Thinking Person's Guide To Autism has set a new standard for special needs parenting books. It is packed with the practical, helpful and necessary information parents need to know--but it also offers much comfort, hope and inspiration. While it's an outstanding first book to reach for after a diagnosis of autism, those in the throes of autism parenting or who have grown children will also discover much that is useful. And this guide isn't just relevant to autism; I have a child with cerebral palsy, and found so much in the book insightful, from dealing with meltdowns to creating a Special Education PTA.
Each chapter is written by a different person: one of the authors (the five women behind the TPGA site), top experts, powerful voices from the blogosphere and beyond, and well-known advocates including Holly Robinson Peete and Susan Senator. There's step-by-step info, explanations of various therapies, resources, debunking of myths, heartfelt musings on acceptance, hard-hitting looks at causes, treatment, education and inclusion. The essays are beautifully written, moving and smart; one of my favorites is "Buying Hope" by Jennifer Byde Myers (mom to a child with autism and cerebral palsy) about the endless products and potions we parents purchase to help our kids, and how to avoid wasting your money and emotional energy.
I've been turned off by other guidebooks for special needs parenting because I've found them to be negative, unrealistic or both. Thinking Person's Guide To Autism, however, is empowering and all about real life. You'll want to read this book not because you "should" but because you will be grateful that you did; it's bound to improve your life as the parent of a child with special needs, and your child's life, too.