2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Thank you, Jesus, for sending me this book., 20 Mar 2012
Although I bought the e-version of this book on the US' Amazon, I checked to see if the print version was available while looking for a UK-produced DVD (hey, ladies? Check this out! [...] Most fun I've had since high school!). I read the reviews, and after doing so, felt compelled to post my review of the book on the UK site, as well. So here it is.
As a teacher who works with special needs children, I have felt at times like a blind man on a Manhattan sidewalk. Without a dog. Or even a red-tipped cane. There are a million theory-laden textbooks on autism available to me, and another million "I'm okay, you're okay" feel-good tomes. Neither of these serves as much help when I am responsible for getting a screaming, non-verbal, 175-pound pound young man, one who recoils when touched, through the jam-packed hallways, past the shrieking fire alarm, and out the school's front door. Good God, give me guidance.
My prayers were answered when I found Autism by Hand. I have never before seen such a practical, pin-pointed guide on how to help a special needs child. Rather than vague, swooping suggestions, this book gets into the nitty-gritty. It told me that, in order to communicate with an autistic child, I should get some mirrored, wrap-around sunglasses, because "the glasses...block out a large portion of the overwhelming information that is provided by the human face." It goes on to detail said face from the autistic kid's point of view: the fluttering lashes, spiky stray eyebrow hairs, weird colorful makeup, and freaky lines angling out from the sides of your eyes. As a backup plan, the author says, "When my glasses were not handy, I have even just planted myself in front of my daughter and talked to her with my eyes closed, just so she wouldn't be so overpowered by the intensity that is the human eye." In short, I'm not left to figure anything out for myself.
A superfine added bonus is that the book is funny as hell. The author pulls no punches in relation to her husband, her child, society at large...or herself. LOVE a self-satirizing author. Sorry to get all scholarly on ya and give another quote, but you'll be grateful I did after reading this: "Let me tell you a really funny story about how my own parents almost had Social Services take my children away to foster care." She goes on to describe a day at the hell that is Chuck E Cheese, and her own manically-frustrated effort to get her autistic daughter to try "something that was outside of the three categories she willingly ate." The author was trying to expand her daughter's world while still being human. It was, shall we say, an "awkward" moment.
In her willingness to shine a spotlight on her own less-than-shiny parenting moments, she gives the rest of us that spa-day feeling of, "oh, so I AM normal if I get that friekin frustrated battling the Mighty Autie Demon." There is, I believe, no greater gift.
And for that, we can all thank Jesus.