Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Review - A Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism

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A Regular Guy: Growing Up With AutismA Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism by Laura Shumaker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great read...I couldn't put this book down!  The author's writing style is conversational and mirrors many of my own thoughts, fears, emotions.  She accurately portrays how autism impacts the WHOLE family, in wonderful and heartbreaking ways. She empathetically characterizes the exhaustive effort, confusion and disappointments for a mother, father, siblings, and extended family of a special needs child.

This book is an excellent choice for a special needs teacher, therapist, family member or family friend of an autistic child.  It offers honest insight into the daily disruptions and quirks of autism.  Without too much drama or sadness, she uses personal stories to illustrate life for and with an autistic - at home, school and the surrounding community.  She also includes a copious dose of funny anecdotes, "Autism-isms" that had me cracking up. As a parent of a son on the spectrum, finding humor in the midst of chaos is indispensible for sanity.

I wouldn't recommend this for a newly diagnosed family.  Save it for a year until your head stops spinning so crazily and you secure routines and therapies.  It's not a "how to", therapy, program or methodology book.  It's an honest delightful story of a family's struggle and triumphs with the puzzle of autism.

I "get it"...this book may help others to "get it" too.

Playing it By Ear

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A few weeks ago I had a blocked ear and used ear drops and a bulb syringe to flush out my ears.  I repeated the process for 3 days to clear my ear.  As expected, G was fascinated with the process and asked lots of questions, watched from every angle, looked at and handled all the equipment carefully. 

Tonight as I was helping my daughter with her homework (Mom's preoccupied!), he slammed a kitchen drawer and ran around our well-worn circle pathway - kitchen, hallway, foyer, great room, and back.  Round and round he goes....  Stimming: a sure sign that he's up to something.  

He stopped to drag a kitchen stool to the sink while excitedly waving a turkey baster.  He cranked the water to "blast" mode.   I hesitated, then I figured - oh let him play, squirt some water while we conquer story problems. 

Next thing I know, my daughter shouts, "No!" 

I snap my head around to see G, head tilted, squeezing water from the turkey baster in to his ear! 

What a funny photo that would've made if only I'd been prepared!  Or not working on left-brained math...