2 April is sanctioned by United Nations as World Autism Awareness Day, established to increase the understanding and acceptance of autism and to foster support for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their parents.
Whether you’re a parent or caregiver of children with ASD or want to understand more about loved ones with the condition or who are parenting a child with it, the book My Unique Child: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Autism may be one of the resources that can help.
A practical guide book based on 3.5 years of research, interviews, and real-life stories of autism families in Singapore, My Unique Child covers issues that parents will encounter with their child at every step of their lives, from diagnosis to adulthood. In other words, it’s very comprehensive.
And it’s not surprising that the book is a trusted resource. After all, the author Jasmine Goh has been volunteering as a teacher to children with ASD and attended numerous courses and workshops to help her understand the condition better. My Unique Child was published in August 2018, and Goh has continued to volunteer and advocate for the community through giving talks in schools and churches.
My Unique Child: A review
I haven’t had the chance to directly interact with anyone with autism, but I still found the book insightful; it was a good way to understand this common condition better and empathise with the community. (According to a report in 2016, 1 in 150 children in Singapore has autism, a rate that’s higher than the World Health Organisation’s global figure.)
I was glad that My Unique Child wasn’t presented in a medical or technical format. Instead, the book offers bite-sized content written in reader-friendly layman terms. This will certainly help parents and caregivers of a variety of backgrounds be able to take down useful notes and apply them with their children.
I like that the advice given were practical and very actionable. In fact, after every chapter, an Action Plan is provided to guide parents in supporting their child with autism. Besides recommending resources for more in-depth reading, the book also shared real-life anecdotes that will give parents an idea of the issues they can look forward to as they reach different milestones with their child.
Other than offering advice on how to teach a child with autism new or necessary skills, helping them manage their emotions, and how to make transitions from school to independent living, I was pleasantly surprised that the book also gives tips on other aspects of life of the parent or caregiver.
For instance, the book covers how the parent/caregiver can take care of their own well-being, how to nurture their relationship with their spouse, and even how they can explain the child’s autism to his/her siblings.
I will recommend Our Unique Child especially for parents who have just received the diagnosis of their child with autism as a quick, easy, but trusted 101 resource. At just 160 pages and in simple writing, you can easily complete the book within a week, if you spend around 30 minutes a day reading it.
But even if you have a child who have been diagnosed with ASD for a while, the book can still offer you some insight for future issues and milestones that may arise as your child grow up.
Otherwise, you can consider picking up the book if you’ve been looking to understand the condition more, or as a gift to someone affected by ASD.
My Unique Child: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Autism retails for SGD28 and is available at their website. Besides the e-store, the website also offers other useful articles and resources that relate to autism.