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Monday, June 4, 2012

Guest Post: Eileen Riley-Hall

I reviewed Eileen's wonderful book recently, and I highly recommend it for parents of girls on the spectrum. --Kim 

Greetings Fellow Special Moms and Dads!

I am the very lucky mom of two amazing girls.  Lizzie is my sweet fifteen year-old who loves Broadway shows and creative writing, and who has Asperger’s.  Caroline, my energetic, smiling thirteen year-old, loves playing her purple trumpet in band, the color pink, and kicking people’s butts at MarioKart, and she has autism.

When my girls were first diagnosed ten years ago (on the same day!), I searched for a book to provide me with information and strategies to help my girls.  All I found were grim tomes telling me all the things my girls would likely never do, or books prescribing strange and scary interventions.  I promised myself if I found a way to help my girls and maintain my sanity (mostly), I would write a book for other parents of girls that encourages as much as it informs.

My book, Parenting Girls on the Autism Spectrum: Overcoming the Challenges and Celebrating the Gifts, was published this past March by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.  The book was inspired by my girls, and I do share some stories about their success and my mistakes.  However, it is not a memoir, but a thoroughly researched, resource book to help parents navigate school, family issues, milestones, friendships, and the emotional issues that can accompany being a special parent.  The book is full of information, comfort, and humor.  You will not find biomedical protocols in my book, just practical advice and strategies for real families.  

My girls have come so much farther than their original diagnoses predicted.  What I learned is that autism is just a part, and not a bad part, of who they are.  Like all people, my daughters are wonderfully complex human beings, with their own unique challenges, talents, and hopes.  I realize now that a diagnosis is just information, not a prophecy of a certain future. 

I am asking if you would check out my book, and if you like what you see, tell your readers about it.  There is so little written about girls and autism, and so little about autism in general that is optimistic and encouraging.  Our children are so wonderful, and autism, though challenging, in no way diminishes their worth or the amazing gifts and grace they have to offer to the world.

Thank you to all of you for the constant inspiration you provide.  

Eileen Riley-Hall, Lizzie’s and Caroline’s mom.

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