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Readers' Choice: Favorite New Special-Needs Memoir

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Finalist: Judy's World
Judy's World by Judy Blake
Cover image courtesy of Judy Blake

Title: Judy's World
Subtitle: The World of Autism Through the Eyes of a Mother
Author: Judy Blake
Length: 178 pages
Website: judysworld.candc3.us/
Finalist for: Favorite New Special-Needs Memoir

 

Message from the Author: "I believe Judy's World is special because it is about the journey of raising two children with special needs rather than one child. I am also a single parent which brings a different perspective as well. In addition to having autism, my boys also cope with anxiety, ADD, Tourette Syndrome and OCD. Each of these issues affects my boys in different ways and the reader gains insight into a world they thought they knew."

Excerpt from Judy's World:

I started to notice Ryan was often in his own world and lacked eye contact. He had just turned one year old and I could tell that something wasn't right. Like Jason at this age, he spoke only a few words and was only crawling. I was so much smarter about it this time and because of all of information I read about PDD-NOS, I knew what signs to look for. I called the same developmental pediatrician and they sent me another set of forms to complete. It was déjà vu and not even 6 months since I had filled out the same forms for Jason. I couldn't believe I was back to doing it again and scheduling an evaluation for Ryan but as the saying goes -- it is what it is.

I'll never forget sitting in the examination room after the doctor had completed his diagnostic tests. He asked various questions about what I had written on the parent questionnaire. He nodded his head and asked more questions. I then asked that ever so frightening question. "You're going to tell me that Ryan is autistic also, aren't you?" He looked at me and said, "I'm so sorry."

Tears just rolled down my cheeks. Part of me sat there in disbelief and the other part of me just knew what he was going to say. It was as though I knew his answer before he told me. After all, I did make the appointment myself when Ryan had just turned a year old. There was no teacher telling me anything was wrong. Our new pediatrician could see that Ryan was delayed but didn't mention anything about having him tested further.

It was still strange and it started to feel like everything was in slow motion as all of these thoughts raced through my mind. How was I going to handle two children on the autism spectrum? Did Ryan need speech therapy? Occupational therapy? Did I do something wrong? Did I not spend enough time with him? Did this happen because I spend too much time with Jason? How were we going to afford another child with special needs? If I thought I was overwhelmed before, it was nothing like what life had in store for me from then on.

 

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