Has your child recently been diagnosed with a developmental disability?
- Are you awaiting the process of diagnosis?
- Have you observed behaviour in your child that leads you to believe they may have a developmental disability?
- Are you confused about where to seek help and advice?
- Has your child’s diagnoses left you feeling isolated and confused
If you’re nodding your head to any of these questions then, This book is for you!! Victoria Hatton’s “Talking Autism” is literally the parents bible to Autism.
When I was gifted this book to review, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I knew that my mind was open and I had a desire to learn, digest and transfer my knowledge to others particularly in my line of work in Childrens Services. However, nothing could prepare me for how comprehensive and detailed this book would be. When I review an item, my thoughts and opinions are completely honest and accurate, so believe me when I say that this book is phenomenal.
So, why am I reviewing this book? Some may think it’s none of my business, I don’t have a child with Autism. I’m making this topic my business, it’s everyone’s business. In my last post “The invisible face of mental health” I spoke about stereotypes and the way people perceive situations without gaining the full picture. It’s so important that as humans we gain an understanding of why children react in a particular way to situations, particularly in the context of Austim.
Victoria Hatton, is an Author, a mother and a teacher. Victoria speaks of the moment her daughter was given an Asperger diagnosis. Ironically, Victoria had spent years studying the topic of autism, preparing dissertations and working with children with developmental disabilities. Her motivation to write this book compelled me to continue reading. Not only is she a professional who works with children with Developmental disabilities, she is the mother of one. This is a beautiful combination of perspectives wrapped into one book, which allows readers to experience autism from two different angles, professional and personal.
You see from my position as a teacher, I had never realised just how hard it was to get support. Autism was my passion, my background, my life even then. But when it came to my own daughter I found myself second guessing my decisions.
Talking Autism was written and published by Victoria Hatton in 2018. During your journey through this book you can expect six bite size chapters with experienced-based and professional advice, strategies and interventions for parenting your unique child.
- Initial Concerns
- The Diagnosis Process
- Getting Educational Support Right For Your Child
- What If School Isn’t Working
- Final Words
I love that the chapters have a systematic format, (beginning, middle and end) which makes it very easy to read and digest. The book offers an overall picture of each stage of the process. This means that you’re able to select the chapter best suited to the stage you’re at.
Something I immediately observed as I read the book was my ability to critically analyse my response to previous situations I had encountered in relation to the autistic children I have worked with. I found myself talking to the book and answering questions out loud. Victoria’s way of Interacting with the reader throughout the book is phenomenal. I found that this encouraged reflective thinking. While reading the first chapter “initial concerns” I was able to put past experiences into perspective.
Each chapter of the book allowed me to expand on my understanding, however for the purpose of this review I want to focus on three particular areas which have significantly altered my mind set.
Girls on the spectrum
I can only speak from a professional point of view as I do not have a child with a developmental disability. However what I can say is, ‘Girls on the spectrum’ is a chapter which heavily resonates with me. Victoria spoke of her experience of having a daughter with Autism, and the lack of resources which were available at the time of diagnoses to help her distinguish behaviours amongst the two genders.
Victoria provides a guide of differing elements that parents should flag up to professionals who are considering whether to conduct a diagnostic assessment. The guide provides examples, scenarios and potential issues that both parents and the child may encounter. As a professional I also find this extremely useful, not only to guide parents who may be unaware of the difference but for my own practise so I can tailor my intervention to suit the child.
One of my favourite sections of this chapter is “Understanding Triggers And Why They Matter”. Parents and professionals, how much easier would it be if you were able to understand the reasoning behind a child’s behaviour and implement ways to manage it. Victoria helps you to do just that. As we are aware children are completely unique and no two children will have the same triggers. The strategies chapter offers tips and advice on how to broach the subject of triggers in a child friendly manner. What’s great is that Victoria recognises that it may be complex to address the issue of triggers with a child and offers alternatives to gaining this information. Other elements in the chapter include:
- Reducing environmental triggers
- Tackling task based triggers
- Preventing sensory overload
- Raising self esteem whilst reducing the fear of making mistakes.
What If school isn’t working
Again, the topic of school for some one with a developmental disability can be complex. In my experience in children’s services a lot of parents have found their child’s transition into school extremely complex. Particularly if a child is demonstrating challenging behaviour before the formal diagnoses.
Not only does Victoria provide a list of strategies designed to reduce the likelihood of your child refusing to attend school. She highlights a list of elements which may result in a child refusing to attend school and strategies for the smooth transition back into school.
To conclude the book Victoria offers some final words. Not only is she an Author, A mother and a teacher, she has a knack for motivational speaking. Her tone of voice within this chapter, left me feeling positive and refreshed. As a reader, I have always found that it’s so important to end any piece of writing with a positive end note leaving the reader feeling optimistic with something to reflect on. Victoria’s book did just that. I look forward to continuously referring back to the guide and heavily incorporating it into my practice as a children’s Services Practitioner.
My review summary
Although this book is specifically made for parents I would strongly encourage practitioners, teachers and healthcare professionals to purchase and use as a guide. My personal experience is that a lot of people have a lack of understanding of developmental disabilities such as Austim. And for this reason it is difficult to maintain relations and provide appropriate interventions.
Further, parents honestly I would describe this guide as a “community in a book” as it provides so much support advice and direction to ensure your child thrives and utilises the resources available to them.
Not a book reader?
This guide is so easy to read and understand. Victoria’s style of writing in this book is extremely relaxed and interactive. During reading time, I felt that I was having a conversation with her rather than reading a book. As mentioned earlier, as it has a systematic format, you don’t have to read the entire book to find the information you require. The contents page Is very clearly titled for ease.
You can purchase this book at Autism Consultancy International for a very modest £12.95.
You can also find Victoria on Instagram