Author: Leeann Whiffen
Grade: A - All ages
Publication: March 1, 2009 by Sourcebooks,Inc.
A Child's Journey Out of Autism is the true story of a young boy, Clay Whiffen, who was diagnosed with autism when he was a year and a half. Written by his mother, Leeann, the book starts at his birth, showing him as a normal, happy baby with some colic and digestion difficulties. The book follows along with him as he hits the developmental milestones, walking and saying a few words by his first birthday. Then we see his gradual and terrifying regression at a year and a half. His mother's refusal, at first, to accept autism as a diagnosis for her son. Then her fierce and determined effort to do whatever it takes to reclaim her son. Years of struggle is what it takes. Financial struggle to pay for the treatments; emotional struggle as the family pours so much energy and time into every aspect of their sons life, even to the extent of a special diet; health struggles as both parents face burn out. Yet in the end, their sacrifices are worth it. Just before time to start kindergarten, Clay is tested and taken off of the autism spectrum. What does that mean? A cure.
This is a truly important and brave book. I hope that it helps to give the autism epidemic in this country some further attention. Through her own family's story, Leeann is able to give hope that autism can be overcome. She explores some of the possible causes, siting her research, and even the opposing studies; and she also explores in detail the methods which helped to cure her son. I was impressed with her openness in the book. How can we help to inspire and encourage others if we are not honest with our own emotions: the positive and negative. Whiffen does not appear to try and whitewash herself, which is why I think this book is so powerful. Those suffering with similar issues know that they are not alone in their feelings. Those of us you have no experience with autism are able to clearly see the struggles inherent. I laughed and cried while reading this book, and can't imagine anyone making it through with a dry eye.
I would recommend this book to anyone who cares about the health and future of the children in our country; whether you have children with autism, or no children at all. This is an important issue that effects 1/165 children born after 2000. It needs more attention so that more funding can go into the research, and more children can be saved.
Visit the Whiffens: http://www.leeannwhiffen.com/, or the family blog: http://www.whiffenfamily.blogspot.com/.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Author: Leeann Whiffen