Parenting Across the Autism Spectrum
Release Date:01 Apr 2006

Parenting Across the Autism Spectrum

Unexpected Lessons We Have Learned

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Maureen F. Morrell and Ann Palmer are raising two very different children: Justin, a whirlwind of activity and mood swings, who is supervised in a residential farm community, and Eric, quiet and passive, who lives independently at college. The authors give an account of the striking similarities as well as the stark differences in their experiences of parenting children at opposite extremes of the autism spectrum.

The two mothers speak openly about their children's diagnosis and early childhood through to adolescence, young adulthood and the day they leave home. They give a moving account of the challenges they faced and the surprising consolations they found along their sons' very different paths in life. Through their friendship and two decades of shared experiences of parenting an ASD child, each has gained a clear understanding of her own strengths and limitations, as well as those of her child.

Parenting Across the Autism Spectrum offers a personal perspective and practical guidance for parents at the start of their journey with autism, especially those whose children are newly diagnosed. It also provides useful insights for professionals working with individuals across the autism spectrum and their families. The book was elected the 2007 Autism Society of America's Outstanding Literary Work of the Year.

As forthright and enabling as Dr. Spock. – Kirkus Reviews
With heavy dosages of courage and a fearless look into how autism has affected their lives, Ann and Maureen provide, in harmony and counterpoint, a model of how families can live with and help children with autism reach their potential to lead fulfilling and productive lives in what ultimately becomes a supportive environment for all. – Stephen Shore, author of Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome and Board member of the Autism Society of America
Pour a cup of tea, relax in a comfortable chair and prepare to meet two new friends. Maureen Morrell and Ann Palmer use a conversational style in Parenting Across the Autism Spectrum that feels like they're talking directly to the reader... and they have much to share from 20 years raising children on the opposite ends of the autism spectrum. Tucked in-between personal stories are the lessons learned, which they cleverly number and summarize at the end of each chapter so this valuable information isn't lost. 'Our stories and lessons are meant to be a companion on the journey, making it a bit easier and a little less lonely'. While the territory covered in Parenting Across the Autism Spectrum may be familiar, the authors' unique perspectives are refreshing and empowering. – Autism Asperger's Digest
A description by two mothers of raising two very different children on the autistic spectrum. Based on 20 years of shared experience. Useful not only to parents, but also offering professionals some helpful and occasionally chastening insights into family life where a child has autism. – Current Awareness Service

I would recommend this wonderful book to parents and practitioners alike. The book walks the reader gently through the stories of two different families and their experiences of parenting children on the autistic spectrum. Maureen and Ann share with their audience differing perspectives of the impact of autism both on the individual concerned and on their families. There are many excellent books written by parents of individuals with autism available. What makes this book stand out for me is how the authors share their highs and detail their lows without holding back and without giving the impression that they are superhuman, achieving the impossible where the more superhuman, achieving the impossible where the mortal among us cannot.

Family disasters, innermost fears and mistakes are laid bare. While it is important to note that the book provides positive recommendations and imparts sound advice leading the reader to turn the last pages with a sense of optimism about the future, I found it invaluable to know that others have made the same mistakes as me and experienced the same concerns and despairs... a positive and beneficial book for parents of children with autism as they learn to balance family life with the demands that the condition places on them.

– Good Autism Practice
Maureen F. Morrell is married with three sons; Justin, the oldest at 28, has autism and lives and works in a residential farm community. Maureen has a background in nursing and public health, and has been active in advocacy for individuals with ASD and their families for over 20 years. She has served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) and in 1998 received ASNC's Parent of the Year Award. Ann Palmer is married with three children, one of whom, Eric, was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. He is now 24. She has 13 years' experience working with families of individuals with autism at Division TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children). Ann coordinated a volunteer parent mentor program that provided support to over 800 families in North Carolina. In her current role as Director of Chapter Relations for the Autism Society of NC, she coordinates over 40 parent support groups throughout the state. She is also the author of Realizing the College Dream with Autism or Asperger Syndrome, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. Rebuilding life after autism: Ann's story. 2. Rebuilding life after autism: Maureen's story. 3. Balancing family life: The siblings. 4. Balancing family life: Marriage and extended family. 5. Advocating for our children. 6. Taking care of ourselves. 7. Finding our way. 8. Dealing with the public. 9. Accepting our children and ourselves. 10. Letting go: Ann's story. 11. Letting go: Maureen's story. Appendix A: Positive student profile. Appendix B: Student information sheet. Appendix C: Books that made a difference. References.
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