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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Autism reading list.

I orginally posted this on my other blog Scribeswindow some months ago.  I feel that it is worth repeating here.  If you have read any of these titles, please comment and tell me what you think.

I'm starting to devise a new reading list to learn more about people's experiences with the Autism spectrum.  I'm specifically looking for uplifting titles, stories that explore and champion the diversity of people who are regarded as different.  I don't want to read any more books about the spectrum that categorise it, or list characteristics to look out for, or how to over come it.  I want to read about people who have discovered their talents and achieved things, been supported and can describe their lives as something to be proud of.  There aren't many books like this around.  On searching I've come across depressing titles such as, Daniel isn't talking; Let me hear your voice: a family's triumph over autism; Pretending to be normal: living with Aspergers syndrome; The out of sync child; overcoming autism; The empty fortress; Facing autism; Children with starving brains, and so on.  Now I can't say that I've read any of these titles, so I really cannot say with any authority that they don't contain uplifting messages, but I find most of these titles depressing.

Today I began reading the first book on my burgeoning list, Be different: adventures of a free-range Aspergian with practical advice for Aspergians, misfits, families and teachers.  I know, a really long title.

It's written by John Elder Robison, brother of the famous author Augusten Burroughs, and after reading only the introduction, I can already tell that it ticks all the boxes that I am after.  Feel good, tick.  Experiences, tick.  How life has been for him, tick.  

"There's so much talk about the disability of Aspberger's, so much focus on what kids who are different can't do, that I thought it was time for a book about what they CAN do".  

I read that sentence this afternoon, and had an eye-opening moment.  This is exactly what I've been after. 

I blogged not too long ago that I was beginning to tell people that my son has been diagnosed with autism.  This is because I feel less anxious.  A year ago I was devastated, and couldn't see beyond the spectrum that was being described to me.  The black and white characteristics that were blurring and blinding me to my son who is just magnificent.  All mother's say that I know, but try saying it when you have spent time de-valuing a person who means so much to you.  When you think that it's all just hopeless and that there is no future.  I now see the amazing memory he has, the astounding capacity of loving all of us, his cheeky sense of humour, and the quiet humility that comes from his knowing his alphabet, daily increasing numbers into the hundreds and his amazing artwork.  His teachers have been singing his praises and taking photo's of his drawings, and the pride on his face is exquisite.

I don't worry so much now.  I'm looking for further supportive arguments to that fact.  I want to hear the stories.  I am ready to hear the stories.

Besides Robison's work, I have also come across, The game of my life: the story of challenge, triumph and growing up Autistic by Jason J-Mac McElwain; Born on a blue day: inside the extraordinary mind of an autistic savant (yes I know the title does still sound depressing but I read commentary that really it's uplifting)by Daniel Tammet; Thinking in pictures: and other reports of my life with autism by Temple Grandin; and Send in the idiots: stories from the other side of autism by Kamran Nazeer.

I love embarking on a new reading list.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, 18 November 2011


This is blog number two for me.  If anyone is interested my other blog is scribeswindow.blogspot.com  Why a new blog?  I've posted a few times about my son who is four and diagnosed with high functioning autism at two and a half.  However, through an assignment that I did in one of my classes this semester, I decided to begin a blog that is devoted entirely to the spectrum and maybe other special needs.  It will be cathartic for me, and I want to use it as a platform to hear other voices and look at different things that can connect with other people who are interested in ASD.  So, just a quick post that links this blog to my other one.

Friday, 9 September 2011

If you look

Currently I am a pre-service teacher and the mother of a two year old girl and four year old boy who has been diagnosed with High Functioning Autism.  I intend this blog to be a portfolio of special needs resources that can be used by both parents and teachers alike.

My son was diagnosed about two years ago, and although we got on to intervention early I have found that there are not enough practical resources.  So, in light of this, I intend for this to be a meeting place of sorts, a support network of links that can help you through the diagnosis tunnel, advocate for your child and better prepare teachers for the classroom.  I don't expect it to be the answer for everyone, but hopefully it can help.

The title of this blog comes from a line in the song Time after time sung by Cyndi Lauper that she co-wrote with Rob Hyman.  I've found that the words have resonated with me and goes in some way to describe my feelings parenting my son and indeed both my children.