I’ve been reading quite a few resources on autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and aspergers since we’re dealing with this in my own family. I hope to make a blog page on ASD resources (similar to my “Kids’ Books” page) for those who would like some reading material in this area (I’ve heard around 1 in 160 kids may be on the ASD scale). For now, I want to point out one Kindle book I thought was helpful: What I Know About Autism: 1) It’s Hard 2) There’s Hope by Cecily Paterson. It’s not long, but it does give good insight into ASD and how to deal with it in the home.
This book is written like a story describing how Cecily and her husband struggled through the difficulties of having a child with autism. Along the way, Paterson gives tips on dealing with an autistic child, resources for further study, and she also gives encouragement for parents who are struggling because their child has ASD. She starts the book of with good encouragement: “…You can be honest with God and yourself… you are not alone… there is always hope” and “God is still there” (location 32).
I appreciate the book because Paterson is honest about what it means to have an autistic child: it’s not possible to have a ‘normal’ home when your child has ASD (but that’s not the end of the world!). Everything is different: from the way you discipline, teach, sleep, eat, interact, and handle school. It’s not easy to see a child have a serious one-hour meltdown because his brother only had to eat 6 beans and he had to eat 7. It’s not easy to monitor foods to make sure your child doesn’t eat dyes or perhaps gluten. As Paterson notes, sometimes parents think they are going crazy through this all! Sometimes it gets so tough the parent prays, “Seriously, God? Is this for real? Why us?”
In one section of the book Paterson talks about her fear concerning her son’s future; she is worried he’ll be bullied, laughed at, mocked, and so forth. Here’s how she continues:
“How do I know he will suffer these things? Because I know my own heart, and I know my own sinful reactions to others who are different from me. I have bullied, excluded, laughed at, tormented and just plain ignored people who were ‘imperfect.’ And in doing so, I have shown my own imperfections, which are far more serious, far more deadly, and far more vile than any physical or mental disability could ever be. The real human imperfection is the sinful, unloving heart that each one of us carries inside” (location 1848).
Later she notes the love of God for her despite her brokenness and sin. This reminder convicted her of her selfishness and encouraged her to press on remembering God’s love. This was also a good reminder for me!
I could go on, but I want to keep this short. If you have a kid who has or may have ASD, I very much recommend this book. I realize that some forms of autism are worse than others (low-functioning and high-functioning are the current terms), but most of this book is applicable to anyone dealing with ASD. I’m thankful Paterson took the time, tears, and energy to write this! You may need more than this resource, but this is a great start which also points the reader to other helpful resources: What I Know About Autism by Cecily Paterson.