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Readers' Choice: Favorite New Special-Needs Parenting Book

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Finalist: Autism Every Day
Autism Every Day by Alyson Beytien
Image courtesy of Future Horizons

Title: Autism Every Day
Subtitle: Over 150 Strategies Lived and Learned by an Autism Consultant and Mom
Author: Alyson Beytien
Length: 286 pages
Website: alysonbeytien.com
Finalist for: Favorite New Special-Needs Parenting Book

Message from the Author: "My boys' disability affects every aspect of our lives, but it is not the defining description of who we are as a family, or as individuals for that matter. Just as my sons are also people beyond their autism, so am I a person beyond being their mom. But if you don't know about the autism, do you truly know about me? I know that many of you struggle with the same issues I do. I hope this book will be an opportunity to share in the struggles and joys of raising our kids with autism. I believe that by sharing some of our family's challenges and successes, you will recognize your own and know that you are not alone. I hope that this book will provide you with a chuckle to brighten your day and a strategy to make your life easier!"

Excerpt from Autism Every Day:

Food Wars
I consulted a nutritionist numerous times over the course of the years. The first one told me to offer three healthy meals and snacks per day, and said that if the boys didn't eat I should let them go hungry. She assured me that children will not starve themselves -- the boys would eventually eat the food I prepared. So I stood firm with the offer-only-healthy-food advice and Spencer went FIVE days without eating, before I gave up and handed him a bowl of Cheerios! I just couldn’t handle my child looking like a war refugee. ...

I have tried numerous other behavior plans, reward systems, and visual supports in my attempts to change the boys' eating habits. The stress of constantly trying to get them to eat something healthy was intense. During one of the food management programs, Spencer told me, on an hourly basis, that I was "ruining his life." Joshua screamed at me when I announced it was time for dinner, "You are an angry buffalo!" and Zachary would start hitting me. (Add to this the remarks from my husband!)

During one of my feeble attempts at changing his diet, Joshua wrote me the following note:
Dear Mom I feel sad and lonely and no one loves me and they didn't give me anything, they didn't take me places every day. If I don't have soda, popcorn, fries, butter bread and more food, I'll never make my days and holidays. Why do they care? Why? Does everyone don't love me? Write this: __________________________________

("Write this" was Joshua’s way of telling me he wanted a response in writing.)
My response:
Dear Joshua, I love you very much. Everyone loves you. Because I love you, I want you to eat healthy foods. That's why we are changing our foods at home. We will still have holidays. Change is hard, but eating healthy will make everyone feel better. I know that you can try to be happy about new, healthy foods like vegetables and meat.
Josh's verbal response: "That's nice but I love original foods."

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