All I Can Handle: I'm No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with AutismAll I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism by Kim Stagliano
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There is a Chinese Proverb that reads “A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket”. In the case of Kim Stagliano’s book, I felt I was carrying a deadly jungle in my pocket, full with venemous snakes and quick sand. Very seldom have I felt so uncomfortable reading a book. Mostly due the lack of respect for the views of proponents of neurodiversity (such as myself), but also due to the presentation of controversial views and strategies which lack of solid scientific foundation, and which are prone to confuse and alarm not only parents of newly-diagnosed children, but also the public in general. I did finish the journey, though, and read until the very last page. I feel very well equipped for these readings these days, being vested which knowledge which I have obtained over the years from people living with Autism, experts, professionals, parents and advocates (in no particular order: Temple Grandin, Tony Attwood, Ole Sylvester, Kirsten Callesen, Christina Sommer, Susanne Holst Ravn, Heidi Thamestrup, Bettina Bové, Anne Skov Jensen, Louise Egelund Jensen, Kathrine Felland Gunnløgsson, and many more!). But most importantly, I am equipped with the experience of being an Autism Mom for 9 years (and counting), which allows me to be more discerning with respect to strategies, treatments and the like. It has to be said – I am truly happy that I didn’t read this book in my early days. And even more happy to see how far my family has come in terms of forming a serious, trusted and reliable network. I leave this particular jungle behind now by sending warm thoughts towards the author. I can’t help but think about what book she could have written if she had had the network, help and support I have. Perhaps not an account of an Italian garden in April, but it is my guess that at least there would have been a jungle with more bridges. (Post-edit: and with this I mean, it would perhaps be a book where we – the author and I – could engage in common enquiry, instead of having a feeling of “knowing” – and “my knowledge is better than yours”, which is what feeds the autism wars. May this be the lesson for me – to never become so sure of what I know as to deny to consider and respect other views).

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