Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition

From the moment I first opened Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition by Ellen Notbohm, every time I read yet another gem of advice I would ask myself, “What on earth happens to children with autism growing up with families, teachers, other caregivers, and friends who do not know this?” Ellen Notbohm is knowledgeable about her topic and is a skilled wordsmith to get her points across. She wrote this practical guidebook not only once in 2004 but in 2012 we have an updated and expanded edition.

My role in all this is to write a review that will convince folks intertwined with the autism community someway or other that they must make time to read Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew.  By being better informed about the characteristics of children with autism it will empower them to do what is right for their child/student and their family. This book helps everyone understand the needs and the potential of every child with autism.

Those of you who do not think such a book applies to you, you are mistaken. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1 in 88 children in United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Not a day should go by that we do not interact with an individual or a family with a child with autism. We should all know more about autism spectrum disorder; therefore, I highly recommend reading Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew.

About the Book

People in all walks of life are saying only great things about Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew. A few adjectives used are positive, inspirational, insightful, intelligent, and emphatic.   Ellen Notbohm, a mother of sons with autism and ADHD, writes from experience and from the heart. Her positive messages cross over to families of children with many special needs.

The author tells us the goal of parents should be to equip our children with the skills necessary to progress toward productive, happy, independent adulthood. Being a self-sufficient adult who will be OK when his parents have passed away is a long process with many players involved. Like the author says, “…the quality of his tomorrows depends on each today that comes before it…”

Ms. Notbohm’s book is like the coach in your game of life.  She has the basic rules of survival and the plays needed to reach your goals. This tenacious mom’s guidebook touches all the bases from early childhood to early adulthood. She admits their parenting journey was difficult at times. This honestly will endear her to parents who will feel she knows what they are going through.

Many of her suggestions are simple and just plain common sense; however, many need to read her book to realize it is true. Don’t be fooled by the title’s use of the words, “Ten Things”. The book has ten chapters, each one dealing with one of the “ten things”. Here are the titles of four of those ten chapters :
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition by Ellen Notbohm

  • My senses are out of sync.
  • Distinguish between won’t and can’t.
  • Listen to all the ways I’m trying to communicate.
  • Identify what triggers my meltdowns.

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew is crammed from cover to cover with immediately doable advice.  Here are some suggestions from the author:

  • We need to understand the world as the way the child with autism experiences it. We must understand how sensory processing challenges can affect a child’s behavior. We must recognize that all behavior is communication and happens for a reason.
  • Perspective is everything.  Think of your child’s most challenging behavior in a positive light. Instead of thinking your child is obsessively neat. Be happy that he has great organizational skills. She says, “Your child or student will become a reflection of your perspective and the perspective of those who teach and guide him.
  • Love your child unconditionally. View autism as a different ability rather than a disability. What you choose to believe about your child’s autism can make all the difference. Start with a blank slate of possibility and many things are possible!
  • Use affirmative brainwashing. Let him know you value his strengths and gifts. If you believe he can, soon he will believe he can and only good things come from self-esteem.
  • The author spends a lot of time discussing the correct “language of autism”. I almost feel like I’m walking on egg shells writing this review fearing to use a phrase or word that she says is unacceptable. With some comments like ” a child suffers from autism” it is easy to understand the reasoning behind not using it. Other parts of this discussion were less clear. A bilingual friend once said, “Oh my, so if we have Alzheimer we will be forgetful  in two languages!” I feel with this issue of language I will unknowingly make a serious  faux pas in two languages before I get it right.
  • This edition of her book has a section Ten Things I Want My High School Senior with Autism to Know.  You will find very important advice for young adults as they transition into adulthood.  The advice is not autism-specific…proving once more that this book if for everyone.
  • One important lesson is under the subheading, “Know when to ask for help”.  Let your child know the difference between “being strong” and headstrong. Asking for help and learning from those who help you is a mark of strength and maturity, not weakness or inability.

Features of the Book

  • How Ellen Notbohm’s skillfully weaves humor, personal stories, and knowhow from cover to cover to make this an interesting and very informative book
  • Detailed chapter titles and an index make this book a resource you will return to time and time again.
  • It is easy to understand and the many anecdotes really bring her points across.
  • A ten page appendix entitled, “Questions for discussion and self-reflection” has over seventy questions.

Readers will be able to relate to Ellen Notbohm’s life.  She wanted what was best for her children and that was her driving force day after day. This “window in her life” is so well portrayed that you rejoice with her when her children reach milestones or even  inchstones.  One “high five moment” is when her son received his first pay check.

There is no doubt, Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition by Ellen Notbohm and edited by Veronica Zysk will be a permanent addition to your book shelf. A timely and timeless resource you will reread when you need signposts to navigate around the pitfalls in your parenting or teaching journey.

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition by Ellen Notbohm, About the Author

Ellen Notbohm is an award-winning author and mother of sons with ADHD and autism. Her work has informed and delighted millions in more than nineteen languages. Her books have won numerous honors, including a Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards and three ForeWord Book on Year finalist designations. She contributes to numerous publications, classrooms, conferences, and websites worldwide.

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s, 2nd edition, co-authored with Veronica Zysk, won a silver medal in the 2010 Independent Book Publishers Awards.  Read our review of this book here.

Ellen is a columnist for Autism Asperger’s Digest magazine (2004-2009, 2011- ) and Children’s Voice (2006- ).1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's: EXPANDED 2nd EDITION by Ellen Notbohm



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This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.