When autism first entered my life I read as much as I could about it. I google searched at all hours of the day, reading different articles and blogs, and also as many books as I could. I’ve loved soaking up the experience and knowledge of others in the attempt to be the best dad I can be.
At the start of the summer I was lucky enough to be sent an advance copy of the book ‘Talking Autism: Parenting Your Unique Child’ by Victoria Hatton. The demands of the summer holidays and providing the 1-1 care Tommy and Jude need meant my free time was precious, but I’m really glad I used some of that time to read this book. Here’s what I thought…
The author, Victoria Hatton, has a unique viewpoint to share. She is a mum to a daughter with an Aspergers diagnosis, but she also has over 20 years of experience of working with children with autism as a specialist teacher. Because of this she has a wealth of knowledge that she shares throughout, and does so in a practical way that’s easy to read and understand.
The first few chapters give a brief introduction to Victoria and her family’s story, then jumps straight into the initial concerns a parent might have, the diagnosis process here in the UK, and tips on how to get the right educational support. One of the most powerful things I took from the book came from those first few pages
“If we want our children to cope better in the world we often have to be the first ones to change”
This is so true of the journey I’ve been on with Jude and Tommy. That line got me hooked to read more.
The main section of the book is where I feel parents will find the most value, it’s packed full of strategies to help your child. From improving sleep, teaching friendship skills, managing meltdowns, to even the challenge of Christmas, Victoria has strategies for them all. She also uses her experience to discuss strategies for helping children who have a diagnosis of Pathological Demand Avoidance too.
Then there’s a section on what to do if school isn’t working. I know we’re lucky with the school we have for Jude and Tommy, but there are many parents out there who are in this situation and lost as to what to do. If this applies to you there’s some very useful advice in this chapter. It covers how to make things better at your child’s current school, and what to do if school breaks down.
Victoria finishes her book with a nod to “Welcome to Holland” and a reminder for all special needs parents that we really need to look after ourselves. Victoria talks of the challenges she’s faced along the way, and how she managed to change her life around.
At the top of the cover of the book it states “A guide to high functioning autism, Aspergers syndrome, and pathological demand avoidance.” Whilst that’s not the type of autism that is a part of our lives, I still enjoyed reading. I definitely found some ideas that I could apply to situations with my boys. In each chapter Victoria’s experience and knowledge is clear to see, and her positivity throughout is definitely up-lifting. When reading other books in the past about strategies to help your child, I’ve often found them informal and a bit overwhelming. Victoria’s ideas and examples leave you feeling that you can actually put these strategies into action.
You can find out more about Victoria and purchase her book through her website Autism Consultancy International where you’ll also find lot’s of other useful resources too