I had the opportunity to review All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Theresa by Kim Stagliano. When I requested to review it and then received it in mail I thought, "maybe I don't want to read ANOTHER book on autism." Well..it isn't JUST another book. It is an excellent read full of the biography of their family life...their REAL life.
There are a ton of 'how to' autism books out there. How to do the autism diets... How to educate.. How to socialize.. This book was none of that. It was all about how autism looks... the good the bad and the ugly. The author, Kim, who is the managing editor of Age of Autism, has 3 daughters with autism and her husband has been unemployed several times. Like I said, real book..real life...
Here are some of my favorite parts of the book. These are just little snippets. The stories in full are great to read and thought provoking. Some are a little funny and some a little sad. But she is clear that she did not write a book for people to sob along with!
- In one section she talks about a peer that she respects yet disagrees with. I think most could learn from that. We are not going to agree on everything but we can learn from each other. And we can be respectful.
- She has REAL stories about what happens to most of those with kids on the spectrum...not just the few you hear about on the news. I was talking to a friend one day and she said, there are the few that write the books...and then there are the rest. I love the Temple Grandin and John Robinson books. But that is like a lottery winner. The stories in this book are about airport escapes, emergency trips and our favorite autism topic..wait for it...poop. I think many moms talk about it but if you have a spectrum kid you take it to a whole new level.
- Also in the area of media coverage she discusses how they always seems to cover the 'success stories' but don't follow through on them. They don't talk about the daily horror stories. A quote from page 79, "The media loves to pick up the odd story about the autistic boy who scored twenty points in the last three minutes of a basketball game. What about the rest of the child's life and his prospects for the future? Do they cover that?" The only time the media actively covers the 'ugly' side of autism is when it is truly over the top ugly.
- She talks about the struggles with her marriage and how they have stuck together.
- She talks about statistics. Why is autism so low on the radar? What are they scared of?
But my favorite part of the book is the end. Rest assured it doesn't end on a downer note. I think as an autism parent I have to not only come to terms of what is going on, but to embrace it. I hope, I dream, I pray and I work my butt off. But she talks about living in the present Not living in the PRESENT..but LIVING in the present. When you have a kid on the spectrum the 'bad' stuff is like a dirty little secret. I do truly think that you can't get what you don't know. And I am so thankful for the friends that ADMIT that instead of trying to say that they understand. But this book made me feel a little less alone. It is not a book that tells you how to do it.. it just stands besides you as if to say, "I get it."
So Christmas is coming. If you know someone who has a child on the spectrum, buy this book. Buy two. One for you and one for them because if they have a kid on the spectrum, they are spending their money on therapy, supplements and allergy free foods. It is only $16.47 on Amazon.
The book website can be found here. and her blog is here. She also puts a very funny excerpt on her website about her life of crime.
(I received a copy of this book as a review and am not obliged to give a positive review. I really love the book.)