“The Importance of Realizing You Are Not Alone”, this is what Pamela Bryson-Weaver hopes her book, Living Autism Day-by-Day: Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage will accomplish… This book may be read all at once and then re-read day-by-day. The second time hopefully you will take the time to journal in your feelings as this has proven to be very therapeutic.
The entries address the world of autism and include some of the following:
inspiring stories and quotes
facts and statistics
hope and encouragement
strategies and tips on autistic child-care
insights for family, clients, and friends wanting to learn more about autism
I believe there must be some truth to the adage “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”I believe many mothers and fathers out there are on the same page as I am when facing autism, a lifelong struggle. Hearing it for the first time felt like I am drowning in a bottomless pit. Was I scared? Confused? Angry? Yes, I was engulfed in so many emotions all at the same time. It was scary and heartbreaking to look at a cherubic 2-year old knowing that his whole life will be fraught with challenges and limitations—and knowing that you can only do so much.
Fifteen years ago, I had my youngest son diagnosed with Autism. It rendered me speechless. Having survived my eldest son’s Tourette’s and ADHD, I really thought nothing will ever shake my world again. But after John’s autism diagnosis, I caught myself in the midst of a seismic shift that will forever alter my perspective about motherhood and life in general.
My first instinct was to look up the disorder in the library. But books about autism fifteen years ago are scant, if not limited. Autism is a hush-hush subject and many families who are in the midst of such a turmoil often caught themselves off-guard. Like me, they were also in a quandary on what to do, where to go and how to start anew. Along with the interest of learning about autism is that undeniable feeling of helplessness wherein you felt like screaming “go away!”
Frankly, the easiest recourse was to wallow in sadness. It has no known cure or cause after all. It was as vague as the issue of alien sightings. There is no definite answer but only that this is going to create changes in your family. It will create a lot of pressure and bring out bucketful of tears. It can either break or make your bond stronger.
I was told that my Johnny, my sweet little boy, is going to grow up differently. That he will never live normally. At some point I loathe the word “normal” so much that I felt like pulling my hair each time someone points out that reality. It cannot be helped that there will always be some insensitive people who do not mind their tongues when talking to you. What hurts me the most was that they do not even show remorse when they label your kid—in your face!
But I refused to give in. After the shock of the diagnosis mellowed down, I began my journey as an advocate. I left my career path in the dental industry and become an activist for children with special needs. With the help of some community members undergoing the same journey as I do, we were able to champion the financial aid of $20,000 per year for all children diagnosed with autism in New Brunswick. I became the president of the Autism Society of New Brunswick and then, served as a director of Pee Wee Active Living (formally Junior Special Olympics, a program that kicked off in Hanwell).
I refused to give in further to the depressing thought of a disorder that has no cure and passed, via the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, a resolution that gave rise to the support of individuals with autism from the government. Resolution 04.08 was passed in the national arena on 2004 and had given a lot of assistance to autism families in need.
If there is one thing I have learned about my son’s autism (as well as my Joshua’s ADHD and Tourette’s), it is to have faith and letting that faith guide you to make positive changes not just in your life but in others as well. There is no one in this world who can advocate for a child than his or her own parents. To make things come full circle, however, you need to include others in your advocacy.
Indeed, autism is a road less travelled. The journey is fraught with difficulties, trials and tribulations. But these challenges should not be seen as hindrances. The only kryptonite that curtails your power to move and work around it is your own disposition in life. Have faith. Reach out to others. There is nothing more delightful than trudging an uphill climb with someone to hold your hands.
This book saved my family … I don’t believe I would have have been able to do that if I hadn’t understood. Your book is a must have. If they had a first aid book bag this be the first book. I impressed a few people that day. Even my self.
If you’ve ever had questions about ASD’s or want to know how to help a friend, family or loved struggling with an autism spectrum disorder, this is THE resource that makes it simple and easy to navigate. Pamela gives clear advice and words of hope along with resources that will help you offer your families a balanced and loving life despite the diagnoses of ASD!
From the initial view of the cover, I quickly understood that this was a book which would demonstrate ways to put life back together and make life more solid. This book is certainly well written, containing numerous insights about life, for someone who has had to deal with the life-change of autism, and not. What a wonderful resource that people who deal with autism can turn to for inspiration and help toward the future.
I do know of life-change, after getting hit by a truck and laying in a coma for 37 days. Then, after awakening, having to learn to everything physical again (although, if my mind I know what to do, I had to retrain my body.) Then, 18 years later, getting hit by a truck, the second time, much of my body broken. In a large way, autism and brain injury are similar, so I see that this is a much needed book, even if you have not had to deal with either of these two areas.
Thank you Pamela, for bringing to us these words of hope. Many can learn from this wonderful book about making change work for us.
Pamela Bryson Weaver takes you right into the daily journey of raising an autistic child. You will feel her love, frustration, sadness, and joys throughout the year as you go through the days, as well as her determination to help her son and all autistic children. This is a must read for parents, counselors, child workers, and anyone who has contact with autistic children.
Living autism day.by.day is a fantastic book of daily reflections for caregivers of autistic children. Not only does it offer coping strategies for caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed but it is also super EDUCATIONAL, providing resources that the reader can pursue for additional information. Pamela’s love for her own child with autism and her perseverance in providing the best possible upbringing for him radiates from every page of the book and will truly INSPIRE and help all who pick up this book!
Pamela Bryson-Weaver tells a heartfelt story that can help anyone cope and thrive who has an autistic child. I like how she weaves her story, struggle, and success in a creative way. The daily reflections are powerful. Living autism day.by.day is an enlightened way to look at family harmony, health and happiness when given a diagnosis of ASD. Her book delivers powerful information in a simple and easy to format.
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