Friday, March 11, 2011

'One of Us: A Family's Life with Autism'

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Autism is a spectrum disorder, we all know that, but sometimes, even as a parent of a child on that spectrum, it is hard to understand those that live on the other end.
As the mother of Jack, a young man mainstreamed in school and hopefully destined for independence, I don't have much more deep knowledge of what it is like to parent a more severely affected child than parents of neurotypical children.
In One of Us: A Family's Life with Autism, Mark Osteen shares the story of his son, Cameron, a young man on the severe end of the spectrum. Reading the struggle of Cam and his parents, I was reminded of a comment someone left on a column here several months ago.
"There is autism, and then there is autism," this commenter wrote. "Families affected by autism deal with struggles that families affected by autism do not. Families with autism have struggles of their own, no joke, it's a tough road for everybody. But for families with autism, homework struggles and housecleaning come pretty far down the list, and we couldn't possibly explain to the autism community how incredibly hard it is for those of us affected by autism."

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