An excerpt from The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide by Susan Senator

amsgcover300Susan Senator, the author of “Making Peace With Autism” has a new book coming out — “The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide.” Here is an excerpt (there’s more on her insightful  blog,

No matter the age of your kids, there are ways to have fun—ways that both parents and kids can enjoy. Maybe this is obvious, but it’s important to be reminded of it and keep it in mind during trying times. Too often we let ourselves get dragged under by caregiving obligations, and we forget about simple happiness. Your fun may mean choosing an ordinary,no-fail activity, such as a trip to the playground, where you might bring along a crossword puzzle for yourself—unless,that is, playgrounds are particularly difficult places for your autistic child. For instance, my friend Sheila’s son used to take every opportunity to scale the high fences that surrounded our park. Having a few moments to yourself might give you the energy to then enjoy the next moment, when your child needs your attention again.

Ed from Ohio says, “Sometimes we take our son to the park and he uses all the equipment. Sometimes, he will justwalk around the tennis courts thirty times. It’s not all fun—but it’s not all bad, either.” This may not sound like much of a rave, but the thing is, parenting any kid is like that: not all fun, and not all bad.

via Susan Senator: Susan’s Blog: Excerpt Three from AMSG Autism Mom’s Survival Guide.

Book Review – Saving Ben: A Father’s Story of Autism by Dan E. Burns | The Cuckleburr Times

savingbenDan Burns’ memoir- “Saving Ben: A Father’s Story of Autism” has struck a chord in the autism community. It is no surprise that the book has reached Amazon Sales Rank as #1 Special Needs category in September 2009-the story touches readers on many levels. Obviously it is sad that Ben was diagnosed at three years of age with a profound developmental disability, so profound that doctors recommended institutionalization. However, it is uplifting to read of the monumental parental intervention dubbed- “The Ben Project” that transformed Ben from a nonverbal child who put all objects into his mouth and ears, smeared feces, screamed from sensory overload and fled at every opportunity into a young man who could crack a joke, knew his left shoe from right, brushed his teeth and held down a job at Walmart as his aide supervised. Proud papa Burns has even posted a YouTube video showing Ben bowl a strike.

via Book Review – Saving Ben: A Father’s Story of Autism by Dan E. Burns | The Cuckleburr Times.

Alzheimer’s memoirs tell families’ stories

At 52, David Brewer was athletic and outgoing, a retired member of the Coast Guard who loved the water and worked as assistant harbor master for the three-bay area of Osterville, Centerville and Cotuit.

Then came Alzheimer’s.

Help for caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and there are a variety of sources and events you can use.

Author events:

* Support group: Author Sonja Brewer is coordinating a support group for Young Onset/Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (people diagnosed before age 65) caregivers through Alzheimer’s Services of Cape Cod & the Islands. The group meets from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of the month in the first-floor conference room at Rehabilitation Hospital of the Cape and Islands, 311 Service Road, East Sandwich. For information, call 508-775-5656.

* Book signing: Brewer will sign copies of “Surviving Normal” from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at Orleans Council on Aging, 150 Rock Harbor Road.

* Blog: John Thorndike is posting comments and thoughts on his blog,

Other events:

* Web conference: “The Best Care for Your Parents: Senior Care Solutions and Potential Pitfalls,” 7 p.m. Nov. 19, hosted by Suzanne Mintz, president and CEO of the nonprofit National Family Caregivers Association, and Home Instead Senior Care co-founder and CEO Paul Hogan. Register at

* New books: Gloria G. Barsamian, a retired social worker and medical health specialist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, has just published “Sustenance and Hope for Caregivers of Elderly Parents” (Praeger, 125 pages, $27.96). Dr. Owen Surman of Newton has published “The Wrong Side of an Illness,” his account of caring for his wife during her battle with cancer. Learn more about the book at

* Conference: 12th annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Conference, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at Christ the King Parish Center, Route 151, Mashpee. Tuition: $95 for 6.3 CEUs. Information: 508-775-5656.

* Information: Alzheimer’s Services of Cape Cod & the Islands,, 508-775-5656, e-mail [email protected] National Family Caregivers Association: or 800-896-3650.

Joe Thorndike was managing editor of Life magazine after World War II, helping to steer the magazine at the height of its popularity. Founder of American Heritage and Horizon magazines and author of three books — editor of many more — he enjoyed a life full of literary pursuits and his home on Cape Cod.

Then Thorndike stopped reading, stopped writing and eventually stopped holding detailed conversations. Alzheimer’s had arrived.

Thorndike was 92.

Now the experiences of both men and their families have been chronicled in two new memoirs, written by their primary caregivers.

via Alzheimer’s memoirs tell families’ stories |

Man writes book on ‘Dads and Autism’

CALIFON – Borough resident Emerson B. Donnell III will offer a workshop and sign his new book “Dads and Autism, How To Stay in the Game,” this Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Califon Bookstore, 72 Main St.

Donnell’s first workshop will take place at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Clinton Book Shop, 33 Main St., Clinton.

A second workshop will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Califon Bookstore, 72 Main St., Califon.

It is open to anyone – parents, professionals, teachers, therapists, or anyone with an interest in a new view of the treatment of autism and in ways to help the families of autistic children.

Book-signings are a new event for 45-year old Donnell but so are many things in his life these days. Ever since his only son, Emerson IV, was diagnosed with autism two years ago, this father’s life has changed radically.

“When we learned that our baby boy was autistic, my wife Jen and I were thrown into another dimension,” says Donnell. “I needed something to help me figure out what to do, so I searched everywhere for information and especially for books.”

via Recorder Community Newspapers > Hunterdon Review > News > Califon man writes book on ‘Dads and Autism’.

Book review: ‘Cowboy and Wills’ by Monica Holloway

“Cowboy and Wills” is a charming memoir about a couple who come to their wits’ end when they learn that their 3-year-old son, Wills, has “autistic spectrum disorder.” Wills is extremely high-functioning; he not only talks a blue streak but picks up on jokes and uses family slang. His main symptoms seem to be an aversion to certain textures he hates bubble bath, a fear of other kids and crowds, a hatred of loud sounds and a tendency to break down in sobbing fits when any of these things occur.

via Book review: Carolyn See on ‘Cowboy and Wills’ by Monica Holloway –

Fine Motor Skills for Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents And Professionals

The popular book, Fine Motor Skills for Children with Down Syndrome is now available in an expanded new edition. Written by an occupational therapist who has worked extensively with children with Down syndrome, and is also the mother a teenager with Down syndrome, this book explains the best practices and procedures for helping children master daily living skills for home, school, and an independent future.

via Fine Motor Skills for Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents And Professionals (Topics in Down Syndrome) | Enlightened Care Giving – Life as a Caregiver.

Family Meals: Coming Together to Care for an Aging Parent

Michael Tucker and his wife, Jill Eikenberry, are enjoying the early years of retirement in their dream house, a beautiful 350-year-old stone farmhouse in the central Italian province of Umbria, when life rears its ugly head on their summer plans. Jill’s mother’s second husband, Ralph, has passed away, and Michael and Jill must leave the respite of the Italian countryside and travel westward to console Lora, Jill’s mother, and help her plan her future. Thus begins Family Meals, a beautifully told memoir that explores the meaning of family and examines the sacrifices we make for those we love.

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Know someone with Alzheimer’s? Read this book. “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova

This book completely altered my view of the Alzheimer’s patient. It was heartbreaking, depressing at times, and ultimately frustrating to experience this process with “Alice.” But it was also fascinating, inspiring and amazing.

If you know anyone with Alzheimer’s, particularly a family member, I strongly, strongly encourage you to read this book. If you do, please tell me what you think — I’m very curious to hear others’ thoughts.

via Written Permission: Know someone with Alzheimer’s? Read this book..

Beyond just coping

Ruth Knott-Schroeder likes the small-town feel of East Multnomah County. She lives outside the urban area in east Gresham and sees some of her clients in her Sandy office.

The rest of her clients could be in another state or another country. It matters not to the professional counselor and coach for living. She can coach over the phone or in people’s homes. She also travels to speak at workshops and trains other coaches.

Because she has an 18-year-old son affected with autism, she has had to become an expert on that topic. And the first thing she learned was that autism affects an entire community.

via Beyond just coping | The Autism News.