When Victoria Hatton asked for people to review her book, Talking Autism parenting your unique child, I jumped at the chance. I respect Victoria as a fellow blogger with like-minded views to my own and was sure her book would live up to my expectations. Victoria is the founder and coach at Autism Consultancy International and has spent 20 years working with autistic children and young people across a range of settings.
I always worry when reading autism help books because very important to me is the fact that every child is different, no set of strategies will work for every single child. Within the first few pages of the book though, my mind was put at ease with the words “despite the fact that this is a book full of strategies and things for you to try I want you to always remember that our children are more than a strategy”.
Quickly covering important subjects such as diagnosis and labels and reassuring that you don’t need to wait for a diagnosis to help your family, the book moves on to discuss girls on the spectrum. Whilst not a book specifically about girls, as a parent of a teenage girl who is still going through the diagnosis process now, I could have done with reading this chapter 10 years ago! In a way, looking back and understanding what I do now, I feel guilty about how much I could of helped her when she was younger and how much she has gone through the last few years which she might not have had to had I known differently then. With many girls missing out on early diagnosis, this is most definitely an extremely helpful subject to cover.
The book is a very easy read and, without using over complicated language, it explains things well. At times reading it from the perspective of both a professional working with autistic children and a parent having gone through the process of fighting battles for diagnosis, EHC Plans, schools etc I felt like punching my hand in the air and shouting “yes”! (I refrained because I was sat on a plane reading the book!) Getting points across such as the fact you cant assume that the system wants what’s best for your child and having to take control as a parent and then giving practical instruction on actually how to do that are so helpful for anyone embarking on the journey of diagnosis and navigating the school system.
The book isn’t just helpful for those waiting for a diagnosis, it also covers subjects such as what to do immediately after a diagnosis, telling your child and family members about their diagnosis and how to get support for your child at school. I absolutely love the honesty of the way the book is written. This is a book that will tell you not only what’s meant to happen but also what actually might happen and how to push for the support your child may need.
The book then moves on to different strategies and taking the view that each child is unique, provides lots of practical help. There are many subjects covered in short, easy to read sections that would also be useful to keep refer back to at a later date as problems crop up . This section of the book is helpful for any parent of autistic children.
I love the fact the book includes information on Pathalogical Demand Avoidance (PDA) alongside high functioning autism and aspergers syndrome as PDAers, as I have discovered over the years, are hard to parent and any advice on that is gratefully recieved. The book also makes the very valid point that PDA strategies are well responded to by all children. I also love the fact that there is information on raising self esteem as this is so important for autistic children.
The section at the end of the book covers the subject of school refusal and what to do if school isnt working for your child. Again, I could of done with reading this book years ago!
The author is encouraging not condescending, helpful not assuming and most of all reassuring! I recommend this book wholeheartedly, I’ve already lent my copy to a mum that I know could do with the support it provides!
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