When my husband I walked out of the doctor's office with a diagnosis of "autism" for our middle child, I wish the doctor had handed me something like Same Child, Different Day, a booklet I've recently learned about. The author Jon R. Gilbert writes on the back cover, "This booklet was written by the family of a child with autism. It is meant to provide a little insight into what you could expect during the first year after the diagnosis, based on our own experiences. Your results will vary."
My husband and I were driving past past the mailbox on our way to "date night." I made him stop to see if the envelop I'd been waiting for had arrived. I opened it eagerly and read through the table of contents as my husband drove to the restaurant. I laughed out loud and had to start reading the chapter titles to my husband to let him in on the joke. Even though we'd been living with the diagnosis of autism in the family for six years, just the titles brought back memories.
Gilbert starts each chapter with practical information and ends each chapter with a story from their own family. The first chapter states his purpose. "Over the course of the year following Nolan's diagnosis we encountered many situations where we could have benefited from some simple, fluff-free, honest direction. Circumstances arose (and are still arising) where we could have used some insider information, a simple heads-up or a fair warning." Then he dives right in with Nolan's first haircut. My husband and I laughed until we cried because we could have written the same story. And yes, it would've been great to have some insider information or a heads up BEFORE we entered that situation.
Same Child, Different Day is a great source for information when you are first walking out the doctor's office in shock and don't know where to turn first. Gilbert has a few pages defining soon to be familiar terms and concepts. I even learned some new ones after six years of my own reading and research into autism. He provides some well-respected and acknowledged resources by way of websites, books and mailing addresses. He also gives some insight into the lifestyle changes, the attitudes you'll face in public, the meltdowns the child will have and hints at the toll it starts to take on the family.
I like the booklet because it is factual, neutral and still upbeat. The growing awareness of autism being diagnosed in one out of 150 children has made the subject emotional, political, and sometimes, controversial. I respect the fact Gilbert touches on these areas without making you aware of his own opinions. Because of this, I believe this booklet would be beneficial to have in all medical practices, educational settings and organizations dealing with autism, especially for those families first entering into this new and scary world.
I'm a mother of three children ranging from 7 to 17 years old. I have two neuro-typical children and one with Asperger's Syndrome. I write daily about the "joys in the challenges of Asperger's Syndrome" over at Just Because My Pickle Talks Doesn't Make Me An Idiot.The book is reasonably priced and available for bulk rates. For more information contact Jon Gilbert at his website by the same name Same Child, Different Day.