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Learning to Dance in the Rain: A Year of Weathering the Storm with an Autistic Child by [Bennett, Melanie]
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Learning to Dance in the Rain: A Year of Weathering the Storm with an Autistic Child Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Length: 194 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Review

"This is a great book to obtain a firsthand look at what parents and caregivers experience in their journey with autistic children. The author's style is very readable and she evokes tremendous empathy and understanding from the reader. The many struggles are interwoven with funny, lighthearted vignettes as well. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this!" C. Pearce "The wonderful thing about this book, I think, is that it shows how the patience and the everyday common sense of caretakers can make a big difference in the ability of an autistic child to live a satisfying life. I understand that all autistic children are different, and that what works for one might not work for another one. But this book shows that sophisticated educational techniques are sometimes not needed: a loving, caring person can be a big help just by listening to the child, and figuring out ways of helping." juki654 "The book is well written and easy to read. It lets us know, what people who live or work with autistic children go through. I knew it wasn't easy, but this book really made you understand the life of an autistic child & their family. A must read for anyone who knows or deals with an autistic child." Lynne "Going into this book I felt I probably had an average amount of knowledge about children with special needs, including autism, though I've never really been around special-needs children or adults much in my 50+ years. By the end of the book, I realize how clueless I actually have been, both in what these children are going through, as well as the difficult journeys of the people who love them. After reading this journal with its well-written, honest and heartfelt insight into the ups and downs of life with this little sweetheart, I realize that while I've been working on becoming a more patient and tolerant person, I should have been spending the time becoming a more empathetic and understanding one and that patience and tolerance would have been second nature. What a great read this was, as well as a wonderful learning experience, and I'm looking forward to the sequel!" Ruth

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 643 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EZACGJY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #760,971 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
What starts out as an entrance into a chaotic, messy home, that would drive the best of us nuts, comes the introduction of Reagan and her family, through the eyes of their caregiver Melanie Bennett, the author of Learning to Dance in the Rain. Written in a journal/diary-like format with days broken up like chapters, the read is a fly on the wall view into what it’s like to be with an autistic child day in and day out, not just for the emotional reactions that come, but also the solutions and joys, the simple things that help make life tenable for the child’s single mother, older sister, and Melanie herself. Clever advice is interjected in the narrative of the day’s description: speak a full sentence to get your chick-fil-a (the child’s favorite food), ketchup as an aversion, solutions to biting, pinching, and kicking come from routine. The poignant parts are the reflections the author gives us into her own emotions: eg. guilt from a meltdown in the doctor’s office when Reagan isn’t allowed to play with Teddy Bears; feeling at fault because of lack of routine the prior week when company came for the holidays. This is not a glossed over, written through rose-colored glasses story, nor is it a derogatory slant on what it is to live with and care for an autistic child. There is a lot of love in these pages and it is the love that communicates through the pages with descriptions and explanations of what it is to relate with an amazing little girl, who happens to also be autistic. We are all mixed bags, filled with contradictions, mixed emotions, frustrations, joys, interests, and it is no different with Reagan, and in showing us this, letting us in, this is where this book shines. Bravo to the compassionate, and extremely patient heart, of Bennett who has managed to write a narrative on what can really be helpful to those in relationships with autistic children. A well-done read that I recommend. Paulette Mahurin, Family Nurse Practitioner, MSN/UCLA
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Any mother has a busy enough life, and Melanie's practical and positive diary of a year in Atlanta shows a busy lady indeed. She's got her own family and pets, and she's a caregiver for a little girl nearby called Reagan.

What complicates matters is that Reagan has autism, which leads to communication problems and unsociable behaviour. Strong medications are prescribed to settle her, but aside from wondering if they're appropriate for a young child, we see that they are expensive and can have side effects.

Reading about the situation is at first challenging to those of us with more normal lives. Imagine how it must be to live through the situation. Melanie has been coping with Reagan - and her family - for two years at the start of this diary. Gradually matters have been improving as Reagan learns and her adult companions learn to interpret her words or behaviours. Melanie doesn't claim to be a saint, and she's brave enough to show us her perfectly natural reactions. Like not wanting to be bitten, or feeling frustrated or exhausted.

Every morning Reagan has turned her home into a disaster zone, and Melanie spends precious teaching time just picking up after her and putting on a wash. I was instantly unhappy at all the junk food and refined sugars Reagan was eating, thinking that they would be adding to her behavioural issues. Of course, Melanie is aware of this and tries to reduce the fries, chips and syrupy pancakes, in favour of strawberries and grapes. I was actually so relieved when Reagan helps to make, and enjoys a fruit salad bowl. Turns out the medication has the side effect of causing hunger, and there are teaching feedbacks which Reagan has associated with being able to ask for food. Clearly this is a complex issue.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an astonishingly special book that describes one real-life year in the author’s work with one family and their seven year old daughter, Reagan, who has autism. The challenges and every day hurdles and stresses (as well as the joys and achievements) that are involved in what to families not dealing with autism would be ordinary events and situations are described so well by the author. Reagan has a low-functioning form of autism and her need for a rigid routine, difficulty or inability to communicate or express herself and her needs and her general all-round delayed development will be familiar to parents or carers of children with ASD. What really shines through in the book is the determination of Reagan’s mother and carer to continue to believe that she can learn and develop and achieve and reach her own individual full potential. The relentless effort that is needed for this to happen is inspiring, and should be an eye opener for anyone not familiar with the facts about bringing up a child with autism.
Reagan makes remarkable progress over the twelve months and the author acknowledges that this is not just due to their own efforts with her – Reagan has a fearless self-belief about many things where “her biggest fears aren't enough to stop her”.
Reagan’s story is an inspiration and has much to teach all of us about embracing and cherishing the individuality of others rather than forcing others to fit some kind of “norm”. I love the title of this book, taken from the well-known quote by Vivian Greene. The message is that when life gives us seemingly impossible or exhausting challenges, the answer lies not in fighting or fearing this “storm” but in embracing it for what it is ie learning to dance in the rain. Highly recommended.
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