About This Book


If you are the parent of a child — from newborn to college age — with autism or Asperger's, you will find support, advice, and insight in this collection. With its 101 stories from other parents and experts, this book will comfort, encourage, and uplift you. Stories cover everything from the serious side and the challenges to the lighter side and the positives of having a special child on the autism spectrum.

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A Whole Spectrum of Support for Autism

Based on Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum by Dr. Rebecca Landa, Mary Beth Marsden, Nancy Burrows and Amy Newmark

An autism spectrum diagnosis is life changing, and the journey can often feel lonely for parents. But there is a whole spectrum of support out there for parents and family members of children diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum contains 101 stories that offer great advice and emotional support for parents of kids on the spectrum, no matter what their age. Here are five tips from parents who have been there.

1. See the humor. Lorri Benedik was excited about picking up her son, who has high-functioning autism, from sleep-away camp. When they were reunited, she asked him about the disposable camera she had given him to take to camp. Like many children on the spectrum, he is very literal. "When I asked him where the camera was he rolled his eyes, gave me a look like I was a complete idiot," Lorri writes. His reply? "Mom, it was a DISPOSABLE camera, so I threw it away."

2. Find the talent. Nancy Burrows’ son, James, had an affinity for music from 14 months old, when he would wake up in his crib humming. At age two he could correctly identify the note of almost any sound. "Music has served as a source of bonding and amazement wherever James goes," Nancy says, not only between Nancy and James, but between James and his classmates as well. At his third-grade assembly he was awarded a framed mock-up of a futuristic magazine cover with his photo and the headline: "HOW JAMES BURROWS IS CHANGING THE FACE OF POPULAR MUSIC!"

3. Embrace the small victories. Jeneil Palmer Russell’s daughters Rhema and Hope weren’t exactly getting along. Day after day Hope would follow her older sister around, asking for a high five. But Rhema would always ignore Hope, still viewing her younger sister as a pest. Finally, one day, after Hope had crashed into her sister during a chase, Rhema finally high fived her back. "What word suffices here? Momentous? Stupendous?" Jeneil writes. "I cheered like the Red Sox had won another World Series."

4. Find your support system. At school dismissal one afternoon, Christine Coleman had a difficult time handling her young son’s rare, but epic, meltdown. Feeling inept and self-conscious, she worried about other parents’ reactions to the situation. But instead of being judged, she received an outpouring of care and support from parents on Facebook. "That’s my village," Christine writes. "No judgment against me or Cuyler. Simply concern and worry. Asking how they can help the next time it happens." She discovered a kind and understanding community that will support her and her family. "I’m not sure if they know how their positive words helped. How much they are appreciated. I am so lucky to live in the community I do. Cuyler is very lucky to have this village surrounding him."

5. Educate strangers. While running errands one day, Hope Maven’s son William ran away from her in a store. Hope ran around the store calling his name, and finally found him at the front door standing with a woman who had found him wandering the parking lot. The woman told Hope she wasn’t fit to be a mother. Upset, Hope wondered whether or not this woman and the crowd of onlookers would understand if she told them about William’s autism. "At that moment I remembered that an experienced mother of a child with autism had given me information cards about autism. I retrieved the cards from my purse and handed one to each of the onlookers, including the Good Samaritan," Hope writes. "It was empowering to educate the public who judged me so harshly."

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From Your Community

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Story Titles and Authors