Living With Autism Day-by-Day by Pamela Bryson-Weaver – A Book Review

Living Autism Day by Day – Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage

By: Pamela Bryson-Weaver

Freedom Abound, Inc., 978-09936429906, $ 23.99, 2015, 448 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Daily Musings for Contemplation which Inspire Hope and Encouragement with Practical Strategies for Living Each Day with the Challenge of Autism

“Living Autism Day by Day” is a resource for parents and caregivers of a child living with autism. As a mother of a child with autism Pamela Bryson-Weaver understands what it means to be a caregiver of an autistic child.  As with any debilitating disease, loved ones and caregivers face each new day with the uncertainty of the unfamiliar, often mysterious twists and turns the day will take.

The book is made up of a reading for each day of the year. The daily readings include, a thought provoking quote offering inspiration, motivation, or affirmation with a message of hope and encouragement.

The author follows the reflection with a fresh thought to approach the new day. This may be in the form of a practical tip, an inspiring story, a humorous antidote, a community, national, or educational resource, or a strategy for the care of an autistic child. Space is provided for the reader to record an action to take in areas of: Autism awareness, self-awareness, or an insight into one of life’s blessings. Colorful photos of children accompanying the true stories and anecdotes add a dimension of reality and warmth to their story.

Pamela Bryson-Weaver is a parent of an autistic child, and an advocate and activist for children with special needs.

“Living Autism Day by Day” is an important resource for parents, family and professional caregivers. Highly endorsed by readers who are living with the daily challenge of raising a special needs child.

A complimentary Review copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Jared’s Path By Barbara M. Schuck – A Book Review

JARED'S PATHJared’s Path

By: Barbara M. Schuck

Xlibris. 1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403,  978-147975081663 Liberty Drive Suite 200. Bloomington, IN 47403. 94, $ 15.99, 2012, 74 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Overpowering the Obstacles – Traveling Together on Jared’s Path – An Amazing Journey of Courage and Persistence

Barbara M. Schuck details the lessons she learned while traveling together with her special needs son along  “Jared’s Path.” This amazing journey of love, courage, and persistence is written to “let others know what we went through, or what we are still going through” and to give others hope and encouragement in their journey as a caregiver of a child with special needs.

The story opens with an account of Barbara’s pregnancy, the excitement of her son’s birth, and the medical trials that followed. Jared has experienced digestive problems, generalized seizures, respiratory distress, cerebral palsy, cataracts, atypical autism, and bone fractures, and all before he was four years old.

As a licensed and experienced foster care provider and Certified Nurse Assistant

Barbara has helped other parents with their special child as she shares lessons she has learned while helping Jared. Through Jared’s story Barbara shares her concern that:

  • Every child should have the chance to be happy and have the best quality of life possible.
  • Every child needs unconditional love.
  • I want to give others hope and encouragement and to stay on a positive path.

Barbara chronicles the trials and miracles of Jared’s growing up years with an open candidness that is both heartwarming and haunting.  Today Jared is becoming a young man. His story is awe-inspiring and challenging a reminder to the reader that life is a precious gift.

A complimentary copy of this review was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.




Book Review: Islands of Genius by Darold A. Treffert

Islands of GeniusIslands of GeniusIslands of Genius
By: Darold A. Treffert
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc. Philadelphia PA 19106
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Look into the Hidden Potential of the Brain,

In his book “Islands of Genius” Darold Treffert provides the reader with a look into the fascinating complexities of the mind. From the first page of the foreword, written by Daniel Tammet, who himself gained national attention as an autistic savant in 2004, (featured in chapter 16), to the last page of the appendix “Islands of Genius” is packed with information featuring the stories of lives of individuals gifted with unique skills and incredible gifts which Treffert labels Islands of Genius which co-exist side by side with certain disabilities within the same person.

These unique abilities may be expressed in memorization skills, lightning calculation, calendar skills, gifts of music or art, or in amazing mathematical and numbers skills, mechanical and special skills, and other obscure skills such as language abilities, and unusual sensory perception.

As a lay reader with a specific interest in the field of autism, the Savant Syndrome, Downs Syndrome, dementia and other brain studies, I found Part II of especial interest “The World of the Savant” which included a glimpse into 14 incidents of individuals impacted by various aspects of savant.

Dr. Treffert writing is sometimes repetitious which may reinforce some information for the general reader but may be considered redundant by the professional. Treffert conveys a genuine passion for his subject and a respect for the individuals featured throughout the book.

“Islands of Genius” will be of special interest to clinicians, parents, educators, and therapists working with individuals who have savant syndrome.

As Reviewed for the Amazon Vine Program.

Book Review: One Family’s Journey with Autism by Janelle Esker

ImageChosen: One Family’s Journey With Autism

By: Janelle Esker

Koozzz Publishing, 133 Colonial Woods Drive, Mt. Vernon, Ohio 43050,

978-0983076070, $ 12.99, 2012, 140 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Family’s Journey with Autism from Diagnosis to Adulthood

“Chosen: One Family’s Journey With Autism” is the story of Mike and Janelle Esker’s journey with their daughter Kylie which began twenty-two years ago. Janelle shares the details of her feelings, reactions, joys and struggles she experienced; told from a mother’s point of view.

Janelle’s writing is heartfelt and transparent as she identifies with the others parenting special needs children. Over and over again she reminds the reader that they are not alone in their struggles. She discusses allergies in light of symptoms, reactions to medical treatments, prescription drugs, and special diets. Janelle is a strong proponent of advocacy for special needs individuals and introduces a wide range of choices available for management and treatment therapies, intervention, and support.

“Chosen: One Family’s Journey With Autism” like many other books available on Autism is situation specific based on the experiences of the author, the support of her husband, and the interaction and involvement of the entire family. A chapter of the book is devoted to a an unedited response from each of Kylie’s five siblings: Hannah, age 20, Andrew, age 16, Carrie, age 14, Sarah, age 11, and Fredy, age 22.

It is the prayer of the author that “Chosen” will be an encouragement to the reader to recognize that God’s ways are perfect. Janelle shares freely of her own Christian faith. The book is written in layman’s terms, told with tremendous insights into the role of parenting a special needs child.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review: Healing Our Autistic Children by Julie A. Buckley, M. D.

Up to Date Advances in the Understanding of Autism

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

“Healing Our Autistic Children” is unique in that the author, Julie Buckley, is a pediatrician. She writes with the expertise, skill and knowledge of a medical practitioner with the passion of a mother’s heart. She reveals her own emotions of anger, sorrow, and guilt when her own daughter, Dani, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disease (ASDs) after being an active, growing, normal, happy child during her first four years. She shares how successful treatment of ASDs becomes a way of life.
Buckley’s writing is both technical and heartfelt. Her case studies, examples, and stories of actual patients are poignant and helpful. Her colorful analogies help the reader more easily grasp the treatment processes throughout the recovery of their autistic child and a resulting behavior modification.
Dr. Buckley is an advocate of biomedical intervention and explains the new developments in the diagnosis of autism. Researchers are finding that chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and toxicity are the cause of autism as in many diseases and that behavioral abnormalities socialization and communication problems are the signs or symptoms of the disease.
The book is arranged around a progression of treatment which involves six visits or steps in process. Each visit explains the progression of treatment and includes an action list to be completed before proceeding to the next level.
“Healing Our Autistic Children” is must reading for parents of victims diagnosed with autism spectrum disease. It is a valuable resource for pediatricians, health care providers, and educators. Dr. Julie A. Buckley is top in her field and offers parents a tool to help them implement a medical plan to restore their child’s health.

978-0230616394, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009, 232 pages

This review is from: Healing Our Autistic Children: A Medical Plan for Restoring Your Child’s Health (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program

Book Review: Defying Autism by Karen Mayer Cyunningham

Defying Autism – A Miraculous Story of Hope by Karen Mayer Cunningham

By Richard R Blake

Hope for Healing – for Victims of Autism

“Defying Autism” is the story of the journey of the Cunningham family. It is an account of the day to day struggles and heartache of caring for their son James in his fight against the disease of autism. James was formally diagnosed “classically autistic” after months of frustration throughout a downward curve in his learning skills. The diagnosis devastated his parents Tom and Karen Cunningham.

In her narrative Karen compares their story to a season of life. The story chronicles the early days of their marriage, the joy seeing baby James develop, and the events leading up to the diagnosis. Each chapter details another season in the development in the life of their son James and through the subsequent struggles they faced as parents and caregivers.

Chapter titles include: “The Santa Ana Winds,” “Tornado Watch, “Possible Flooding,” and “Tsunami.” Karen kept looking for a rainbow of hope. She talks about navigating through the fog, working through state agencies, CPS caseworkers, and the discovery of the Gospel Revelation Ministry.

Karen subtitled the book “A Miraculous Story of Hope.” Although few deny the ability of God to heal with miraculous power, many will struggle with the concept of healing as a result of the doctrines of demons and exorcism. “Defying Autism” testifies of James being miraculously freed from the disease and bondage of autism.

The flow of the narrative is gripping. I appreciated Karen’s transparency in revealing her emotions, fears, doubts, and her vulnerability which allows the reader to empathize and identify with her personal anguish.

“Defying Autism: A Miraculous Story of Hope” is written to help and encourage others struggling, hoping, and believing for a miraculous healing.

Creation House, 978-1599796284

As Reviewed for Midwest Book Review.