Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son

The Autism Experience

The Autism Experience

The Autism Experience - Valerie Foley

No matter how big the rest of the world is, the Autism world seems increasingly small. No sooner had somebody mentioned all the good work Sue Larkey does, then she popped right into my sons school to assess all the new starters there.

Then Valerie mentions she’s putting out a book. Oh, it’s about to be published. So Felicity Moore asks me to review it! Well, apparently we’re all connected, somehow.

When I started reading this book the first thing I noticed was: written by a mother, about mothers, for mothers. So it was a bit like watching TV on SBS: I knew what all the characters were going through, because I could see it in front of me, but they were all speaking a different language to me. Because the language of a mother is very different to the language of a father.

I also had to persevere a little: because the person this book is most suited for would be very early in their journey of supporting a person coming to terms with autism. My wife and I passed through this point two years ago.

Having said that, I very quickly became comfortable following along with each of their experiences. The book really does read as though I’m reading six, eight, or ten personal journals, all at once, with some nice work by Valerie opening each topic. With the range of nationalities represented – from Australia, Asia, North America, Europe & the UK – it’s facinating to see how in different places the same mistakes are being made but they are being responded to in a range of ways which make sense on a local level.

If it was paired with the Australian Autism Handbook, these two books should be highly recommended – if not “essential reading*” for any parent trying to discover just what it is that’s different about their child.

*along with the hundred or so other books on that list


4 responses to “The Autism Experience

  1. valerie foley April 28, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Thanks Westie.
    Now, hop to it and write the Father’s book!!


    • imawestie April 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

      yeah… I think I gotta talk to some people ’bout that.
      It’s a bit of a dead-zone for guys. I don’t know if it’s because we’re all in denial, or what.

  2. mumtoj April 29, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I love the way you’ve said language of a mother is very different to that of a father 🙂

    I’m still trying to find a copy locally, but do have the Australian Autism Handbook……….. yep as you say essential reading. Can’t wait to read The Autism Experience

    • imawestie April 30, 2011 at 10:51 am

      That big picture in my blog is a link to buy it online. With Borders etc going under… I reckon it’s about the only reliable way most of us will be able to buy anything down here for a bit. Which is a shame.

      Val prods that I should write a Fathers version. While some emotion “might” (would) sneak in there somewhere, I’ve a feeling it would too easily become a how-to. Which isn’t what I want to set out for. But hopefully the more of this I write the better I get at finding how to write about the Westie verision of “normal, everyday life” – which when we get right into it is pretty different to most.

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