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Asperger's in Pink by Julie Clark ~ Book Review

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Kid Companions- Chewelry: Asperger's in Pink by Julie Clark ~ Book Review

January 23, 2011

Asperger's in Pink by Julie Clark ~ Book Review

Review by Gavin Bollard
“One of the hardest things about raising a child with Asperger’s is the feeling that our daughter has something invisible. … It’s the old, old story of judging by appearance. It’s the old, old ending, of the cover not fully representing the book,” writes Julie Clark in Asperger's in Pink ~ A Mother and Daughter Guidebook for Raising (or being) a Girl with Asperger’s.

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Julie Clark, a writer, an artist, and a mom explains in detail the adaptations, alterations and perseverance needed to win their daily battles in raising Kristina with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). These battles were sometimes with their immediate family, their friends, medical and school systems and sometimes with  Kristina or even with their own insecurities.
Julie Clark will be joining Hartley Steiner and Lorna d'Entremont on the The Coffee Klatch ~ Twitter tweetchat Feb. 21 at 9am EST. Join us please!

The foreword by Rudy Simone, Asperger's self-advocate and author of Aspergirls and Asperger's on the Job, applauds Kristina’s mom for her tenacity in enlisting the aid of professionals, in documenting the progress of her child’s education and care and most importantly in getting the all important diagnosis.

Part of the title of this book is “A Mother and Daughter Guidebook for Raising (or being) a Girl with Asperger’s.” Julie Clark walks us through the lengthy process of getting the proper diagnosis and blames this partly on the fact that her child is a girl. In her forward, Rudy Simone also upholds the fact that the female gender often goes undiagnosed and even receives multiple misdiagnoses. This results in not having access to the proper care and support.

A delayed diagnosis leaves the family struggling to prove that their child’s unique behavior is not due to bad parenting or willful misbehaving. Clark points out that one of the most difficult aspects of their journey has been the feeling of being misunderstood and under a microscope as a family unit.

Clark advises, in a Pink Pearl to Everyone, to throw out the cookie cutter! Do not expect girls with AS to mimic boys with AS. For that matter, don’t expect girls with AS to mimic their neurotypical counterparts…”

Even though this book fills the need for a resource for families and educators of girls with Asperger’s, it is also very beneficial for all parents of a special needs child because many aspects of the Clark’s family struggle apply to all. These parents will learn from Kristina's parents as they sift through the EAS (Educational Alphabet Soup) IEP, 504, PAT, FAPE, CSE, OT…

Unfortunately her dealings with the educational system, except for a few caring, capable individuals, make me shudder. Clark is Thankful for: “A 5th grade teacher, who taught more, gave more, than anyone else, and who has bestowed a lifelong positive impact on one little, super-special girl-and her parents.”

We read that as her daughter gets older the academic and special services component of school was solid but the social component crumbled as the days of knowing Kristina was a bit different had unfortunately begun. Like for so many of our special needs children, Clark says it so simply:“ Watching your daughter bloom in October, only to wilt in Spring in unbearable.”

I agree with the author on the topic of bullying. The emotional bullying girls can dish out is rather nasty and long lasting; more psychological than physical. The wish of many parents is for their child to find a true friend like Emma was for Kristina.

You will easily relate to Julie’s explanation on how they needed lots of perseverance, patience and prayers to deal with friendships, play dates, invitations to parties, school group projects, playground and lunch time friends and family outings and vacations. Follow the Clarks, armed with Social Stories in pockets, trying to interest Kristina in extracurricular activities to learn to interact with peers.

The chapter, Holding the Marriage Together, will make you realize how important it is to be a helpmate to your spouse, to make time to be together and to be a team dealing with the added stressors of a special needs child.

Interview with Danett Schott
S-O-S for Parents
After having read Asperger’s in PINK, you should be a stronger person, a better advocate armed with more knowledge and hope. A person, like Julie Clark, with a light at the end of your tunnel and with no regrets because you have figured out what is really important in life and with all your being you work to make this happen:  “I so hope, with all my being, that she will grow up to be happy, healthy, successful and loved by others.”

Asperger’s in PINK is divided in four sections entitled, The Diagnostic Process, School, Community and Day to Day. Each section has short chapters that all begin with an interesting quote by Kristina and end with Julie’s Pink Peals for various people like caregivers, her husband, the couple, the extended family and other moms. Then she has what she is Thankful for in regards to the topic she covered in the chapter. The last part of each chapter is entitled Inside the Bubble, a moving story about an event that her family experienced. I especially loved Holidays Are Hard where she tells us the difficulties of Halloween.

The comprehensive index allows parents to use this book, after their first reading, as a resource that they can return to when they need guidance or simply for a ‘misery enjoys company’ read! Also this book makes a  great gift for family members, friends and educators so that finally you can all be on the same page!

Asperger's in PINK by Julie Clark
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 273
Price: $14.95











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4 Comments:

At January 23, 2011 at 5:42 PM , Anonymous Danette said...

I just reviewed this book myself, but loved reading your review and take on the book. You did a thorough job and highlighted many wonderful areas. Great job!

 
At January 23, 2011 at 7:35 PM , Blogger Pierrette and Lorna dEntremont said...

Thank you Danette for your comment. We appreciate your visit!

 
At February 3, 2011 at 5:36 PM , Blogger Paula Schuck said...

Great book. I would like to read this one.

 
At February 3, 2011 at 7:16 PM , Blogger Pierrette and Lorna dEntremont said...

Yes, Paula, I truly learned a lot about parenting a girl with Asperger's. Julie Clark's book is very practical and real... when the book is finished, you feel you know her daughter. I hope Ms Clark will write a sequel retating Kristina's high school years and transition into adulthood.

 

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