Autism Short Takes: Partners, Parenting, and Pursing Success

Autism All-Stars: How We Use Our Autism and Asperger Traits To Shine in Life. Jessica Kingsley. 2012. c.192p. ed. by Josie Santomauro. photogs. ISBN 9781843101888. pap. $19.95. PSYCH

This collection of writings by people on the autism spectrum offers an honest portrayal of how these individuals struggle in various aspects of their day-to-day lives. Edited by Santomauro (Asperger Download: A Guide To Help Teenage Males with Asperger Syndrome Trouble-Shoot Life’s Challenges), the mother of a son with Asperger’s, and with a foreword by Tony Attwood (The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome), the book presents moving and inspirational stories for anyone who has a person with autism in his or her life. In addition, it provides practical advice for those on the spectrum: Temple Grandin contributes a chapter on how to get hired and keep a good job, while other writers discuss how they achieved their goals in education, careers, relationships, creativity, and other areas despite‚ or because of‚ the quirks of their disability. VERDICT This collection should interest higher-functioning individuals with autism and their families, as well as people who teach or work with adults and children with autism.‚ Terry Lamperski, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh

Fleischmann, Arthur with Carly Fleischmann. Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism. Touchstone: S. & S. Mar. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9781439194140. $24. PSYCH

 Autism Short Takes: Partners, Parenting, and Pursing SuccessDiagnosed with severe autism at age two, Carly Fleischmann was nonverbal despite hours of intensive speech and behavioral therapy. At ten, she had a breakthrough: she was able to type words to communicate with those around her. Now, at 16, Carly also communicates through social networking sites and a blog. She has become a spokesperson for herself and other nonspeaking individuals and brings a wealth of insight and perspective to what it is like to have autism. Carly’s father, Arthur Fleischmann, tells the family’s story with input from Carly herself. VERDICT A well-written story of one family’s struggle, perseverance, and triumph in helping a child with autism find her voice. This book will benefit people with autism, their families, and all who interact with them.‚ Lisa M. Jordan, Johnson Cty. Lib., KS

Herbert, Martha with Karen Weintraub. The Autism Revolution: Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be. Ballantine. Apr. 2012. c.288p. index. ISBN 9780345527196. $26. PSYCH

Herbert (neurology, Harvard Medical Sch.), after years of research and treating children, has developed a new way of seeing autism. Here, she discusses possible causes of autism and strategies for limiting its negative impact and increasing its positive impact on an individual’s development. She looks at the body as a whole system and considers how the environment, food, viruses, and stress can affect the body and brain. She uses many examples from her own practice to illustrate how the changes she recommends have benefitted the behavior and health of her patients. VERDICT An in-depth, scientific‚ yet hopeful and positive‚ look at how the brain and body work together as well as how eliminating toxins and better supporting the immune system through nutrition can have a positive effect on the symptoms of autism.‚ L.J.

Jacobs, Debra S. & Dion E. Betts. Everyday Activities To Help Your Young Child with Autism Live Life to the Full: Simple Exercises To Boost Functional Skills, Sensory Processing, Coordination and Self-Care. Jessica Kingsley. 2012. c.144p. bibliog. ISBN 9781849052382. pap. $19.95. PSYCH

Occupational therapies for children with autism can greatly improve their ability to perform functional tasks, use visual and motor skills, and learn self-care routines as well as help them with sensory issues and body coordination. This guide to incorporating occupational therapy techniques into routine activities combines the expertise of Jacobs, an occupational therapist, and Betts (superintendent, Boyertown Area Sch. District; Hints and Tips for Helping Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders). It introduces readers to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and describes how ASD can affect areas like body awareness and the senses, then presents clear, simple activities that can be performed by families throughout the course of the day to work on specific issues. VERDICT This work is an indispensable tool for parents and caregivers seeking to improve the lives of children with autism, whether they are performing daily tasks or just having fun.‚ T.L.

Moreno, Susan & others. The Partner’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome. Jessica Kingsley. 2011. c.256p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781849058780. pap. $19.95. PSYCH

Moreno, founder of an autism nonprofit, along with social worker Marci Wheeler and communication coach Kealah Parkinson, interviewed over 100 couples in which one partner has ASD and the other is nonspectrum (NS). Their aim: to provide insight and guidance to NS partners who want to create a successful relationship for both parties. While most of the advice is directed at the NS partner, there are also tips for parents, friends, and professionals on how to support the couple in maintaining a positive relationship. Each chapter ends with a list of lessons learned from the couples interviewed. The authors cover communication, social skills, and sensory processing and provide many real-life examples drawn from the experiences of the interviewed couples. Tony Attwood’s foreword highlights potential relationship problems that individuals with ASD typically encounter. VERDICT Excellent insight and tips for anyone in, or considering, a relationship with a person with ASD, as well as the friends and families of couples with an ASD partner.‚ L.J.

Scholars with Autism Achieving Dreams. Auricle Ink. 2012. c.182p. ed. by Lars Perner. photogs. index. ISBN 9780982578537. $26.95; pap. ISBN 9780982578513. $19.95. PSYCH

Edited by Perner (clinical marketing, Marshall Sch. of Business, Univ. of Southern California), this collection of essays‚ each one written by an academically successful person with high-functioning autism‚ is both informative and moving. Several pieces describe the writer’s diagnosis late in life‚ often in his or her 30s or 40s‚ retroactively explaining a lifetime of feeling different as well as difficulties in school and childhood. First-person accounts of the struggles faced by children and adults with autism are presented here, and the essayists are insightful about how their differences may have led to early failures. However, readers also see how the writers’ special interests and other traits have contributed to their ultimate success. Temple Grandin contributes a chapter on the importance of learning basic skills at an early age. VERDICT An inspirational book for people with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome as well as their parents or caregivers.‚ T.L.

School Success for Kids with Autism. Prufrock. (School Success). 2011. c.240p. ed. by Andrew L. Egel & others. ISBN 9781593637460. pap. $16.95. PSYCH

This collection of contributions from autism and autism education experts addresses strategies for teaching students from preschool through high school and is organized into age-specific chapters. Editors Egel (special education, Univ. of Maryland), Katherine C. Holman (special education, Towson Univ.), and Christine H. Barthold (disabilities, Univ. of Delaware) present in clear, concise language a thorough introduction to autism and its diagnostic criteria for educators new to teaching or assessing such children, as well as for parents who may be facing a diagnosis for the first time. A comprehensive guide to assessments for school-age children on the spectrum is also included. VERDICT This informative volume will be appreciated not only by educators of children and teens with autism, but also by parents who are seeking to provide the optimal educational setting for the best possible outcomes.‚ T.L.

Sicile-Kira, Chantal & Jeremy Sicile-Kira. A Full Life with Autism: From Learning to Forming Relationships to Achieving Independence. Palgrave Macmillan. Mar. 2012. c.256p. bibliog. ISBN 9780230112469. pap. $18. PSYCH

Chantal Sicile-Kira (Autism Spectrum Disorders) and her son Jeremy, who was diagnosed with autism at an early age, share their experiences navigating his options following high school graduation. Helping an adult child with autism lead a full and fulfilling life is no easy task and should begin years before the child reaches adulthood. Chantal and Jeremy’s thoughts on this issue are an excellent place to start. An introduction by Temple Grandin provides additional information on the special needs and considerations of adults with ASD. VERDICT This book will be in high demand among the parents of children with ASD and young adults with ASD. Jeremy’s insights and Chantal’s candid advice will prove invaluable to parents, teachers, and other support personnel.‚ L.J.

Winslet, Kate. The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism. S. & S. Apr. 2012. c.288p. photogs. ISBN 9781451645439. $29.95. PSYCH

101859970 w Autism Short Takes: Partners, Parenting, and Pursing SuccessActress Winslet compiled this book in an effort to raise awareness about autism as well as raise funds for her autism nonprofit, the Golden Hat Foundation. After narrating A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism, a documentary about Margrét Ericsdóttir and her nonverbal, ASD-diagnosed son Keli, Winslet was inspired by Keli’s story of learning to communicate via a letter board after years of silence. The titular golden hat of Winslet’s book and foundation comes from one of Keli’s poems. Pictures of celebrities wearing this special hat comprise a large percentage of the book. What is most moving, though, are the photos of young people with autism wearing the same hat. Proceeds from sales of this book will be used to pay for long-term living and working arrangements for adults with severe autism. VERDICT Readers will come away with an understanding that although children with autism cannot always speak, they have much to say. In addition, photos of many of today’s most popular stars will have broad appeal. [See Prepub Alert, 10/31/11.]‚ T.L.

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