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Helpful books on raising autistic children?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by amyclare, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Hi, our little boy is nearly four and was diagnosed with autism just before Christmas. He's an absolutely wonderful boy - when he's not being a nightmare! He has no language but is being taught PECS (he can usually choose between two photographs for the object he wants) and will hopefully be starting at an amazing special school in September. He already gets lots of support and intervention work at nursery.


    My husband and I feel really alone in bringing him up though - we get lots of support from my parents, but we don't know anyone else with children with SEN and are generally feeling a bit lost at how to bring him up. He's recently got really screamy and started hitting - mainly me! - which we don't like and want to stop - but we don't have a clue how! (He's also got really cuddly and kissy - which we obviously like a lot!)


    I wondered if anyone could recommend any books that they've found useful (or any other tips/websites/forums that might be helpful)? Thanks, AC
     
  2. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    I cannot recommend any books or websites that would be directly helpful as my my experience is at the higher-functioning end of the autistic spectrum but just wanted you to know that you are not alone in going through this.
    Both my son and I have Asperger's Syndrome (I had a very late diagnosis) and it was lonely and frightening until we got in touch with the local branch of the National Autistic Society (http://www.autism.org.uk/) who had a wealth of help and information.
    Keep the cuddling and kissing going as much as you can - we are so grateful that our autistic lad has not withdrawn physically from contact with us (so many on the spectrum do).
    I know it might be a bit twee but the essay "Welcome to Holland" was also massively helpful to me personally
    http://www.child-autism-parent-cafe.com/welcome-to-holland.html
    There is support, help and friendship out there - please feel free to PM me if you ever need to vent.


     
  3. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    Hi amyclare!
    I have ASD, and know forst hand how important a loving Mum can be!
    There's a whole library of books on ASD out there...my own thoughts would include...
    I'm assuming you've already checked out the National Autistic Society website....they are really good!
    I highly recommend 'A girl called Barney: Loving An Autistic Child Is So Easy ....And So Hard' by Christopher Stevens. It is fiction, but based on the author's own experiences...I have it on Kindle and it is a quick read - a couple of days at most - but has you laughing, sobbing and saying 'yep, i know that all too well!'
    Also by Christopher Stevens, 'A Real Boy: How Autism Shattered Our Lives and Made A Family From The Pieces'...this is his real-life account of bringing up a child with ASD.
    If you can get it - it may be out of print, but check the library?....'Thinking In Pictures' by Temple Gradin....she has ASD and is amazing!
    And finally, Tony Attwood has written some good stuff His 'Asperger's Syndrome - A Guide For Parents and Professionals' is very readable and includes a lot on ASD in general as well as Asperger's.

     
  4. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    NAS web site is very useful.
    There are loads of books (I seem to own most of them), but anything by Simon Baron-Cohen, Uta Frith or Tony Attwood is worth reading. Avoid Temple Grandin, though.
     
  5. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    Really? I found her fascinating - especially her thoughts on controlling stress through applied pressure/squeezing.....I guess it just shows the need to read widely and find what resonates with you!
     
  6. me too - i have different sensory coping strategies, but i really related to the basic idea
    i wept reading 'martian in the playground'
     
  7. Thanks everyone! I always get a bit despairing at the end of school holidays - we've had a great time but he really does better with the routine of nursery. I'm not desperate to get back to work today though which is a good sign that we've had fun! I'll look up some of those authors and let you know how I get on :)
     
  8. I have Aspergers myself but also work in a residential special school where over 90% of the students are on the autistic spectrum (most of them are on the severe end of it). Regarding the hitting, I have noticed that a lot of children with autism who are not verbal seem to use lashing out as a way of communicating that they are in pain. There is one lad with autism who gets very aggressive when he has kidney stones-as soon as they are removed, he is back to being lovely again until the next recurrence. I'm not saying that your son is necessarily in pain but it's always an avenue to explore-it can be the most frustrating thing in the world trying to work out the reason for some of their behaviour. I had it recently with another student of mine who was pinching and slapping a lot and eventually we worked out it was her wisdom teeth coming through that was making her so irritable. Again, not relevant for your son but an interesting aside. Some children with autism also lash out due to sensory needs-I have met students who will pinch human skin because they like the sensation it gives in their nails or will slap because they like the tingling sensation it gives them. Could this be typical for your son? The way we deal with it at work is to say firmly, "Hands down! I don't like it!" Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. I assume your son has professionals involved with his diagnosis and care-speak to them about the new hitting behaviour and they should be able to suggest more strategies. Regarding books, the one I found most poignant as a reader was "Not Stupid" by Anna Kennedy whose husband and 2 sons are all on the autistic spectrum (the husband and eldest son have Aspergers and the youngest son has severe autism). Then again, I am reading it as someone with Aspergers myself, not from a parent's view so what I find most helpful may not be the best option for you but it's worth a try.
     
  9. Have a look at the Jessica Kingsley Publishing website, they have lots of really good books.
     
  10. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    I have a close friend who has brought up two boys with ASD. The youngest has just won a place at Cambridge to read Maths but she had great difficulties with them both when they were younger and life is still not easy.
    I am sure she would be more than happy to have email contact with you, if it would help. She belongs to a number of support groups who have given her great help over the years. PM me if you want to.
     

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