Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Book Review - Let Me Hear Your Voice

Let Me Hear Your Voice is the first "non-clinical" book about autism that I read after our daughter's first diagnosis. Another special needs mother gave it to me and I must say that it was an amazing step for me to read this story. The author, writing under a pseudonym, shares their family's story of watching their second child, their only daughter, withdraw into the depths of autism from a seemingly "normal" babyhood. After coming to terms with their daughter's diagnosis they set out on a quest to find a "cure" as so many families have. They see specialists, they investigate various therapies, including "holding therapy", and learn about intensive behavioral therapy from Dr. Ivar Lovaas (applied behavioral analysis). They embark on a rigorous behavioral intervention program in their home (with privately hired therapists) while still seeking answers to their questions. Given the time frame of Anne-Marie's diagnosis (late 1980's) I was amazed to learn how many people still believed there was some causal effect of poor maternal bonding in autism. That is until I had a few more discussions with people and found out that some people, sadly, still draw a connection there. This book was absolutely cathartic for me at the time I was reading it. I connected so immediately with the author as the birth of her third child was complicated by bed rest at the same time that her daughter was beginning to struggle to stay connected with the world around her. She had a new baby to care for at the same time that she was learning about her daughter's great need. She also watched her youngest son's development seeking warning signs of what was already happening with her daughter. Sadly, he too developed the patterns of autism, but now the parents knew the steps to take to help him. Amazingly, and perhaps because they were able to have intense intervention so early (shortly after 18 months for both of them) they both recovered to the extent that within a couple of years professional teachers who did not know the children's history did not distinguish them from "normative" children in any way. The story left me wanting to know more about how Anne-Marie and Michel are doing now - they would be about 20 years old, probably studying in college somewhere. One thing that was discouraging to me was the financial resources that would currently be required to implement a similar private program. Every parent wants to do as much as they can to help their child, money should not be an issue, and yet it is for so many. Let Me Hear Your Voice certainly gave me hope at a time when I desperately needed it. I would encourage any special needs parent to read it for the sheer inspiration to keep on doing our very best for our children.

Other book reviews:
A Regular Guy
Handle With Care


Related Posts with Thumbnails