Information for parents of disabled children

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book Review: The Everyday Advocate

The Everyday Advocate hit shelves this month. It's written by Areva Martin, lawyer and mom of a child on the spectrum. There are a lot of good things to say about the number of voices out there aimed at parents, and there are a lot of bad. This book contains mainly good information. As with most of these books, it seems aimed toward those on the high end of the spectrum, or those with the most abilities. There is education to be found here, though, for any parent with a child on the spectrum.

If you have a child with a disability, you are their advocate.  You became their advocate on the day they were born. Many, many parents hesitate to take up that role because they feel they can't. Mrs. Martin captures in her first chapters that basic fact that you can, anyone can. She also lays out the map for getting there.

She devotes a lot of time to inclusion, and that's great. However, many parents with low functioning children find it easy to get discouraged when inclusion is the focus of the discussion. Don't get me wrong. The numbers are in on this and inclusion is hands down the best possible outcome. When kids are severely autistic, it becomes impractical and difficult to implement. I am not of the school that believes separate environments when appropriate are discriminating against our children, nor am I prone to think that it promotes ignorance in the general public about autism. I think the general public is prone to ignorance all on its own. I would have like to see her focus on individuals more fully in making her recommendation. One size does not fit all.

With that one proviso, I recommend this book highly.  It's concrete and complete. It's easy to read and empowering. It's full of good information and one of the books every parent should have at the ready.
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