The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide by Susan Senator

The Autism Mom's Survival Guide (for Dads, too!): Creating a Balanced and Happy Life While Raising a Child with AutismThe Autism Mom’s Survival Guide (for Dads, too!);Creating a Balanced and  Happy Life while Raising a Child with Autism. Finished 1-16-14, rating 4/5, autism, 196 pages, pub. 2010

Given the daily challenges of raising a child with autism, it’s easy for parents to lose themselves and for their overall quality of life to plummet. Susan Senator interweaves the voices of autism parents, researchers, and professionals to offer guidance and encouragement on how to find happiness and fulfillment in the midst of the struggles of raising an autistic child. Topics include: how to handle feelings of despair and hopelessness; finding fun, even during turbulent times; caring for your marriage; and finding a balance between accepting your child as he or she is and seeking new treatments. 

from Goodreads

When a child is diagnosed with autism, parents read as much as they can about the current treatments available to help their child.  And then start the different treatments, adding more as time and money allow.  In my own personal experience we were so busy with this that I didn’t really take the time to breathe and accept the future.  I was trying to save my son from the diagnosis.  Honestly, I still am, but around the year mark acceptance crept in to my daily thoughts too.  This book really did help with that.

The author has a grown son with autism and two younger sons at home and has had 20 years to make peace and come up with some advice that might help other parents.  This is not a book on therapies and it will not lead you to a quick fix, as a matter of fact she really is not a fan of alternative solutions, like biomedical.  What this book does so well is to offer comfort and advice on how your family can have a better home-life.  It’s full of resources (books, websites, blogs) and stories from other parents to help you feel understood and armed with more information.

At first, it was a struggle to get my mind out of the scary, unknown future.  But as therapies, research, and behaviors kept me busy, the future faded and only resurrected itself on the very bad days.  This book, detailing her experience with her son moving out of the house at 18, was something I needed to read.  While her life isn’t what she expected, it is good and fulfilled and happy.

If you have a friend that has a child with autism this would be a nice recommendation or gift (when she’s having one of those bad days). I checked this out of the library.

5 thoughts on “The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide by Susan Senator

  1. Lloyd Russell says:

    Stacy, John Elder Robison’s Look Me in the Eye, is a book I read back in 2011. And last year, I saw him in person promoting his 2nd book, which I haven’t read. The 1st one, though, was terrific. As a 50+ year old man, he talks about his autistic childhood. This was at a time when nobody knew how to categorize autism. Now, he’s not only an author, but he’s also very involved on a national level with autism. I highly recommend the book.

  2. Literary Feline says:

    This sounds like a good book to have in one’s arsenal of resources. I think I would have been exactly the same way in your shoes, Stacy. I remember when Mouse had to see the specialist for her blocked tear ducts after she turned one and the idea of surgery loomed in the background. I was reading everything I could get my hands on, talking with others who had children go through it–I can only imagine it’s ten times that or more in a situation like yours. Mine was over a simple problem that had an easy fix. You want the best for your son and it’s only natural to try to find out what that best is so you can help him. I am glad this book gave you some comfort. I think it’s a lot like going through the grieving process. The difference being that there is not loss at the end but rather something (or someone, really) wonderful and special. Different from what you expected and hoped for at first–but wonderful nonetheless. Getting there though doesn’t happen over night, as you well know.

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