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Call for Interviewees for my Third Autism Book

Posted Dec 26 2013 10:31am

As some of my readers may know, I am working on a third autism book. (My two earlier books are Making Peace With Autism and The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide (For Dads, Too!). I need to talk to parents of autistic children, age 18yo +, particularly low-IQ but also any child considered “low-functioning.” If you are such a parent and you would give your legal, wholehearted consent to my using your first name, your state, your child’s first name, and his/her age, please contact me at: susan@susansenator.com for an interview. The interviews will be either over the phone or by skype.

* If you are a parent whose child is in transition to adulthood, I will want to know where you are in the planning process — even if you are scared sh*tless of it — for your transitioning child. I will ask you your story, I will want to get a well-rounded view of your family life, your autistic child, and your worst fears for him/her.

* I also want to talk to parents of older adult children, particularly those in their later years, moderate-to-severe autism — fairly low I.Q. What is your family life like? What’s great about it? What’s not so great? What is your adult child like? What does he do during the day, where does he live? How have you planned for when you are gone? How did you face this problem?

The working title for this one is Autism Adulthood: Facing the Challenge Head-On.  What follows is the keynote, or summary of the book so far:

This inspiring, honest, and essential book could not be more timely considering that the big bubble of children on the autism spectrum will soon be bursting out of the public education system.

Parents are terrified of what life will be like once their autistic children graduate high school. Particularly if their child is severely affected by any or all of the following– language, communication, behavior, cognition –  parents of  graduating autistic child can be anxious, sad, and likely pretty ignorant about the future. They commonly refer to autism adulthood as an abyss, as falling off the edge of the world. And to be fair, autism adulthood can feel like a soul-sucking challenge. But autism adulthood, like any phase in a child’s life, can also be exciting and joyous. And, like autism childhood, the happiness we find is not always grand, obvious, or permanent. Parents need to know that autism adulthood can be complex and plain old hard work, it is also a time of growth  and possibility. Yes, there are terrible challenges and a lot of legwork and advocacy; autism families on the moderate-to-severe end of the Spectrum need to have an honest picture of what autism adulthood is like. With this book, they will learn from example how they can meet the challenges of autism adulthood head on, and help their adult children achieve a fulfilling life.

Autism Adulthood is unique in that it features a real family – my family– as well as conversations with other autism parents and some autistic adults themselves. The book illustrates the lives of autism adult families, particularly the families of our less-discussed severely autistic adults.The narrative unfolds as a memoir-like story, but also thematically. Punctuated by relevant anecdotes from members of the autism parent community, each part of the book describes different situations and problems that I, my husband Ned, and my son Nat faced, and their actual resolutions. Each section also looks at other families and their strategies, plans, fears, joys, and solutions to autism adulthood issues.  Autism Adulthood is one of the few books of this sort out there with a real family story, as well as portraits and viewpoints of other families, plus essential resources and organizations, told in my trademark warm, honest, and approachable style.

Thank you for letting me tell your story!

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