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A Parent's Guide to Autism

Charles Hart

Parents Guide to Autism
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Reviewer: Allison Martin

A Parent's Guide to Autism provides an up-to-date overview of autism in children to guide parents to an understanding of the different components. Charles Hart is active in the Autism Society and his son and brother were diagnosed with autism. He has a very readable and sympathetic style. While each section is designed to stand on its own, the whole of the book flows right along.

Topics covered in A Parent's Guide to Autism include:

What is it? What are people with autism like?
What are the causes, types and diagnoses?
Discussion of cure, medicine and diet.
Explanation of the components (e.g., sensory disorder, communication disorder).
Treatment and resources for the components of autism.
(Discussions of PDD and Asperger's Syndrome are also included.)

A Parent's Guide provides useful information for those learning about autism, who are interested in the personal and family aspects of treatment. He doesn't provide false hopes but practical advice on acceptance of people with autism. Many helpful suggestions included, along with concrete examples. For example, Hart explains that abnormal responses to stimulation explain many of the symptoms of autism. Useful discussions of sensory problems, language issues (e.g., lack of speed, echolia), and social skills (e.g., eye contact) are an important part of the book. He doesn't sugar coat the issues, but he does explain how parents can work with their children in a caring and effective manner.

Quote from the book:

"We believe the syndrome of autism probably begins before birth. That is why it is considered a congenital birth defect. However, the symptoms usually aren't noticeable for many months, even years. No one can detect the disorder until the child shows delays or disturbances of development. According we call it a developmental disorder...

"People do not make themselves autistic. They do not choose to withdraw from the world of others, nor do they work themselves into a trance with unusual behavior. Their behaviors are the result, not the cause, of unusual neuromotor patterns."

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