What is unique about this book? This story is not about any treatment or cure for autism but rather is unique because it tells the story of an autistic child from birth to 46 years old. It is a story of hope and encouragement.
"A debut memoir chronicles one family’s experiences with an autistic child.
"Our story does not have a 'happily ever after' ending but it is a story of hope and encouragement".
The author makes her goals clear at the outset. Rasmussen wants to help her sons understand how their childhoods may have been shaped by their brother Steven’s autism. She aims to provide comfort to parents of autistic children, assuring them that they are not alone. The author also promotes an overall understanding and acceptance surrounding autism. The book moves chronologically through Steven’s early, middle, and adult years. His early tantrums and other challenging and often dangerous behaviors, such as scaling high fences, made for a sometimes-excruciating experience that tried his parents’ marriage and took attention away from his older brother. His diagnosis of autism at age 3 led to a treatment center that fostered some improvements and allowed for a saner family life, but the author describes ongoing obstacles that required tremendous vigilance and persistence as Steven grew. These included periodic disappearances—Steven would depart to seek swimming pools or elevators, two fascinations that continued in his adulthood. Transitions from routine, whether big or small, could wreak havoc on his ability to function. Teenage years brought sexual urges, but Steven was unable to manage them appropriately without repeated instruction. As an adult, he has lived in several group homes and held many jobs—the system is such that frequent adjustments have been required. The organization and tone of this highly personal book facilitate insight into what autism is like, its deep effect on families, and the countless practical hurdles that must be addressed when advocating for the affected child (and later, the adult with this condition). While the never-ending challenges are discussed candidly, Rasmussen nevertheless succeeds in providing practical observations and transmitting a genuine message of hope. She deftly describes the joy of Steven’s hard-won successes and the evolution of many positive qualities within her circle. The book’s family photographs and a section in which Steven’s father and brothers contribute their perspectives add an intimate feel to the memoir.
A frank and engaging read that explores autism and its long-ranging effects on a family."
This is a story about one family's journey with an autistic family member, Steven; as told by his mother. It is also Steven's story from birth to the present as a man in his early 40's.
It is an engaging and emotional story. At the same time it is an honest portrayal of what it is like to live with autism on a daily basis.
Cindy Rasmussen wrote this story for her children to help them understand what happened in their family when they were growing up, from the perspective of a Mom. Her eldest son, Mark, was only 19 months old when her autistic son, Steven, was born and only 2 1/2 when the first serious problems began. Steven was 6 years old when Geoffrey was born. So although they were there for most of the journey, they have little memory or understanding of the most difficult years for their family. It is her hope that as adults they can read her account and gain a deeper insight and understanding into things that took place in their childhoods and that this knowledge might help them as they go forward in their own lives.
Cindy says: "If you are the parent of an autistic child, I also want to share our story with you so that you know that you are not alone. Your journey will be different than ours because every child is an individual and every family is unique. Our story does not have a “happily ever after” ending, but it is a story of hope and encouragement. We have found no perfect solutions, and we made many mistakes along the way, but we have found ways to overcome the obstacles and to find joy and fulfillment in knowing and loving our autistic child. It is my hope that our story will encourage you to also find a rewarding journey in life."
For all who read this Cindy would like to leave the message that autism is not just a scary label, it has a face and a personality. She wants you to meet Steven, to get to know him as she and her family do and to learn why they love him and why he brings such joy to their lives and the lives of others. There are many “Stevens” out there, they are not all alike, but by knowing Steven through this story Cindy hopes to help readers have a greater understanding and acceptance of others like him.
Page Count: 226 Color Images: 62 Black and White Images: 14 Standard Color 5.5 x 8.5 in or 216 x 140 mm (Demy 8vo) Perfect Bound on White w/Gloss Lamination