Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
I have been raising my two sons that are on opposite ends of the autism spectrum for thirteen years now. The father has not really been in the picture, never lived with us and has been dealing with his Paranoid Schizophrenia. He has been on Risdperdal for a few years now, which seems to be working. He can manage for almost two hours one day each week while watching a movie with my oldest son who is higher functioning than his nonverbal sibling.
Each week I give him a book to read since it helps him stay focused and learning about various subjects. Once he finished reading A New Earth and Become a Better You I suggested reading autism books since I have a large collection of books I have yet to read. The first book I suggested, Understanding Autism for Dummies turned out to be a book he had read from the library a year earlier. Who knew the Dad would do this on his own. He is currently reading Running with Walker: A Memoir. I read the book long ago and will do a review that includes both our perspectives.
He started with Beast by David Donch. When he returned this book the following week he told me it was a real tearjerker. That statement surprised me, but I did not ask to elaborate so they could watch a movie. After he finished the sixth book I suggested giving me his opinion on each book so I could share with readers. This is from a male perspective, over fifty years old who has Paranoid Schizophrenia and is the non custodial parent to two teens on the autism spectrum.
Beast is about a nine year old boy named Nathaniel. He has autism and is lowkey. He is in a hardball league at school and keeps getting passed up for the position of pitcher for the team. He finally got the shot at it and became the school hero. All the spectators in the bleachers would yell Beast each time he threw the ball. This was his nickname. This is a paperback that is a fast read.
Al Capone Does My Shirts is a novel by Gennifer Choldenko that is set in the 1930s. Al Capone was at the federal prison the same time the family was since the Father worked there as a prison guard. His son Moose is a around twelve years old. His sibling, Natalie is younger and severely autistic. The Mother wants her to get into an institution located in San Francisco so she can learn to be semi-independent. Natalie barely talks and has no services to help her.
The warden's daughter befriends Moose, where their shenanigans get them into trouble when they break security codes. When I asked their father to explain the name of the book he told me that Al Capone ironed a shirt for someone that contained a message. Moose somehow got a message to Capone to see a lady for helping Natalie. A new wing was added to the Institution for Natalie.
I think if you like reading books from this time period and interested in an Al Capone mystery this might be suitable, plus it shows how autism was handled long ago.
Breaking Autism's Barriers is a Father's Story by Bill Davis. This was the most liked book by my ex husband. The book covers son Chris from birth through his teen years. The family consisted of of Bill, Jae, Jessica and Chris. The Davis family lived in Pennsylvania where Bill was a bartender.
At first Chris could not talk and used alphabet blocks to communicate. Jae developed programs for them and got funded for $25,000 from the school board. They used college students in their program, paying $7.00 per hour. The book covers fundraisers, denial from grandparents, except for Bill's mother. Bill got an autism tattoo on his chest. Bill attended the IEP meetings.
My ex husband could relate to Bill and learned more about the trials and tribulations that go along with autism day in and day out. He was impressed and then saddened when I told him Jae died several years ago from cancer and at one point Bill and Chris were homeless. Thankfully autism organizations helped them get back into a home and stabilize Chris.
This is a book that will help fathers and grandfathers with insight into a household that lived with autism and worked on therapies and legal issues.
Against Medical Advice by James Patterson with Hal Friedman tells of one family's medical mystery. My ex did not like reading a book that was not specifically on autism. This covers Cory who has Tourette Syndrome and Hal Friedman's son.
The Doctors say that the Tourette's cannot be cured. Cory has leg, neck and arm twitches. He also has facial and head twitches plus vocal tics. These include swearing, which is common with those who have Tourette Syndrome.
The book covers Cory from birth to his 20s. According to my ex there are too many chapters in this book. He felt cheated since the book seemed to be written from Cory but hidden.
The Legend of Mickey Tussler is a novel by Frank Nappi. Mickey Tussler is a 17 year old young man with autism. Coach Murphy finds Frank throwing apples into a barrel with great accuracy and recruits him into the minor leagues. Mickey turned out to be an all star pitcher.
Murphy started dating Mickey's Mother. They ended up being married for seventeen years. The legend was how Mickey became a legendary pitcher by taking an underdog team behind in the rankings and brought them out into the forefront. They were a number one team.
Born on a Blue Day is a Memoir by Daniel Tammet, who is an autistic savant. He associates his autistic savant in numeric sequencing configuration and arithmetic calculations with color coding, which is the reasoning behind the name of the book.
Daniel comes from a large family consisting of three brothers and five sisters. He is openly gay and talks about his lifestyle often in the book. His savant skills were discovered when his younger brother asked him to do a calculation in his head.
Daniel broke pie arithmetic record to 22,500 places, which is a European record. He did not go to college, has been on David Letterman show, has his own website and does language tutorials for a living. His brain is being studied by Science for his calculation ability using color coding.
Please note that I have not personally read these books. They are in my reading piles behind several other books. Since the father of my kids read them all I took the opportunity to have him tell me his impressions of the books to share with other males who have kids on the autism spectrum or are related to autism in another manner.
So this is a brief look at several books that might be suitable for gift giving to the Dads or Grandparents out there wanting to read something on the topic of autism that is more male friendly and relating to their interests.
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.