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A Spectrum of Light Inspirational Interviews with Families Affected by Autism

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Book - A Spectrum of Light Inspirational Interviews with Families Affected by Autism

by: Francesca Bierens

About the author:

Francesca Bierens is a speech-language therapist and primary school teacher and was educated at Waikato College of Teacher Education in Hamilton and Christchurch Teachers College, New Zealand. She has worked as a speech therapist in both the Education and Health sectors as well as in private practice. She has a particular interest in working with children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Francesca has also worked as a speech-language therapist in Malaysia and Canada. She now lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

ISBN: 978-1-84905-013-5

Year: 2009

Publication Info: 192pp


The emotional trauma that families go through when they find out their child has an autism spectrum disorder can feel like being plunged into darkness. Francesca Bierens is here to show that there is also a light at the end of the tunnel.

Over a period of fourteen years, Francesca Bierens interviewed ten families of children on the autism spectrum. This book records their answers: how they felt, how they coped, and what gave them strength and solace. Each family discusses how they reacted when they found out their child had autism, and their feelings leading up to diagnosis. They share their positive and negative experiences of professionals, and describe the support that they received, often from grandparents, respite care givers, support groups and other parents. Two of the original children, now in their 20s, also talk about the experience of growing up with autism, and describe how their lives are now.

Above all, Bierens’ message, and that of the families she interviews, is one of inspiration and hope, showing that there is light, love and laughter along the way. Their stories should be read by anyone who is affected by or working with autism.



Preface. Introduction. 1. Life Does Get Easier. 2. We’re a Family. We Go Where She Can Go. 3. We are Not Going to Hide Our Children Away. 4. You Can’t Try and Rush Them. 5. We’ve Been Able to Gradually Expand His Environment. 6. We Respect Her Right to Be Different. 7. You Need to Have Somewhere to Offload. 8. She is So Funny and Mischievous. 9. He’s Gone Way Beyond Functioning in Society, He’s Now Excelling.



Some of the challenges recalled in these honest accounts included in the book, relive some of the darkest moments faced by these families and the strain place upon them. Yet the joy expressed at overcoming these challenges provides an overwhelming message of hope and a promising future for people with autism and their families…Target audience: Anyone affected by, or working with autism. People with autism, families, friends and carers of people with autism & health professionals working with people with autism…from a healthcare professionals viewpoint, one of the major benefits of this resource is that it gives a genuine insight into how everyday life can be, not only for the individual diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, but also the other important people in their lives and how it can alter the relationships between them. Taking this into consideration, this book proves a valuable tool in helping a healthcare professional shape their approach to working with a person with autism, particularly when visiting the individual in their home environment where these relationships exist and everyday occurrences take place. The book also serves as a reminder that autism spectrum disorder is a condition that affects each individual differently and support that is tailored in such a way that reflects the individual needs of that person can lead to a future of hope and opportunities…as an Occupational Therapist looking to work in a holistic manner in line with the values of our profession, the book certainly meets its associated aim of providing those without firsthand experience with an understanding of how autism affects the individual and their family.


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