Autism now affects one in every 54 boys in the United States. As hard as it is to watch the child struggle, autism’s effects are also felt by his family, teachers and classmates. As a teacher, counselor, consultant and parent of a young man with an autism spectrum disorder, I know.
Every teacher will have a child with autism in her room. Every coach will have a child with autism on his team. Many families will experience this first-hand.
When a parent, especially mothers, first learn of their child’s diagnosis, they scour books and the internet, searching for information on how to help their son or daughter. There is a lot of information out there, much of it by competent authorities. But after a hard day of work and family responsibilities, who wants to study a textbook? I have my doctoral degree in autism, have taught at university on this topic, and keep up with the research in the field. But even I get tired of reading weighty books.
Writers are admonished to show, don’t tell. Kids with autism learn best when shown rather than “talked at”. Why not write a book that shows how a family and a school help a little boy with autism?
So,School Daze was born – a light read aimed at a general audience. It’s full of the challenges inherent in autism plus strategies that make life easier for all concerned. But most of all, it’s a story - a story about a single dad doing the best he can.
After suddenly receiving custody of his five year old son, Ben must learn how to be a dad. That fact that he’d even fathered a child was news to him. Not only does this mean restructuring his sixty-hour work week and becoming responsible for another human being, but also Kyle has autism.
Enter the school system. Under the guidance (and bullying) of a gifted teacher, Ben and Kyle take tentative steps to becoming father and son.
Teacher Melanie Nicols sees Ben as a dead beat dad, but grudgingly comes to admire how he hangs in, determined to learn for his son’s sake. Her admiration grows to more as father and some come to rely on Melanie being a part of their lives.
I’ve worked in schools as a teacher, counselor and consultant for thirty years. My Master’s and Doctorate degrees focused on autism; I also have a son with an autism spectrum disorder. I’m a co-author of the Amazon bestseller The Official Autism 101 Manual. Hundreds of my articles and responses to questions appear on All Experts.com . I have delivered workshops and seminars to thousands participants including at national conferences.
I hope you enjoySchool Daze. The book and free excerpts are available for Kindle on Amazon or in other formats at Smashwords. If you like the book, please leave a review. In late summer of 2012, the second book in the series will be out. Drop in and see how the kids and adults of Madson School are doing.