Experience is the best teacher. This is evident by the content in the book Autism Tomorrow. Written by Karen L. Simmons and Bill Davis, the book is both a biography of their dealings with each of their autistic children and a how to book to help autistic children thrive in the real world. In Karen’s case her son Jonathan is autistic, and Bill’s son Chris is autistic.
Simmons is a gemologist, the author of Little Rainman: Autism Through the Eyes of a Child, founder of www.Autism Today.com, and hosts classes on autism for parents, educators, doctors, therapists, and those who serve the autism and special needs community.
Davis is an advocate for children and adults with autism. He has authored Breaking Autism’s Barriers: A Father’s Story and Dangerous Encounters: Avoiding Perilous Situations with Autism. He is the former president of the Harrisburg, PA Chapter of The Autism Society of America, and the recipient of Temple University’s End the Victim’s Silence’ Advocacy Award.
Autism Tomorrow covers a range of issues that parents or siblings living and raising a person with autism should know. They include 19 Myths of Autism, mother and father issues, explaining death and grief, developing an IEP, communications, tools for the outside world and safety issues for your child.
Other topics include out in your community, bullying, puberty and sexuality, issues for boys and girls with autism, financial planning, health, fitness, nutrition, education, careers, aging and an epilogue.
In discussing these topics with parents of autistic children, I discovered their concerns covered four or five of these areas (mother and father issues, bullying, developing an IEP, safety issues and sibling relationships.) Sexuality, puberty, nutrition, financial planning and tools for the outside world were not discussed. They had not thought of them. One of the reasons for reading this book is to learn about other areas that parents should consider if not now then in the future.
In reading the chapter on Tools for the Outside World – Building Self-Esteem in Children with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, this sentence has a strong appeal, “It’s crucial family members, educators and professionals learn strategies and techniques to build self-esteem in kids with autism/Asperger’s.” This means involving the community.
One of the unique chapters in this book is Educating Students with Asperger’s Syndrome by Temple Grandin, Ph.D. Grandin is a high functioning person with Asperger’s Syndrome. His message is in educating people with Asperger’s Syndrome there must be concrete well-defined goals at work.
Autism Tomorrowis concisely written. The poignant Epilogue by Keri Bowers reminds us that the book’s message is a call to action. The book is a precious, priceless jewelwritten by people whose lives mirror the book’s message. Every one with a family member with autism or working in the field of autism should read this Bible. You will benefit.
I learned a lot, and I am glad I did.
Autism Tomorrow is published byExceptional Resources, 1425 Broadway, No.444, Seattle, WA 98122. It sells for $29.95. You can find it on www.AutismToday.com.