Book Review – Parenting (non-fiction)

Book Review -the ABC’s of YOGA for Kids: A Guide for Parents and Teachers by Teresa Anne Power.

3 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Smith Publicity for a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

What an informative and interesting book. I found it a great the way it helped answer some of my questions and concerns about children doing yoga, as well as offering some great advice on how to make it more enjoyable for all involved. The routines at the end were fantastic too as it gives the reader some helpful instructions to start with while also encouraging and inspiring them to try other ideas and routines.

I loved the positive feel of this book; it’s all about encouraging children to try yoga due to the long list of benefits they would gain from it. I also liked that it was flexible in how children can be taught, while still reminding the reader of some important safety and comfort things to ensure the child got the best out any poses they tried.

I do have some very minor niggles about this book though. Firstly the way ‘in sum’ was used instead of ‘in summary’ came across as a little sloppy to me and didn’t gel well with this particular reader. Made it come across as rather unprofessional and lazy.

Another minor disappointment I had was that, for a book on yoga, there were no pose instructions. Yes there was the occasional picture of a child doing a pose, but I had really been hoping for a chapter that went through at least the basic poses. As a novice to yoga and having never tried teaching it to my children, I would have preferred a book that took me through some of the basic poses (not just the routines and one sentence description of what the pose aids) to ensure I was doing it right.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Possibly. More likely to those who already have an understanding of yoga poses when working with children. As the book talks about doing yoga, and explaining the benefits and all that, but without instructions SHOWING the poses… I don’t think those new to yoga would gain anything from this book.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Sadly, no. Again, the lack instruction on how to do the poses has left me feeling like I am missing out on something. Due to my little knowledge of yoga for myself, let alone when doing it with my children, I need a book that includes these instructions.

In summary: A good reference book to aid those who already know the basics of yoga with children who want to incorporate it more into their home and school life. Not the best book for beginners wanting to learn how to do yoga with their children.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review -Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry M. Prizant.

Uniquely Human

5 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Simon & Schuster for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

If you haven’t guessed from my rating – this is a fantastic book! Everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE – who interacts with children and teens on the spectrum should have a copy of (and read) this book.

How wonderful to see such an excellent mind set about how to approach and interact with those on the spectrum. As a mum to a newly diagnosed HFASD son I have approached reading books on the subject with trepidation. Mostly due to feedback from adult friends on the spectrum as to how WRONG books on ASD can be. Some of that trepidation is due to me reading books that treat ASD as a traumatic loss to you, the parent, and other stupid mindsets that go against my grain and concepts of how I want to help raise my son.

‘Uniquely Human’, on the other hand, is brilliant. The author Mr Prizant shares very similar outlooks on how to interact with those on the spectrum and I have gained a lot of positive information and insight from his book.

It allows the reader to learn more about ‘the spectrum’ without pigeonholing our children to specifics. Not all ON the spectrum will act in a text book fashion, and ‘Uniquely Human’ explains this, embraces this and tries to help you realise that it’s perfectly fine. Who needs text book children? Either on the spectrum or off! I just want happy and healthy children who I can help learn to grow, function and achieve their own goals in life. And I really do feel this book will help me find some of the best methods to use to help aide my son on his journey.

A really insightful and helpful book.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. In fact, as I’ve been reading it I’ve already been talking about it with my son’s teachers and other ‘helpers’. As I’ve said already, anyone who interacts regularly with children on the spectrum should read this book. It’s not a manual to ‘Autistic children’ – it’s a guide to help you be a better person when working with those on the spectrum. The book is there to help you, the reader, understand the spectrum better, rather than try and manipulate a child on the spectrum away from their natural behaviour to something you would prefer.

Would I buy this book for myself? Yes I would. And by the time you read this review it will probably be on my book buying wish list! I want to own a copy I can to turn when needed to help me remember there might be a better way to approach certain situations. I want my husband to read it so that when I send him a text saying ‘dysregulation moment’ he knows what I mean and is as prepared to help as I am! I want my whole family and friends to read it to realise I’m not teaching my son weird and quirky habits… I’m simply working along and encouraging his own growth and self-worth through his own naturally quirky habits. Weird is good in our house. We embrace weird and are proud of it.

In summary: Not a manual on how to raise a child or teen on the spectrum. ‘Uniquely Human’ is more a helpful guide for you (the non-spectrum person) to get a glimpse onto the spectrum and to learn to adapt to and respect your child’s outlook on life. I cannot sing praises high enough for this book!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

Book Review – Toilet Training and the Autism Spectrum (ASD): A Guide for Professionals by Eve Fleming, Lorraine MacAlister.

Toilet Training and the Autism Spectrum

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Jessica Kingsley Publishers for an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Also, not too sure if I can classify myself as a ‘professional’, I’m just the parent of a child with continence issues. All the same…

This is a remarkable book! I just wish I had it a few years ago when struggling to get my son – diagnosed with HFASD last December – to get into the same toilet training habits aged 3 that his two older sisters seemed to breeze through, in comparison, at younger ages. Still, due to ongoing continence issues he has today, I still found this book very insightful, useful and also uplifting. Why uplifting? It was just such a relief to read that it wasn’t one of those “what am I doing wrong?” moments. Yes life with ‘toilet times’, constant changing of sheets, clothes, rewards charts is still a struggle – but it’s not just me! And here is a fantastic book that has just patted me on the back to comfort me, show that I’m going in the right direction and offering some extremely helpful hints and tips along the way.

‘Toilet Training and the Autism Spectrum’ has also helped me work out the differences between situations of both hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity and it really did give me a few light bulb moments as to why some of the tricks I’ve been using don’t work.

I’m now also curious to look into Pathological Demand Avoidance as this set off a lot of light bulbs for my son’s attitudes and behaviours too.

So, THANK YOU for such an inspiring, helpful and indeed useful book. The only reason I didn’t give it the full 5 stars is my usual complaint about a book not being Australian and so not all the societies, groups and support systems mentioned exist here. Not the book’s fault, another ‘blame the reader’ moment. All the same, I have found this book a great ‘thumbs up’ to what I’ve been doing as well as some gentle nudging in the right direction for future attempts.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. In fact, I would possibly even recommend it to friends who don’t have ASD children as there was some good insight into toilet troubles our non-ASD kids have – withholding poo! My girls are notorious for this, aren’t on the spectrum, and now I have some great ideas on how to work on this too. I know this book is set for ‘professionals’ but I seriously feel parents of ASD kids do become professionals in their role as we tend to be the lead Case Manager in charge of getting our glorious child set in the right directions in life.

Would I buy this book for myself? I probably would, though would prefer a version modified to suit groups and support means in Australia. But I can also see myself buying it and getting my family and my son’s teachers to have a read as I found it so useful.

In summary: Although aimed and probably best suited to help parents of ASD children with their toilet training and related issues, I also feel parents of non-ASD children would get some useful information from this book. Such a great book to help those of us struggling with such situations daily to know we’re not alone and to offer us some really helpful advice.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

The Autism Parents’ Guide to Reclaiming Your Life by Deanna Picon.

The Autism Parents' Guide To Reclaiming Your Life

1 out of 5 star – Did not finish.

I would like to thank CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform for allowing me to read an ARC of this book for an open and honest review.

Unfortunately I did not like this book at all. In fact I didn’t make it through the first chapter as it annoyed me so much.

My son was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder late last year, aged 5 and a half. I’ve basically given up my career to be his carer and get him ready for full time school. And this book was just insulting.

NEVER have I thought of my son’s diagnosis as a burden a fatal blow to my life or any of the other descriptions used when telling me I am now grieving and need to go through all the stages of grief. In fact, we were RELIEVED to have this diagnosis confirmed as it gave us something to focus on and work with.

I found the whole feel of this book a negative look at autism. Like saying you’ve been cursed, but let’s now help you live with that curse. Autism isn’t like that and it’s attitudes like this that prevent us from using the term Autism around my son as we don’t want him to be labelled as there are still such negative and narrow minded views out there.

Would I recommend this book – No. Unless you’re also of the misguided belief that autism is as good as a death sentence, like this book.

Would I buy this book myself – No. I had been warned by adult friends with autism to avoid reading such “self-help” books and I feel they were right.

Not a book for me. We embrace life, differences and the varied journeys we all tread. We don’t take on negative labels and then justify how perfect we are at handling them like this book seems to suggest.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

Book Review – Gummi Bears Should Not Be Organic by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor.

Gummi bears should not be organic

5 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Gallery Books for allowing me to read an ARC of this book in return for an open and honest review.

Bless this woman and her open, sarcastic and honest look on life and parenting. It isn’t some magical journey or a competition and I do like a good book that reminds us of this.

Yes I had to read this book in stages as I couldn’t cope with it all at once. But that is me and parenting books in general. Just smile and nod, take the occasional mental note and then go off and do your own thing. The great thing about this book is that is exactly what she encourages you to do! Possibly you need to be as fluent in sarcasm, cynicism and irony as I am to get that. I think the heavy use of these is what makes it such an enjoyable book.

However! I will say I was very disappointed with her blasé and blanket comment about orthorexia. Yes, she did say we needed to pace ourselves before we complained. 😉 But it does comes across that she’s read the kneejerk blogs that harp on about this being the mental illness of the food fanatics. Rather than reading the actual medical journals this misinformation has sprouted from by the author misreading it.

Excuse my vent, but orthorexia is a mental illness. And not something I want to be labelled as my family prefer and enjoy organic foods, I also shop local and support my farmers and make most of my foods from scratch and I consider myself a foodie. This mental disorder being bandied about as a way to pick on the healthy eaters who seem a little OTT to those wanting to justify their junk food intake is actually on the same level as anorexia and bulimia. Please let me just deal with my disappointment for needing happy pills to deal with my “mild” depression and anxiety issues without labelling me with further mental disorders simply because I have an aversion to sugary, highly processed breakfast cereal and would rather allow my kids to make their own bowls of organic rolled oats topped with organic fruit and drowned in raw honey. I can assure you they’re still getting that insanely unhealthy sugar rush.

Loved the ‘mummy friends’ ad and would apply as we fit in so many ways… but sadly like crafts, don’t watch real housewives and, worst of all, don’t own a pool. Yeah like my comments about orthorexia would be ignored if I had a pool.

All in all I LOVED this book, have been recommending this book as a great guide to parenting and all in all think it gives us all a good reality check to see that yes we stuff things up, yes we’re not pristine, perfect and wholly sane… but who cares, were not alone, everyone is like that so just go with it!

And finally, she’s right about gummi bears! Just let your kid eat junk from time to time and accept it as a part of life. Not everything we give them needs to be wholesome, healthy and positive karma building. Our lives weren’t and look how we turned out.

Now to look into this thing about sippy cups and chardonnay.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO