumstances. Appreciate the small victories your child may achieve.

Love your child and take great pride in each small accomplishment. Focus on what they can do instead of making comparisons with a typically developing child. Love them for who they are rather than what they should be. Get involved with the Autism community. You may be the captain of your team, but you can't do everything yourself. Make friends with other parents who have children with autism.

By meeting other parents you will have the support of families who understand your day to day challenges. Getting involved with autism advocacy is empowering and productive. You will be doing something for yourself as well as your child by being proactive. Remember that you are not alone! Every family is confronted with life's challenges… and yes, autism is challenging… but, if you look closely, nearly everyone has something difficult to face in their families.

Be proud of your brother or sister. Learn to talk about autism and be open and comfortable describing the disorder to others. If you are comfortable with the topic…they will be comfortable too. If you are embarrassed by your brother or sister, your friends will sense this and it will make it awkward for them. If you talk openly to your friends about autism, they will become comfortable. But, like everyone else, sometimes you will love your brother or sister, and sometimes you will hate them. It's okay to feel your feelings.

And, often it's easier when you have a professional counselor to help you understand them — someone special who is here just for you! Love your brother or sister the way they are. While it is OK to be sad that you have a brother or sister affected by autism it doesn't help to be upset and angry for extended periods of time. Your anger doesn't change the situation; it only makes you unhappier. Remember your Mom and Dad may have those feelings too. Spend time with your Mom and Dad alone. Doing things together as a family with and without your brother or sister strengthens your family bond.

It's OK for you to want alone time. Having a family member with autism can often be very time consuming, and attention grabbing. You need to feel important too. Remember, even if your brother or sister didn't have autism, you would still need alone time with Mom and Dad. Find an activity you can do with your brother or sister. You will find it rewarding to connect with your brother or sister, even if it is just putting a simple puzzle together.

No matter how impaired they may be, doing something together creates a closeness. They will look forward to these shared activities and greet you with a special smile. Family members have a lot to offer. Each family member is able to offer the things they have learned to do best over time. Ask how you can be helpful to your family. Your efforts will be appreciated whether it means taking care of the child so that the parents can go out to dinner, or raising money for the special school that helps your family's child.

Organize a lunch, a theatre benefit, a carnival, or a card game. It will warm your family's hearts to know that you are pitching in to create support and closeness. Seek out your own support. If you find yourself having a difficult time accepting and dealing with the fact that your loved one has autism, seek out your own support. Your family may not be able to provide you with that kind of support so you must be considerate and look elsewhere.

In this way you can be stronger for them, helping with the many challenges they face. Be open and honest about the disorder. The more you talk about the matter, the better you will feel. Your friends and family can become your support system…but only if you share your thoughts with them. It may be hard to talk about it at first, but as time goes on it will be easier. In the end your experience with autism will end up teaching you and your family profound life lessons. Put judgment aside. Consider your family's feelings and be supportive.

Respect the decisions they make for their child with autism. They are working very hard to explore and research all options, and are typically coming to well thought out conclusions. Try not to compare children this goes for typically developing kids as well. Children with autism can be brought up to achieve their personal best.

Learn more about Autism. It affects people of all social and economic standing. There is promising research, with many possibilities for the future. Share that sense of hope with your family while educating yourself about the best ways to help manage this disorder. Carve out special time for each child.

You can enjoy special moments with both typically developing family members and the family member with autism. Yes, they may be different but both children look forward to spending time with you. Children with autism thrive on routines, so find one thing that you can do together that is structured, even if it is simply going to a park for fifteen minutes. If you go to the same park every week, chances are over time that activity will become easier and easier…it just takes time and patience.

If you are having a difficult time trying to determine what you can do, ask your family. They will sincerely appreciate that you are making. Asperger Syndrome Autism Facts and Figures. Associated Conditions Sensory Issues. Treatments Access Services Insurance. Autism Response Team. She has two sons with autism on opposite ends of the spectrum Jake and Jaxson , a husband who prefers hunting to household chores, an Australian Shepherd named Sugar, and an albino frog named Humbert Humbert.

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This is her story — a brash, personal, and some-times shocking memoir of one woman's determination to raise two healthy kids with autism and keep her sanity in the process. It's not always easy. Between "poop" incidents, temper tantrums, and the "helpful" advice about parenting from her fellow citizens in the grocery store, Jeni often finds herself wanting to throw something. Readers looking for laughter and inspiration will find it here aplenty, along with tons of surreal anecdotes that will have you either shaking your head in disbelief for those unacquainted with the world of autism or nodding with recognition for those who are.

A therapy dog can provide a range of benefits within school settings, such as improving a child's social skills, decreasing anxiety and improving cardiovascular health. This concise book covers everything staff need to know about introducing a therapy animal into a school environment. Giving the author's personal story of introducing her school's therapy puppy, it explains the practical issues and finances associated with doing so.

By sharing what she has learnt and discovered, the guide gives invaluable advice to teachers and other education professionals interested in Assisted Animal Therapy, such as how to choose the best dog for the setting, and how to introduce the puppy to staff, children and parents.

Various success stories are also given, depicting both expected and unexpected benefits that can arise from introducing a therapy dog. Suitable for both special education as well as mainstream settings, Introducing a School Dog is a perfect guide for successfully implementing a therapy dog into a school environment.

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At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What the! Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. Nevertheless, David devotes himself to improving his marriage with an endearing yet hilarious zeal that involves excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, the Journal of Best Practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies that result from self-reflection both comic and painful.

Frankie Lou remains in her childhood home, alone, after the death of her parents. Meet Mickey — charming, funny, compassionate, and autistic. From the double-blow of a subsequent epilepsy diagnosis, to bullying and Bar Mitzvahs, Mickey's struggles and triumphs along the road to adulthood are honestly detailed to show how one family learned to grow and thrive with autism. She was a beautiful doelike child, with an intense, graceful fragility. In her first year, she picked up words, smiled and laughed, and learned to walk.

But then Anne-Marie began to turn inward. And when her little girl lost some of the words she had acquired, cried inconsolably, and showed no interest in anyone around her, Catherine Maurice took her to doctors who gave her a devastating diagnosis: autism. In their desperate struggle to save their daughter, the Maurice family plunged into a medical nightmare of false hopes, "miracle cures," and infuriating suggestions that Anne-Marie's autism was somehow their fault.

Finally, Anne-Marie was saved by an intensive behavioral therapy. Let Me Hear Your Voice is a mother's illuminating account of how one family triumphed over autism. It is an absolutely unforgettable book, as beautifully written as it is informative. Imagine being trapped inside a Disney movie and having to learn about life, language, and emotion mostly from animated characters dancing across a screen of color. A fantasy? A nightmare? Just shy of his third birthday, a seemingly typical, chatty child became mute. His only solace: the Disney animated movies he loved before the autism struck.

So he memorized them, dozens of them, based on sound alone. What follows are a series of startling breakthroughs, as, for years, the family began to communicate with their lost son in movie dialogue. But was he understanding? The creator of worlds. Parenting a child with Asperger syndrome is never easy, and adding ADHD to the psychological mix makes life even more difficult.

In this searingly honest account of bringing up her son, Luke, Jan Greenman challenges many common perceptions of a 'life with labels'. Writing frankly about the medical issues of Luke's early years, Jan recalls how Luke's diagnoses came about, and how life at The Edge, their aptly named family home, changed as a result. She describes the causes and effects of the behaviours associated with Luke's conditions, and the impact they had on each family member, including his younger sister, Abbi.

The book includes tips and advice from Jan, Abbi, and Luke himself, and the final chapters go beyond Luke's early years to look at his life as a teenager — his solo trip to Dubai, and subsequent encounter with customs, his expulsion from school, and the inspirational Headteacher who helped him to turn his life around.

Compiled by R. This book will warm your heart and tickle your funny bone! If you know and love a child with autism, you will nod and smile as you read these all-too-familiar anecdotes — the unorthodox adherence to a rule, the social faux pas at the dinner table, the untimely but poignant outburst in the classroom, and many more! A collection of uplifting, humorous stories from parents and educators all over the world, this book soulfully communicates the unique qualities that individuals with autism bring to our lives — steadfast determination, unfailing honesty, selfless kindness, seemingly ageless wisdom-and reminds the rest of us that we have a lot to learn!

That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself—and the world. He also provides a fascinating reverse angle on the younger brother he left at the mercy of their nutty parents — the boy who would later change his name to Augusten Burroughs and write the bestselling memoir Running With Scissors. When Joanne Sinclair's son Andrew was young, he displayed numerous deficits and difficulties including issues with respect to motor development and neurodevelopment, his visual and auditory functions and muscle tone. Although he demonstrated in many ways that he was highly intelligent, his ability to learn was severely impacted and he was not expected to continue to learn within a regular classroom beyond grade four.

In spite of having an excellent vocabulary, his expressive output and social skills were significantly affected. This is the story of the challenges to understand what had caused this bleak scenario and, more importantly, what could be done to improve his ability to function and thereby alter his prognosis. Dylan Emmons tells the story of his childhood on the autism spectrum — a childhood filled with daily social and sensory challenges.

Revealing his attempts to be a social chameleon and blend in with his neurotypical peers, this memoir brings his experiences alive and offers helpful insights into the actions and feelings of children on the spectrum. One morning, Jenny McCarthy was having a cup of coffee when she sensed something was wrong. In that moment, Jenny went from being the mother of an average toddler to being in the midst of a medical odyssey.

Doctor after doctor misdiagnosed Evan until — after many harrowing, life-threatening episodes later — one amazing doctor discovered that Evan is autistic. In this insightful narrative, a courageous and inspiring mother explains why a diagnosis of autism doesn't have to shatter a family's dreams of happiness. Senator offers the hard-won, in-the-trenches wisdom of someone who's been there and is still there today — and she demonstrates how families can find courage, contentment, and connection in the shadow of autism. In Making Peace with Autism , Susan Senator describes her own journey raising a child with a severe autism spectrum disorder, along with two other typically developing boys.

Without offering a miracle treatment or cure, Senator offers valuable strategies for coping successfully with the daily struggles of life with an autistic child. Along the way she models the combination of stamina and courage, openness and humor that has helped her family to survive — and even to thrive.

Giving a father's insight into life with his daughter Maria, aged 12, who has autism, this comic tells the story of their week holiday in the Canary Islands, Spain. Delightful illustrations and dialogue between father and daughter show the day-to-day challenges that people with autism and their carers face, and how Miguel and Maria overcome them. Funny and endearing, this graphic storybook helps to show how Maria sees and experiences the world in her own way and that she's unique, just like everyone else.

When Mikey is young, the Sullivans are a closely knit unit, all of them devoted to caring for her. But as Mikey grows older, she also grows increasingly violent. By the time she's twelve, institutionalization is the only available option — and without the shared purpose of caring for Mikey, the family begins to unravel. As her family falls apart, Teresa searches for relief and connection during a time of sweeping cultural change. Lacking maturity or guidance, she makes choices that lead her down a sometimes-perilous path. But regardless of the circumstances at home and the tumult in their individual lives, the Sullivans are united in their love and concern for Mikey.

In Mikey and Me , Teresa interweaves her exceptional sister's journey with her own, affirming the grace and brutality of Mikey's life, and its indelible effect on her family. Unflinching and insightful, this is a deep exploration of the relationship between two sisters — one blind, with profound developmental disabilities, unable to voice her own story, and the other with the heart and understanding to express it exquisitely for her.

These are not the words usually associated with an autistic child. Miracle Run is the poignant memoir of a single mother raising four children — two of whom have autism. Andreas Souvaliotis was raised at a time when being on the autism spectrum wasn't easily diagnosed or even discussed.

Minds like his were simply considered odd. He also knew from an early age he was gay, and it terrified him as he was growing up with openly homophobic parents in one of Europe's least tolerant societies. Andreas's differences made him an outsider, right through to his mid-forties. And then suddenly, everything changed. MISFIT is the extraordinary memoir of a man who realized there was strength in his strangeness, that it could be used as a force for good. On a beautiful spring morning in , sitting in my backyard and licking my wounds from a spectacular career derailment, I came up with a big idea — and I found myself contemplating the most daring and unconventional pursuit of my life.

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Andreas Souvaliotis's inspiring story shows us that everyone has what it takes to trigger positive change, and that none of us should see our differences and quirks as handicaps. From childhood, Laura James knew she was different. She struggled to cope in a world that often made no sense to her, as though her brain had its own operating system. With a touching and searing honesty, Laura challenges everything we think we know about what it means to be autistic.

Married with four children and a successful journalist, Laura examines the ways in which autism has shaped her career, her approach to motherhood, and her closest relationships. As Laura grapples with defining her own identity, she also looks at the unique benefits neurodiversity can bring. Diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance PDA in his teenage years, Harry Thompson looks back with wit and humour at the ups and downs of family and romantic relationships, school, work and mental health, as well as his teenage struggle with drugs and alcohol.


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By embracing neurodiversity and emphasising that autistic people are not flawed human beings, Thompson demonstrates that some merely need to take the "scenic route" in order to flourish and reach their full potential. The memoir brings to life Harry's past experiences and feelings, from his torrid time at school to the peaceful and meaningful moments when he is alone with a book, writing or creating YouTube videos.

Eloquent and insightful, The PDA Paradox will bring readers to shock, laughter and tears through its overwhelming honesty. It is a turbulent memoir, but it ends with hope and a positive outlook to the future. Susan Dunne's life changed forever when a chance question from a doctor led her back to horses, an unfulfilled childhood passion. Detached and isolated due to undiagnosed autism, Susan had already survived rape, battled eating disorders and self-harm, and spent time homeless, when her world was turned upside again by a vicious, life-threatening assault. Severe post-traumatic stress disorder left her feeling distrustful and more cut off than ever before from a world she saw as confusing and dangerous.

But as Susan's connection with horses grew stronger, her world started to open up. Poignant and witty by turns, Susan shares her story of survival and transformation, offering a rare insight into her relationship with horses, and how they helped her to find a safe place in the world. Misfit, truant, delinquent. He told Cubby that wizards turned children into stone when they misbehaved.

Still, John got the basics right. The answer was unclear. Autistic and with very low verbal fluency, Naoki used an alphabet grid to painstakingly spell out his answers to the questions he imagines others most often wonder about him: why do you talk so loud? Is it true you hate being touched? Would you like to be normal? The result is an inspiring, attitude-transforming book that will be embraced by anyone interested in understanding their fellow human beings, and by parents, caregivers, teachers, and friends of autistic children. Naoki examines issues as diverse and complex as self-harm, perceptions of time and beauty, and the challenges of communication, and in doing so, discredits the popular belief that autistic people are anti-social loners who lack empathy.

This book is mesmerizing proof that inside an autistic body is a mind as subtle, curious, and caring as anyone else's. When Sam Bailey-Merritt was just two years old, almost overnight he lost the ability to communicate or function. His mother, Jo, was at a loss as to what to do as she saw her son grow increasingly isolated and begin to suffer from uncontrollable meltdowns. Eventually, Sam was diagnosed with autism. Sam's condition continued to worsen and, just when Jo had all but given up hope of being able to help him, the family went on a day trip to a nearby miniature pig farm.

Sam immediately bonded with a tiny ginger piglet called Chester, who stood sad and alone, apart from the rest of the litter. The connection between the boy and the animal was immediate and their unusual friendship blossomed from the moment the family brought Chester home.

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The tiny pig refused to leave Sam's side — it was as if he knew that Sam needed a friend. And, for the first time in five years, Jo saw her son really laugh. Sam and Chester is the heart-warming story of how a teacup-sized ginger pig helped to transform the life of a boy with autism. It is the emotional story of a mother's fight to win back her son.

Blunt, witty and honest, Tess Regan's collection of short stories, poems and illustrations tell a personal tale of alcoholism, Asperger's syndrome and an unusual spiritual journey. They will be invaluable reading for anyone on the autism spectrum dealing with alcoholism or mental illness, their friends, family and the associated professionals. In this moving collection of beautifully-written personal accounts, siblings from a variety of backgrounds, and in different circumstances, share their experiences of growing up with a brother or sister with autism.

Despite their many differences, their stories show that certain things are common to the "sibling experience": the emotional terrain of looking on or being overlooked; the confusion of accommodating resentment, love, and helplessness; and above all the yearning to connect across neurological difference. The extraordinary memoir of a mother's love, commitment and nurturing, which allowed her son, originally diagnosed with severe autism, to flourish into a universally recognized genius — and how any parent can help their child find their spark.

Today, at 13, Jacob is a paid researcher in quantum physics, working on extending Einstein's theory of relativity. Diagnosed at one with severe autism, at three he was assigned to life-skills classes and his parents were told to adjust their expectations. The goal: tying his own shoes at Kristine's belief in the power of hope and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we keep our minds open and learn to fuel a child's true potential changed everything.

It has long been assumed that people living with autism are born with the diminished ability to read the emotions of others, even as they feel emotion deeply. Switched On is the extraordinary story of what happened next. However, this newfound insight brings unforeseen problems and serious questions. As the emotional ground shifts beneath his feet, John struggles with the very real possibility that choosing to diminish his disability might also mean sacrificing his unique gifts and even some of his closest relationships. Switched On is a real-life Flowers for Algernon , a fascinating and intimate window into what it means to be neurologically different, and what happens when the world as you know it is upended overnight.

When Temple Grandin was born, her parents knew that she was different. Years later she was diagnosed with autism. While Temple's doctor recommended a hospital, her mother believed in her. Temple went to school instead. Today, Dr. Temple Grandin is a scientist and professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Her world-changing career revolutionized the livestock industry. As an advocate for autism, Temple uses her experience as an example of the unique contributions that autistic people can make.

This compelling biography complete with Temple's personal photos takes us inside her extraordinary mind and opens the door to a broader understanding of autism. Temple Grandin is the most famous person with autism in the world. Whether you know her from the HBO movie Temple Grandin, her decades of work in the meat and cattle industry, or her unmatched contribution to the autism world, surely you know a thing or two about Temple.

Well, prepare to meet a whole new side of her! Temple Grandin's mother, Eustacia Cutler, raised Temple at a time when her child's condition was classified as "infant schizophrenia," brought on by "frigid mothering. A Thorn in My Pocket is a vivid, honest story that reaches out to a much larger community than the one directly affected by autism. To Siri with Love is a collection of funny, poignant, and uplifting stories about living with an extraordinary child who has helped a parent see and experience the world differently. When Toby Turner was excluded from school for the third time for hitting and kicking his teachers, his family hit rock bottom.

Toby, who has autism, felt so upset by his own aggression, he told his parents they would be better off without him. Eventually, the only way the family could get Toby out of the house was by giving him headphones, sunglasses and a cap to block out the world.

Free Diary of a Crazy Woman: One Woman's Fight to Help Her Son With Autism Find a Place in

After a difficult few years, the family was thrown a lifeline by the charity Dogs for Good, which introduced Toby to Sox. The adorable three-year-old Labrador Retriever was trained by the charity to help children with autism. Together, as a family unit, and with Sox by their side, the Turners have learned to enjoy life again. This is the story of a long-lasting relationship, surviving against the odds. It is the story of Wenn and Beatrice Lawson, born almost twelve years apart in different countries with different cultures, who were both assigned female at birth.

After nineteen years of marriage and four children, Wenn entered a same-sex relationship with Beatrice. Little did Beatrice know that twenty-two years later, Wenn would transition from female to male. This unique and honest memoir tells the story of Wenn's transition and Beatrice's journey alongside him. Co-written by Wenn and Beatrice, who are both on the autism spectrum, this book offers a rare insight into an older couple's experience of transition, with particular emphasis on how Beatrice really felt about the changes.

Without holding back, they tell the true story of the conflicts, challenges and growing celebration and joy that can arise from transitioning together as a couple. As Allen Shawn probed the sources of his anxieties while writing the acclaimed Wish I Could Be There , he realized that his fate was inextricably linked to his autistic twin sister Mary, who has lived in a residency center for more than fifty years.

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TWIN offers a deeply personal account of their divergent lives, and examines society's changing attitudes toward and understanding of autism. It also provides an intimate look at the Shawns' idiosyncratic family life with their father, the famed longtime editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn.

Wrenching, honest, understated, and poetic, TWIN is at heart about the mystery of being profoundly bonded to someone who can never be truly understood. In this collection of short, contemplative, enlightening reflections, spiritual teacher and Quaker Christopher Goodchild, inspired by his own experiences, guides you through his spiritual and philosophical journey to his truest and most peaceful self. Written from a 'soul' perspective, the book reveals how, by looking beyond vulnerability to see innate strength, and searching beyond pain and turmoil to find peace and serenity, anyone can affirm their true humanity despite the hardships and distractions of modern life.

Christopher's compassionate route through difficulties, doubt, grief and fear is marked with dynamic tenderness and an artful embrace of abundant sources of wisdom. Spirituality, psychology and philosophy are seamlessly woven together in an inclusive Quaker context, led by the common values of love and forgiveness. In a world increasingly weighed down with the baggage of the self, this book will speak to anyone searching for a more clear-sighted, meaningful presence in the eternal universe.

Unlocked: a Family Emerging from the Shadows of Autism. Feelings of isolation, self-hate, and even moments of hatred toward her own child in response to his behaviors, as well as the impact on her marriage and younger daughter, impel her to seek solutions for his condition. Through years of trial and error, Susan eventually discovers methods that bring about radical improvement in Ben.


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