Parents with a kid on the spectrum all say they remember the day their child got an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis vividly. The news sparks an array of mixed emotions—and then the urgent desire to spring into action. The one thing experts agree on is that early intervention is key to helping a child with autism reach their full potential.
This incredible resource will help parents create a solid treatment plan and get all the best supports they need for their child from diagnosis right through to adulthood. Covering everything from family and school life to self-care and financial planning, this comprehensive, warm and accessible manual provides clear advice, both from experts and ASD families in the trenches.
It’s written by Joel Yanofsky, the bestselling author of Bad Animals: A Father's Accidental Education in Autism and father of a teenager on the spectrum. Here he shares why he wanted to help other autism parents on their journey:
My son, Jonah, who’s about to turn 19, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) some 15 years ago. Most days, it feels like a lifetime has passed since then. Writing an e-book, however, seems to have reversed that feeling. Some days, I feel as if I just received the news. The experience of interviewing researchers, doctors, therapists, teachers, advocates and parents, in particular, has brought that challenging, life-altering moment in time back in vivid, often dismaying detail. It has also made it impossible not to wish, on occasion, that I’d known then what I know now.
In a way, The Now What? Parents’ Guide to Autism is meant to grant that wish for families just receiving their diagnosis and just beginning to come to terms with the reality of it. My hope is that this book can offer families dealing with autism—with all of its struggles and rewards—a glimpse into what their child’s future might look like. And, more important, what they can do to prepare for it.
Several years ago, I wrote a book called Bad Animals: A Father’s Accidental Education in Autism. It was a memoir and was never intended to be a guide for anyone, even me. It was deeply personal, as honest as I could make it, and informed by my dominant feelings at the time—confusion and ambivalence. The Now What? guide is also honest, but it comes from the opposite impulse and contains the opposite ambition. My intention is for this e-book to be as straightforward, practical and easily accessible as possible.
The focus, this time, is on understanding ASD and how to parent a child following their ASD diagnosis. This time, the goal is to equip parents with the information, resources and advice they need to do the best they can for their child, as well as their family. My hope is that parents reading this e-book will feel as if they’re having a chat with well-informed, practical-minded, caring friends and sympathetic, down-to-earth experts. I hope parents think of what they find here as a kind of backup support group—one that won’t sugar-coat the facts of life with ASD but that also puts the emphasis on learning more about autism, in order to cope with it more effectively.
Of course, I have no illusions about this e-book being definitive. No e-book or, for that matter, no book, series of books or library dedicated to autism ever could be. The same goes for the Internet. So much still remains unknown about ASD that the best someone like me, a parent and writer, can expect to do is encourage others to understand a little more every day and choose the strategies that are going to be most helpful to them as parents. My wish for this e-book is that it supports parents in that desire we all share to learn a little more and do a little better. —Joel Yanofsky