Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Talking Autism: Parenting Your Unique Child (Book review)

Over the past eight or so years since our youngest girl received a diagnosis of autism, I've read a fair few books on the topic of autism and Pathological Demand Avoidance. I wrote about my favourites a few months back; you can read about them in my post Books to help with Pathological Demand Avoidance.

There's now another book to add to that list - it's called Talking Autism: Parenting Your Unique Child, and it's written by Victoria Hatton. 

talking autism book by victoria hatton
What I love most about this book, is the fact that it's written by a mum who also happens to be a teacher; a specialist teacher, who also happens to be a mum of a child with SEND. Victoria has spent 20 years working with children and young people on the Spectrum across a range of settings from home to specialist school. That means that she has a wealth of experience of different children and different situations, including those with Pathological Demand Avoidance, and she shares all of that experience and practical advice with us in this book. 

The introduction makes it very clear that one size does not fit all; a fact which is often forgotten in our education system or when standard parenting techniques are suggested. The opening chapters set the scene about diagnosis, how to tell friends and family, girls on the spectrum and applying for an EHCP. The remaining three quarters of the book is about strategies, which is, let's be honest, what most parents would like help with. 

Big topics such as sensory overload, understanding triggers and helping your child to sleep are covered, alongside many more areas of concern such as friendship issues, personal hygiene and understanding emotions, which are all equally important and challenging. Homework, revision, Christmas and transitions are also discussed, as well as how to reduce demands and manage meltdowns. There is a section on rewards and consequences, and whilst it is often said that these don't work for children with Pathological Demand Avoidance, that shouldn't be considered a blanket ruling and the strategies in here are well worth considering.
back page of talking autism
The penultimate section in her book will be particularly helpful to many I know - 'What If School Isn't Working?'. This offers strategies on how to encourage those who are school refusing back through the door, but also great advice which can be passed on to schools about how best to reintegrate these children.

Victoria closes her book with the best advice to parents - remember that you matter too. SEND parents spend a lot of time at breaking point, largely because the challenges of the system are so great, and we need to take time to recognise that. 

Victoria has a great positive outlook and is passionate about helping others to see their own potential. Her book is available from her own website,
autismconsultancyinternational.com, along with many other great resources, including details of the supportive community she runs, called #UniqueAndSuccessful.




Disclosure: I was sent this book to review. I would consider Victoria to be a friend of mine; we met through blogging and she has offered me personal advice along the way but my review is honest and fair, as always.


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