A Child's Journey Out of Autism by Leeann Whiffen will be released by Sourcebooks next week. When I was asked if I wanted to review this book I had no idea that it would be so personal for me. I am so glad that I've had this opportunity.
The book is written by Leeann Whiffen whose second child, Clay, was diagnosed with autism when he was around 2 years old. Whiffen tells her family's story with honesty and candor that I really liked and appreciated. She talks about how she was in denial for a while, how she couldn't say the word "autism" in connection with her son. She also talks about how she looked at friends' normally developing children and feeling bad that her son seemed lost inside this little body that couldn't call her "Mama" and wouldn't look her in the eye. Leeann and her husband, Sean, did everything in their power to help their son with alternative treatments and therapies. Because these treatments were not covered by insurance, they proceeded at great financial risk but knew that they had to do everything they possible could to try to reach their son who seemed to be slipping away more each day.
I found this book to be so hopeful and inspiring. It was so personal to me because although my son doesn't have autism, he does have a significant developmental delay caused by a seizure disorder. I could identify with the struggles that she had in taking care of a much loved son who can't speak to you and who can't do the things that other kids his age can. This book gave me hope and I think it would give hope to all parents who have a child recently diagnosed on the autism spectrum. I think that any mother could enjoy this story of a mother's love and determination to help her child. For me personally, it also helped me to appreciate what I do have; a beautiful loving child who can communicate through some sign language and who loves to give everyone hugs and kisses. I think the emotional disconnect of autism must be the hardest of all to take.
Published: Mar. 1, 2009 336 pages
Review: 4/5 stars