I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Optimism For Autism: The Inspirational Jouney Of a Mother and Her Autistic Son by Susan Jane King with Patrick King

First I feel the need to say that I am not a particularly religious person. I consider myself a person of faith, but I do not read Christian books. I read this book for one of my book clubs. I had difficulty with the amount of religion in this book, but overall it was worth reading for the information it provided on autism.

Susan and David King had three daughters and fervently hoped for a son so they were thrilled when Patrick was born to them.  They had such high hopes and ideas of things they planned to do with him as a son.  Building forts and other boyish things.  Little did they know that their child had a different path to follow.  Patrick was biting and hitting the other children in preschool and he still wasn't talking. His preschool teacher said that she couldn't recommend that he graduate to the next level with the four-year-olds.  Susan was devastated. Her son had flunked preschool?  Thus began the first round of tests that Patrick would begin taking to determine what was going on with him.

Eventually, they would receive the diagnosis of autism which completely rocked their world.  Patrick would have to go to multiple therapies to help with his motor skills as well as his verbal skills as he wasn't talking yet. They were lucky in that a great program existed near their home of China Grove down in Charlotte, North Carolina called the TEACCH Center.  They really helped her family a lot. To communicate with Patrick better they created a binder that contained pictures that you could velcro on in order to tell him what you wanted him to do. Like brush his teeth and get ready to go to bed. Brushing his teeth, by the way, was difficult because the sensation of the bristles was hard on his sensitive mouth and he hated the taste of the toothpaste.

In fact, Patrick's skin was very sensitive to touch. Autism is all about being overstimulated by your senses. He has an acute hearing which at one time got Susan in trouble when she said something that he misinterpreted about school and getting good grades.  Loud noises really bother him and his sense of smell is really keen. His taste buds are mixed up and say ice cream may taste like broccoli to him so it's hard to plan a meal for the family when you have one eater who has special tastes. When Patrick first talked it was repetitive talk known as echolalia in that he was just repeating noises he had heard her say. And then he wouldn't say anything else for a while.  He would eventually talk to her in a very real way, which is something she thought he might never be able to do when she first got the diagnosis.  Also, autistics look at the world in terms of black and white and a very logical and reasoned way.  They have a hard time seeing the emotions on people's faces and body language and therefore can hurt feelings or miss out on the joke.

Patrick was mainstreamed through the school system. It wasn't always easy though. Children can be cruel.  Middle school was tough and high school started out that way too until he found help from one of his teachers.  Patrick is an amazing young man and his mother story of how she raised him is equally amazing.  Her daughters didn't understand why Patrick was getting all of the attention or why he was so odd and it took a while for them to figure out how to treat their brother. The TEACCH Center helped with that. But it wasn't easy raising four children with one of them needing extra help.  She would tell you that it was through the help of God that all things are possible. Maybe they are.

Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Optimism-Autism-Inspirational-Journey-Autistic-ebook/dp/B00J7TYYVQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492375162&sr=8-1&keywords=optimism+for+autism   

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