November 1, 2013

Raising Autism: Surviving the Early Years

Posted in AMT's Faves, Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:54 am by autismmommytherapist

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It’s done! Five days ago I pushed the “I accept” button on Amazon’s self-publishing program, Create Space, and yesterday my memoir, Raising Autism: Surviving the Early Years became available to the public.

Yes, there is (at least) one very large glass of wine in my immediate future.

I’ve written about the book before, so I won’t go into lengthy detail again, but I have to admit to all of you it’s a huge moment for me, plus a relief to have it finished. I started it seven years ago when I shipped my first child off to full day school, wrote about a third of it when I was pregnant with the second one, then hurried to finish it just in case our last child would ultimately be diagnosed with autism as well. The “just in case” came true, and I put the book on hold to once again work with one of my kids, and finally had time this year to see it published.

As I mentioned before in my first piece, all the profits will be split between four autism organizations- namely Autism Speaks, Parents of Autistic Children (POAC), Someone Special Needs You (SSNY), and my son’s school. I’m hoping I get to write some big fat checks to these worthy organizations who have all played such a big part in Justin’s and Zach’s progress and happiness, and by extension, our family’s.

Please consider purchasing it (it’s available on Amazon, the CreateSpace eStore, and will be available on Kindle in about three weeks) and/or spreading the word to anyone you think might be interested in reading it. I promise my sense of humor comes through, and I pinky swear it’s not a “weeper”. Simply writing our story was incredibly cathartic for me- my deepest wish is that it will help those of you in the autism community as well.

Below is a brief excerpt from “Raising Autism”, a review, and links to where you can purchase the book. As always, a huge thank-you to my readers for their continued support, it means the world to me!


Excerpt from Raising Autism:

“Raising Autism” is the story of how my eldest son and I survived his early years without dissolving entirely the fragile and tenuous bond we had crafted with one another since birth. It is the story of how his father and I made every difficult decision, from choosing his schools, his therapies, and even to where we would ultimately come to reside, while constantly agonizing over whether we had made the right, and often irrevocable, choices. It explains how his diagnosis called into question everything I thought I knew about myself and motherhood, and challenged me to consider exactly what I was willing to surrender for my child- career, geography, friends, and perhaps my known self. This hard-won knowledge would sustain me through not just my firstborn’s diagnosis, but ultimately through my second child’s as well.

Over time I have learned to embrace the altered landscape of our dreams, to measure the depth of my love for my sons, and most importantly, to reconcile with their diagnosis and move on with my life. I’ve named this book Raising Autism for several reasons. In part the title harkens to the often Herculean task of simply getting through the day while encountering the myriad of challenges autism presented to our family. I also called it Raising Autism as celebration for those parents able to conjure a different concept of family, of what it means to love, respect, and take pride in their child while simultaneously rewriting a new version of the rest of their lives as well.

This is our story.

Review for Raising Autism:

“It is a thing of beauty that McCafferty constantly finds some way to draw poetry out of her daily experiences, dealing with her sons’ autism…She expresses herself with a fine mix of candid humor, wit and grace… Her unique parental insights and perspectives make “Raising Autism” an excellent piece of literature for thousands of parents out there who are experiencing autism’s double-edged sword of confusion and wonder for the very first time…”

– Vanessa Ira, Managing Editor, Exceptional Parent Magazine

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Autism-Surviving-Early-Years/dp/1484912616/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=138…

Link to CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/4264622

May 11, 2011

“The House on Hurley Pond Road”, Review Part Two

Posted in Fun Stuff tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:59 am by autismmommytherapist

A couple of months ago I wrote a “pre-review”  about a book called “The House on Hurley Pond Road”, written by a compelling local author named Darren Fitzgerald. I “plugged” him prior to reading his actual work because he has generously deemed a portion of his profits to POAC (Parents of Autistic Children), and when I found out he’d be at the first POAC walk-a-thon, I hoped the post would encourage people to take it upon themselves to meet him. I’ve since had the opportunity to actually read his work (I ordered it all by myself on Amazon, I know you’re proud), and would just like to say a few words about the writing now that I’ve had the pleasure of perusing his book.

Frankly, it scared the crap out of me.

As I mentioned before, I’m no newbie to the horror genre, having read multiple Stephen King books to their tattered ends as an adolescent, and I’ve steeled myself through any number of terrifying movies as well. I’ve never quite gotten over Linda Blair’s psychotic twirling (a fear only intensified while living a mile from the Georgetown apartment in which it was filmed), but for the most part, I’m fairly immune to the “scary stuff”. This time however, I’m not sure if it was the writing style, which was compelling, or the constant action, which was riveting, or the fact I drive by the street in which his house was located at least once a week. The truth is, I couldn’t put it down, didn’t even skip to the end to see what I predicted would be a horrifying outcome, as I am wont to do.

Honestly, I ignored my kids to finish it.

For the most part, my ability to read is confined to a period between 8:30 and 8:45 PM, that vast expanse of time which encompasses two (in theory) sleeping children, and my last remaining minutes of coherent consciousness (suffice it to say, Barnes and Noble isn’t making much money off of me these days). It’s not really possible for me to read when the kids are home, what with Justin needing constant second-to-second surveillance and Zach constantly asking me to take on the role of various dinosaurs I’ve never heard of, but for this book, I broke all the rules. I brought it into the laundry room with me between loads, and stole a couple of minutes there. I engulfed a few pages while playing hide-and-seek with my youngest (guess who got to hide, and who got to “count silently” in her head). Of course, it came into the bathroom with me, and on more than one occasion my husband had to rip it out of my hands so he could “tell me something” (but really, what’s more important than poltergeists?).

Clearly, I loved it.

Darren, who is not only a contributor to POAC, but appears to be a really nice guy (and if I’m going to blow off my kids to read somebody’s book, that’s important to me as well), will be promoting his work at the Monmouth County Mall’s Barnes and Noble on Saturday, May 21st, at 7:00 PM. If I wasn’t putting my own little demons to bed, I’d be there, and I encourage you to make the time if you can to go say hello, and purchase his book (if you dare!). It’s nice these days not only to discover a good read, but to know the author behind it is a good person too.

Thanks again Darren for contributing to POAC, and best of luck!