One day last fall Jack asked me, “What color do you see for Monday?” as I heaved a chicken into the oven. “What?” I said distractedly, turning from the oven to slice some potatoes at the counter. It was late afternoon, and I was preparing dinner while also managing the demands of homework and tired toddlers. “Do you see days as colors?”
Raising five children would be challenge enough for most parents, but when one of them has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the adventures become even more fascinating. In this moving–and often funny–memoir, author Carrie Cariello invites us to take a peek into exactly what it takes to get through each day with four boys and one girl, and shows us the beauty and wonder of a child who views the world through a different lens. (-synopsis from Goodreads)
As a special education teacher I have had many students on the autism spectrum. I also have a young cousin with Asperger’s Syndrome and one with PDD. Going into this book I had a lot of knowledge about children on the spectrum but all of my knowledge is as an outsider who doesn’t have to live with a child who is on the spectrum. This book really made me think about what life is like for the parents and siblings of a child with autism.
This book is an easy read. The author talks about how she and her family felt when their second son was diagnosed with PDD, a form of autism and how they coped with it. It also shares stories about how Jack is different from the other children in the family but how he is just as much a part of it as they are.
I thought it was great how the author speaks about how her son would go up to people and demand to know something. At first she was embarrassed by these incidents but she quickly learned that he was trying to be social and communicating with others so this embarrassing event turned out to be a mini celebration each time it occurred.
The entire book is about Cariello’s family and how they struggled to raise 5 children, one of them with special needs. It’s nice to read about it from her point of view and see the struggles and the successes as they happened. It was also interesting to see how the Jack’s siblings related to him and how they felt when he behaved out of the ordinary. I think it’s important to realize just how many people in our society have autism and that their “ordinary” may differ from our own.
As a teacher of children with special needs I loved that the author finally came to the conclusion that she didn’t need to “fix” her son because he has autism. It’s more about loving and understanding why he behaves the way he does then trying to fix his behaviors.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.