Two Long Island moms with children on the autism spectrum are storytellers in the new book "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum" (Chicken Soup Publishing, $14.95).
Amy Giles of Huntington Station wrote "The Seven- Year Twitch," about the initial heartache of her daughter Julia's diagnosis and the joy of Julia's ultimate triumphs; Terri Manzione of Glen Head wrote "Joseph's Wish," about her then-4-year-old son,
Joseph, wanting Santa Claus to bring his autistic and nonverbal little brother, Stuey, 3, the gift of speech for Christmas.
Chicken Soup Publishing calls the book a "portable support group" for parents; the 379-page paperback includes 101 personal tales of joys and challenges from parents and from people who have been diagnosed with autism and Asperger's syndrome.
"When I started on this journey, I was turning to everyone for some hope. No one wanted to promise me anything," says Giles, 46. She says her essay is encouraging and that her daughter is now 11 and in fifth grade in a mainstream classroom. "That's what a parent needs to know, that things are going to get better."
Stuey Manzione is now 18 and living on a residential farm in the Catskills; he'll speak in five- to seven-word sentences, says Terri Manzione. Joseph is 19 and studying special education at SUNY Plattsburgh.