Consultant Clinical Psychologist Katie Hunt and Helen Roswell provide a very accessible guide to autism and the added issues this may bring for an adoptive or foster child. The book is divided in to two parts. The first is a general introduction to autism, signs, symptoms and information about the diagnosis process. More importantly, the central message of the entire book is that every child with autism is different and whether diagnosed or not, the emphasis is on the parent or carer to get to know their child’s autism.
Having looked after a young boy with autism for some time now I found this book a refreshing change to others I have read. It does not blind you with technical professional language, instead offers explanations of terms used by professionals and explains the assessment process.
While the authors point out that they offer no quick fix to the issues faced, they do offer lots of advice and strategies based on their experiences as psychologists. The second part of the book looks at the additional challenges faced by adopted or fostered children and their parents. This includes coping with transitions such as contact, moving placements, or the daily move between school and home. There are lots of practical suggestions and ideas offered to help with these transitions, these range from pictorial guides, social scripts and visual timetables.
One important chapter in the book deals with attachment and the added issue this may present for child and parent. At the end of the book is a `getting to know my child’ check list to create an overview of your child’s autism and what it means for them. This is a useful tool for children going on respite or to a new school or placement, as it gives a clear picture of the daily issues the child faces, their behaviours and what may help or hinder them to cope with transitions.
Although written with adoptive and foster parents in mind, I would recommend this book to any parent or carer looking after an autistic child.
Review written by Jill Long, Foster Carer for Fusion Fostering