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Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Posted Sep 11 2012 9:31pm

For some time now I’ve been looking for books to recommend. Kev Leitch (who founded Left Brain/Right Brain) gathered a good collection of books. One of my favorites has been The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism , which has been at Left Brain/Right Brain a few times. It is a book I wish I had when my kid first was diagnosed. It is a collection of essays on various topics by autistics, parents and professionals. Another type of book I’ve been looking for is one by professionals. Specifically medical professionals. One I will get to soon is Making Sense of Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Create the Brightest Future for Your Child with the Best Treatment Options . Another came out just recently, and that is the subject of this discussion: Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know .

The book is published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It is edited by Alan I. Rosenblatt MD FAAP and Paul S. Carbone MD FAAP. Both have extensive experience with special needs children. The book has an extensive list of contributors, including parents. I need to go through it more thoroughly to see if they include autistic voices as well.

The authors’ description of the book is:

From autism and Asperger’s syndrome through pervasive developmental disorders, this authoritative reference from the leading publisher in pediatric health care examines how autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are defined and diagnosed and reviews the most current behavioral and developmental therapy treatments available. Through this evidence-based guide, which reflects the new diagnostic thinking from the American Psychiatric Association, parents and caregivers will learn about the symptoms and the incidence of ASDs, screening tools, the roles of complementary and alternative medicine, and what to expect as these children grow into adolescence and beyond. They will also gain insight into how to tap into educational resources and community services and how to access care. In addition to the detailed findings and expert advice, real-life stories included in each chapter help diffuse the isolation many parents experience and offer inspiration and support.

Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know is very accessible–well written and short sections one can read in a reasonable amount of time. My own experience was that I did not really have the time nor the attention span to read thick books cover-to-cover soon after my kid’s diagnosis. A book such as this which is thorough but also can be read either in whole or in parts in a reasonable amount of time is a good place to start. It’s about $10 on Amazon.

The book starts with the basics (what are autism spectrum disorders?) goes through some of the big questions (e,g what causes autism spectrum disorders?), behavioral and educational options, medications, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and practical strategies for the parent.

It is difficult to navigate all the sources of information that come at a parent who has just found out his/her kid is autistic. Not all of that information is good. I certainly wish I had this book when our kid was diagnosed.

Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know comes out October 1st. For the record, I asked the AAP for a review copy to discuss in advance of publication.

By Matt Carey

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