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'Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know' review

Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to

Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know Credit: Handout

If you are parent or caregiver of a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the book “Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know” can help you better understand the diagnosis and develop an autism management plan. It also can show you how to access care and services so your child can reach his full potential.

The book -- published by the American Academy of Pediatrics ($14.95) and prepared under the editorial direction of pediatricians Alan Rosenblatt and Paul Carbone, who are autism experts -- covers a range of topics, from what causes ASD and how you can know whether your child has ASD to finding the right behavioral and development treatments, including complementary and alternative medicine.

“Autistic spectrum disorder is what most people know as autism,” which has become a major public health concern. Over the years, several theories have been posited about the causes of autism, including the belief that vaccines cause it, which has not been proven. The writers acknowledge that “we are just beginning to learn about what causes an ASD,” defined as “a group of biologically based neurodevelopmental disorders with a strong genetic component.” Children who have ASDs generally have trouble relating to others socially and may have delayed language skills, among other problems.

The easy-to-read book also features stories of parents who face the struggles of raising kids with ASD. One such parent profiled is Jennifer Wood, “who spent years as a single mother raising three boys with ASDs” and began advocating for her son Tripp, now 10 years old. “For someone well-versed in the challenges of raising children with ASDs, Jennifer says getting a child in therapy is the key — along with a healthy dose of patience. ...  She also recommends that parents talk to each other for support. 'This journey is lonely enough,' she says. 'Do not travel it alone if you don’t have to.' ”

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