Talking Autism: Parenting your unique child
During our special needs journey, I have read many books, attended courses and gone to lectures. Google has been my very best friend. There is information out there, but, it’s not always easy to find and not always written in a way that I find helpful. Quite often I’ll read something and think “that’s great, in an ideal world, but I don’t live in an ideal world”. Then I was introduced to Talking Autism: Parenting your unique child by Victoria Hatton of Autism Consultancy International.
Practical & helpful
Once in a while, something will come along and it will really resonate. It will have ideas and alternatives that are both practical and helpful to someone that has no idea what an ideal world is really like. In my opinion, Victoria has achieved that with this book.
I was recently supplied with a book to review, Talking Autism: Parenting your unique child, thank you Pariss, withlovefromp, for thinking of me and putting me in touch with Victoria. This book is, quite simply, what I have been looking for.
The author, Victoria Hatton, has spent 20 years working with children on the autistic spectrum. However, importantly, she is also a special needs mum. This extra element shines through in her book.
No Personal Experience
What I have found is that many of the books are written by experts in the field, but, they lack personal experience. Whilst the strategies they recommend may be sound, I don’t dispute this, the reality of the situation is often far removed from being able to simply put those strategies into action.
Talking Autism: Parenting your unique child is a breath of fresh air. Yes, there are strategies from an experts point of view. Victoria has many years of experience teaching and working with children on the spectrum. However, she manages to incorporate her experience as a special needs mum to show that “one size does not fit all”.
*Disclosure* Firstly, let me be up front. I have received this book, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review. What follows, are my own, personal, opinions regarding the book and I hope that you find them helpful.
I read and reread the introduction several times. It was almost like reading about our own situation. Victoria talks about the expectations after diagnosis, of the reality of the situation and just how difficult it is to get support. You end up doubting yourself, as a parent. Asking yourself if you’ve done everything that you can, what have you missed…..?
Overall, she talks about the fact that you, as the parent, know your child best. That you shouldn’t doubt yourself and you must trust your gut instinct.
This really sets the tone of the book and its a tone that is really refreshing and inspiring.
The book is written in a very structured format and literally takes you through the process from start to finish. The tone is almost conversational. To me, you feel very much like you are having a conversation over coffee and cake. This is completely different to the other books that I’ve read and I found it very easy to read.
The opening few chapters take you through the process from diagnosis to applying for an EHCP (I have to say that the EHCP process was, for us, probably the most traumatic bit of our journey so far).
What follows are the strategies, genuine advice from someone that not only knows the theory behind them but that also has personal experience of living in the special needs world. This is something that is quite often missing from the strategies put in place by schools and professionals.
Strategies make up a majority of the book and, I’m sure, that this is the section that will be of most interest.
Victoria covers just about every situation that you would expect and then some. For me, of particular interest are the sections on Triggers, Reducing Demands without Lowering Expectations, Tackling Personal Hygiene, Homework and Sleep.
Everyone will have their own particular requirements and interests. Everyone’s situation is unique to them. This book is written in such a way that you can easily dip in and out. This is particularly important when you are possibly already stressed!
Victoria also has a section on Christmas. We find holidays in general particularly challenging. To learn more, please read this post of Holiday Stress.
We have particular problems at Christmas and I know that some people will struggle to understand this. The festive season should be a time of joy, celebration and fun but, our experience, is quite different. I used to think that we were alone in this but, having read this book, I now know that we are not. This has had the effect of making me feel less alone. I now have a much better understanding as to why this time of year is so anxiety provoking. This understanding has helped me to feel much better equipped to prepare for Christmas going forward.
What if school isn’t working
The last section, before closing, is entitled What if School isn’t Working. This will be of particular interest to a lot of people, me included. I feel that this section really does address the reality of the situation for a lot of families. The overriding message here is the need for all parties to work together for the welfare of the child. The reality of the situation is often very different. In my opinion, there is often a lack of time and resources. There is also a lack of knowledge, particularly of Pathological Demand Avoidance.
This book has been a joy to read. Throughout, the message that one size does not fit all is clear. Unfortunately, this is something that is often overlooked within the educational system. It is, however, something that must be remembered. You really cannot effectively put a square peg into a round hole. Above all else, don’t lose yourself. Accept that you cannot do things by yourself, accept help and look after yourself too.
You can purchase this book through Victoria’s own website, Autism Consultancy International, where you will find many other helpful resources including details of #UniqueandSuccessful, a support community run by Victoria.
Disclosure: I was sent this book to review. I have been introduced to Victoria through my blogging and instagram friend Pariss, withlovefromp. However, my review is my own, honest, opinion on the contents.
Always remember – you a strong and awesome
PS: This is such a great book and I am really keen for people to know about it. I should therefore be grateful if you would share this blog post. Let’s spread the message. Together, we can make a difference.