Thursday, July 12, 2012

{Review} School Daze by Dr. Sharon A. Mitchell

ASIN #: B0085HN9HQ
File Size: 345 KB
Page Count: 198
Copyright: April 29, 2012
Publisher: ASD Publishing, 2nd Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

After suddenly receiving custody of his five year old son, Ben must learn how to be a father to a child with autism. Ben's sixty hour a week work schedule goes out the window. Teacher Melanie Nicols sees Ben as a dead beat dad, but grudgingly comes to admire how he hangs in, determined to learn for his son's sake. Her admiration grows to more as father and son come to rely on her.

Kathy's Review:

While the author is obviously knowledgeable about autism and the challenges a parent faces with an autistic child, this book read more to me like an exaggerated case study than a work of fiction. Ben, whose life is turned upside down when his ex delivers his five-year-old son to his doorstep, bumbles through one scenario after another like a bull through a china shop. It reminded me of a film strip from driver's ed or something similar where the scenarios are so ridiculous you almost have to laugh. This is probably a good teaching manual and I'm sure parents of autistic children could relate to the challenges Ben faces throughout with Kyle, but it seemed to me that most of Ben's mistakes were errors in common sense.

The romantic side-plot between Ben and Melanie, Kyle's teacher, is sweet. Though most of the book is told in third person but most follows Ben's point of view, occasionally Mel slips in there. She misjudges Ben at first because of how ignorant he is when it comes to parenting in general, and parenting an autistic child in particular. As he increasingly leans on her for help with Kyle, they get to know each other better.

I'd recommend this book to parents who are just learning about autism for the first time. It's a lighthearted, easy read that will help you understand the common mistakes a parent might make with an autistic child. Parents will benefit from references to methods of calming a child, different toys and gadgets used for autistic children, and ways to adapt a child to a routine. There are even links in the back of the book to sites where you can find out more information.

*A Smashwords coupon was provided by the author for a free download of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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