Review: A Child’s Journey Out of Autism by Leeann Whiffen

9781402218385About this book:

Told with the intensity of a medical thriller, A Child’s Journey Out of Autism: One Family’s Story of Living in Hope and Finding a Cure by Leeann Whiffen is the extraordinary story of how Clay Whiffen and his family conquered autism.

When Clay Whiffen was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, his parents didn’t know where to turn. They refused to believe that he could not be cured, and began to try every therapy they could afford — and many they couldn’t. Frantically they worked, knowing that Clay slipped further away every day. When intensive medical testing revealed that Clay no longer fit the criteria for any condition on the autism spectrum, the Whiffens’ wildest dreams were realized. Clay had become a typical child.

Written by Clay’s mother, A Child’s Journey Out of Autism spells out what treatments worked, where the family found help, and how they made it through this crushing crisis.

clayIn a time of despair and confusion—when a child is diagnosed with autism every twenty minutes—the extraordinary story of Clay Whiffen and his family’s victory over autism is a profound, proven message of hope for anyone whose life is touched by this disorder.

* A portion of the proceeds of this book will be donated to the National Autism Association

This review is from Barbara Cornish, a friend of a woman in my book club who has a personal interest in the subject:

As a mom of 2 Autistic children, 7 and 9 year of age, Leeann’s journey touched me in many ways. In many of the chapters I was right there in her shoes with her as she brought me back to many situations, emotions and victories that parallel my journey with this very same puzzling disease we call Autism. As someone who is also a member of the “mother warrior” club and 1 recovered child, I am thankful that Leeann has done such an eloquent job of putting her experiences into “A Child’s Journey Out of Autism”. This is one of the resources that I can pass on to those families that come to me with a child just diagnosed, with confidence, as I am a believer in the approach that the Whiffen family took with Clay. With one child still in the recovery process Leeann reminds me of why I need to keep pushing, and never give up on my boy, and at the same time embrace, love and enjoy him and all of the small things we overcome each day.

The author’s website can be found HERE.

A Child’s Journey Out of Autism is published by Sourcebooks Trade and is in stores this month.

My thoughts: I haven’t read the book but I wanted to mention that there is a huge debate in the autism community of parents and doctors who feel that there is no “cure” for autism. For instance, actress Jenny McCarthy has been very vocal about her beliefs; what she believes caused her son’s condition and how she found a cure. There is a movement to stop Jenny McCarthy and others who claim they’ve found the cure. It’s all very passionate and heated. I have no direct experience with or firsthand knowledge of parenting an autistic child, but I think there is value in reading about what has worked for some families, because it gives hope and inspiration to those living with autism. But to call it a cure is perhaps a stretch. At least the medical community no longer blames the mothers!  What are your feelings?


5 Responses

  1. Wow. I knew McCarthy had a personal stance on the subject since she went through hell with her son but I had no idea there was a movement to stop her. That seems insane to me.

    I do not have children that have been diagnosed with autism but if I did, I would try anything, and everything if I thought it would improve the lives of my children. I don’t fault any mother or parent for that matter for wanting to do that.

    Doctors are scientists. They want facts. They want numbers. I don’t fault them for that either but parents have to do what they feel is right for their kids. If kids improve while participating in a non-traditional treatment program then, so be it!

    Maybe it’s not a cure for autism, but it’s a cure for their kid at the time and for them, that’s all that matters.

  2. Let me first state that I have not read this book yet.

    However, as the mother of a child who has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS, I honestly do not believe there is a cure for autism, so much as there are some treatments and therapies which can benefit some children with spectrum disorders, and sometimes even alleviate some of the symptoms or issues, particularly when begun early.

    But, I also feel that because each child with a diagnosis in these ranges is so different, cures, as such (if they do truly exist), cannot be a one size fits all.

  3. I read this book and I think the title says a lot as far as it being a journey. The Whiffens worked tirelessly doing research and spent loads on special teachers, program and dietary supplements and it seems to have worked for them and some other families. I never got the idea that it was one size fits all, and I think so much is dependent on each child’s unique circumstance.

    I think it’s great that The Whiffen’s were able to find processes that worked for them and might be appropriate for other families. Leeann talked a lot in the book about having to learn to think for herself as far as doctors went because if she listened to her own pediatrician there wouldn’t have been a diagnosis much less a “cure” for her son. I think we should all be open to pursuing the treatments in a manner that is appropriate for our own personal circumstances. Medical theories and evidence usually conflict so I guess you have to find doctors that you trust and determine what works best for you.

  4. I think that as long as parents don’t hurt their kids in the process of trying to find a “cure,” every option should be explored. We know so little about autism that it’s especially important not to eliminate treatments that could lead us to a real, universal cure.

  5. As a mother of a three year old who has just received a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, I will attempt to do anything and everything to help make my little boy’s life that much easier, and I absolutely understand why the author went to such lengths . It is complicated and often misunderstood and I hope this book helps us all to understand Autism better.

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