My friend, Andrea’s book, Awakened by Autism; Embracing Autism, Self, and Hope for a New World, came out this April. I knew it was coming out. I’ve been awaiting its arrival since she called me two years ago, both excited and amazed, to tell me she won an award through Hay House Publishing to publish her book about her journey as a mother of a child with autism.
Andrea is not only a mother, but a board certified physician in emergency medicine, and for a while had her own private practice treating children with autism. And when I say she’s a mother, she’s a warrior mother, working everyday to make sure her son, Jack, who has autism, and her two younger sons, Sam and Ben, will find happiness and connection in a beautiful, healthy world.
I don’t want to write this as a book review, I just want to tell you about it because it’s amazing and she’s my friend and she’s a writer, a writer who got her book published!!!! Her heart exposed on the page for everyone to see.
In 2006 Andrea’s first son, Jack, was diagnosed with autism when he was 20-months-old. After powering through her grief and fear and listening to doctors tell her there really wasn’t anything they could do to help Jack, she forged her own path to find the best ways to help her child, and other children with autism, live a fulfilling and beautiful life.
As a mother of a child with autism and a doctor who has treated many children with autism, she knows that although children with autism may exhibit common behaviors, the way we treat each child is complex and different. That the “specific biochemical makeup” of each child is “as different as their fingerprints.” And “to understand the body and its interconnectedness, we have to consider the carefully orchestrated dance between the digestive system, immune system, nervous system and detoxification system.”
Awakened by Autism is definitely geared towards the caretakers of children with autism, but I saw it as infinitely more than that. There is so much love and power in this book for all of us to look at the toxic state of our world, to look at how we connect and accept children with autism, even to look at healing ourselves, all through her own personal experience.
She also believes that we need to change the way we think of autism; it is not a behavioral disorder, but a social relational disorder. She believes in a path of helping children with autism through a holistic approach to include the mind, body and spirit of each child.
Her message is one of hope, for how parents and caregivers (and I believe, a society) can learn to “drop all fear and judgement of what” children with autism are “doing and learn to fully accept who [they] are.”
It’s a message of hope and healing.
These are her words from the last chapter, “Each of us has the potential to live in a higher frequency of life. Each of us can shed the beliefs that limit us in the favor of those that affirm us. Each of us is capable of unconditional love. Each of us can surround the world around us in a field of light.”
There were so many moments in reading this book that I had to put the book down and cry. I’m a cryer anyway, but reading her words, seeing her heart on the pages from her lowest moments of grief and pain, to moments of hope, happiness and peace, just got me! I cried tears of pain, but I also cried tears of joy.
Andrea, I’ve always known you were a beautiful person and friend, you’re a fantastic doctor full of compassion, and you have become a superhero mom. Now you can add amazingly talented writer to your list of accomplishments. Most importantly, you, my friend, surround the world around you in a field of light. Love you, Lady.