Parenthood is never without challenges, but some parents have a tougher journey than others.
Andrew and Melissa Martinez Areffi have three beautiful children, all whom are autistic. When they tried to work with their doctors and therapists, they found there were few, if any, resources available to them and what did exist was nearly impossible to find.
Frustrated with the lack of order and the utter confusion of the system plus the challenges that come with raising children with special needs, the couple decided to write a guide for other parents of with children autism.
As Melissa said, “Like all parents, we wanted our kids to have a shot at a happy, ‘normal’ life. We figured all parents of kids with autism deserved the same shot. We give them the tools to accomplish that.”
Enter “Navigating Austism: The Essential How-To By Parents For Parents.” This guide is the singular source for talking to doctors, therapists, and teachers, seeking resources in every state, and samples of debunked complicated paperwork. The book further details dealing with every day situations like going to restaurants, involving your children in activities, and taking vacations together. The developmental steps for autistic children are also a source of confusion for most parents, so the authors have gone to great lengths to examine that as well.
The Areffis consulted with other parents, schools, therapy companies, large corporations, and city governments to compile the information they needed regarding the real and mythical effects of autism on the family, as well as what resources those families require. About half of the book is a very useful series of appendices for state resources, websites, and phone numbers.
The book’s website has a lovely introduction from the authors: “As the parents of three children with autism, we wrote the how-to book we kept looking for but could never find. The first thing you need to know about us is that we’re just like you. Before this started, we had no idea what the functions of behavior were. Like you, we read all the books. None of the books answered the burning questions that kept us up at night. Learn from our mistakes and our triumphs. Now repeat after us: It is not my fault that my child has autism. Good. Now, let’s get to work.”