What I Wished I’d Known About Raising a Child with Autism by Bobbi Sheahan and Kathy DeOrnellas, PH.D–Book Review

Why am I reviewing a book about autism on a blog that deals with the spiritual life? Well, I have a granddaughter who is on the spectrum (as well as twin nephews). Since spiritual life is not divorced from our daily life, I’m interested in how this disability figures in, for me and my family, and I’ve been reading a lot about it.

This particular book is a wonderful resource particularly for parents with children aged 5 and under. It alternates entries by a mom with observations by a therapist. Everyday issues such as dealing with tantrums, potty training, sibling rivalry, finding support and more are addressed. It’s an easy read, and there are lots of other books suggested throughout. In addition, there is a bibliography with more suggested reading at the end.

What I appreciated most was this — religion was not ignored. The mom mentions attending church (one of many challenges) and her child’s godmother. In fact she says,

“Here I must sing the praises of Morgan, my son’s godmother. Seemingly quite randomly, God sent us someone who has been endlessly compassionate about my children and their needs.”

Hmmm … I don’t think that was really random!

She also talks about the fear of some parents that because their child understands things so literally, they will never be able to experience God. Ms. Sheahan refers to books by Temple Grandin that discuss religion. Temple:

“... asserts convincingly that love of repetition and religious practices … has been a positive thing”

For my own part, I can assure parents that my autistic nephews (now in their twenties) grew up in the church and thrived in a Christian school. God is definitely part of their lives.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. An excellent resource for parents or others dealing with children on the autism spectrum.

For more about autism see:

Autism and your church by Barbara J. Newman — Book Review

Emergence by Temple Grandin and Margaret M. Scariano — Book Review

Uniquely Human by Barry M. Prizant, PHD — Book Review

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