When one of my clients asked to me to consider writing a review of a book written by a relative of his, I agreed to do it not just because I wanted to help a good friend. I was genuinely curious about the subject of autism.
I had previously read Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin because I am certainly interested in animal communications. Temple’s own experience as an animal behavior expert who has autism gave it a unique perspective, especially since many of animals’ behaviors or problem behaviors resemble autism.
But nothing could prepare me for the very heartwrenching story relayed in Accept No Autism! Our Family’s Story of Recovery by Tatianna Dickens.
From my experience with owning dogs, many with serious health issues, I have to say that I could totally understand what Tatianna went through with her autistic boy Zack. All you have to go on is observation of behavior. How do you know if you have an autistic child or if your child is just going through a phase? The confusing and grueling diagnosis delays the time it takes to get autisitc children the help they need. There’s got to be a better way to diagnose.
The diagnosis is only the beginning of a life of daily struggles that few of us can imagine: daily therapy sessions of up to six hours, special diets, almost constant supervision, sometimes excruciatingly slow progress, and the extreme and abnormal behaviors. Dealing with Zack’s autism became Tatianna’s career. One has to question whether autism is harder on the child or the family.
There are heavy religious references throughout the book making it appropriate for the Christian non-fiction market. Looking beyond that for those who might not be as religiously inclined, we see a portrait of someone who has dug down deep, physically and emotionally, to meet her child’s needs.
I don’t think that the title of Accept No Autism! is accurate. Through the book we see that Tatianna has truly accepted her child’s autism and committed to making the best life possible for her seriously challenged child. Worth a read.