By Barry M Prizant PhD
I set out to find answers on google and found nothing, but frustration. My son was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in Fall of 2017. Although I knew the diagnosis was coming, I was still at a loss for what was yet to come.
“How do I make sure we are doing everything we can to make sure he succeeds?” This question was always afloat in my mind. January of 2018, Raylan started school in hopes to seek out the early intervention he was in dire need of. Shortly after, Raylan started school, a parent recommended this book to me. The parent raved about how it had made things so much clearer and helped them understand more. I was reluctant to really dive in and read it. I was still adjusting to my son’s new diagnosis, our life with IEP’s, and our other 3 children. I was not ready to read a book that would blatantly tell me something I already knew.
However, once I picked it up I could not put it down. I started to read it as a paperback. When we had to travel to IL, as I drove I listened to every single chapter by audiobooks. On the return trip, I listened to every single chapter a second time. I put book marks in my paperback and reread the sections I had book marked in the Audible book. This book changed my life, my thought process, and made me even more proud to be a mom of a child with Autism.
There’s one topic the author covers in this book which made me take a step back… as ever work with your child. The author mentions that we are the professionals when it comes to our children, that it is perfectly normal for us to stand up for them and say, “no” when we deem necessary. This was something I struggled with. I as a mama am an advocate for my kids. I will argue, stand up, and not back down until I am certain my kids are taken care of in the way that is right. When it came to Raylan’s, medical I would argue tooth and nail when I knew what was right and wrong. I fired a couple therapists! I was that mama who rattled everyone’s cage if I thought they were treating Raylan, wrong. Some people would say that is not OK, because doctors/therapist are the professionals, but not this author. And not I. In Uniquely Human, there is an entire chapter about parents being the professional when it comes to their children. This was affirming to me that all those times I didn’t back down, I was doing the right thing. Many things that the author wrote about in Uniquely Human, is incredibly eye opening and made complete sense to me. Raylan is indeed Uniquely Human. The title of this book was perfect!
While reading this book it was more than I ever could have expected. The author is well versed and knowledgeable in ASD, he writes from a professional as well as a personal viewpoint. He has a personal connection when he writes with individuals with ASD such as Temple Grandin. He shares stories of parents and teachers who work with ASD, making it easy for the reader to connect on a personal level. Many instances written about in the book, I have experienced myself.
If you have a child with Autism, are working with children that have Autism or you are just interested in learning about kids with Autism, I highly recommend this book. It was eye opening for me and I hope it will be for you.