"“In every interaction regarding your child, hope for the best, but always be prepared for the worst."

Author Ashby is the mother of an autistic boy, Aaron. She believes that learning of this diagnosis is a shock, not unlike the grief experienced at the loss of a loved one. Expectations of typical parenting have to be set aside and a new set of plans and goals developed. Ashby has created this book to alert parents of children with autistic spectrum disorder that they must ceaselessly advocate for their child's rights to be sure that his/her needs are met through the school and other systems. Parents should begin the process by first locating a pediatrician specializing in autism and obtaining an assessment letter, a "golden ticket," detailing the services the child requires, and for reference in meetings with school officials to press for proper goals for the child. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are federal guidelines to protect the child's rights. Parents should be prepared to stand firm and argue every point on behalf of their child.

Ashby's book is short and to the point. She calls it a "30-minute read" written to guide parents who are baffled and distressed about their child's special needs like she once was. Though written from her view as a California parent, her observations about the inner workings of school systems doubtless apply in most states. She offers some interesting personal vignettes, such as once forcing an individualized educational plan meeting of three hours to stretch to twelve, demonstrating her tenacious stance in defense of Aaron's needs. She also vividly recalls the first time her son said "Mommy" and encourages parents that they, too, will experience many such "miracles." Written in plain language from a knowledgeable source, this fact-filled handbook can assist and encourage any parent of a child with special needs.

Return to USR Home