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Empowered Autism Parenting: Celebrating (and Defending) Your Child's Place in the World

ISBN: 978-0-470-47587-4
224 pages
August 2009, Jossey-Bass
Empowered Autism Parenting: Celebrating (and Defending) Your Child


How parents can appreciate their autistic children prevent them from being pathologized, over-medicated, and marginalized

In this groundbreaking book, William Stillman, an expert and passionate advocate on behalf of those with autism, offers a commonsense guide for parenting children with autism. He gives mothers and fathers, caregivers, and teachers the information they need to recognize the child with autism's unique personality, passions, and intellect and therefore liberate them from today's culture of fear. He shows why the current conventional incentive and reward systems send the wrong message to kids with autism and just don't work. This book offers a sensible ten-step guide for enriching relationships with kids with autism through a belief in their essential competence.

  • Includes information that liberates parents from the culture of fear surrounding autism
  • Explains how kids with autism are intelligent but may have unconventional methods of communication that need to be understood and appreciated
  • Shows why your child doesn't need traditional therapy or medication to "treat" autism
  • Written by an acclaimed expert on the topic of autism, who is himself an adult with Asperger's Syndrome
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Table of Contents

Foreword (Lu Hanessian).




1. Could It Be Autism?

2. Healing and Acceptance.


3. Presuming Your Child’s Intellect.

4. Supporting and Interpreting Your Child’s Communication.

5. Your Child’s Acute Sensitivities.


6. Understanding and Using Person-First Perspectives.

7. Autism Advocacy and Self-Advocacy.

8. Future Pathways.

Appendix: Tools and Resources.

Prescription Medication Questionnaire.

Pain and Discomfort Inventory.

Sensory Sensitivity Inventory.

Organization and Specialist Web Sites.

Books for Further Reading.

Recommended Viewing.

About the Author.


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Author Information

William Stillman is a passionate activist, consultant, and author in the field of autism. He has devoted his life to advocating for individuals on the autism spectrum. He can be contacted at www.williamstillman.com.

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"...for its suggestions of cultivating a healthier mindset, it’s a winner." -LibraryJournal.com (August 28, 2009)

“Hooray!  Hooray!  Finally a book that offers real hope and resources for parents of Autistic children to understand what their child is experiencing, and to make life for themselves and their child easier to manage.  Mr. Stillman speaks from experience as a person living with Asperger's Syndrome and as an advocate for those on the spectrum who can't speak for themselves. An expert and passionate advocate for those with autism, William Stillman has written a commonsense guide for parenting children with autism.  He believes that by giving those around the autistic child the information that they need to recognize their child's unique personality, will help liberate them from the culture of fear and the stigma so prevalent in our society. He demonstrates why the current methods that are used don't tend to work, and offers a ten-step guide for a better, more fulfilling relationship with children with autism.  By believing that they are essentially competent to handle tasks, their lives are enriched and so are the lives of those around them.” --- Marta Hoelscher, BasilandSpice.com


“Empowered Autism Parents is thought-provoking. It offers hope and real-world information for parents of children with Autism. Stillman puts aside common misperceptions to reveal the truth:  people with autism are intelligent, insightful and inspired-they just have a different way of showing their talents. And who would know better than someone who has spent his life advocating for himself and all those individuals who have been lucky enough to work with him?” --- Carine Nadal, Fabulously40.com


“Stillman, an adult with Asperger’s syndrome, encourages parents of children with autism to try to understand their child’s perspective of the disorder. He urges parents to discard a "fix-it" mentality and instead embrace their children as they are and to recognize their intelligence, and contribution to society, without viewing their difficulties or deficits as a hindrance. Stillman discounts the medical and diagnostic perceptions of autism to propose a reverence of those with differences and a desire to understand better their unique communication methods and insights.” --- Lisa M. Jordan, Library Journal


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Press Release

August 19, 2009
EMPOWERED AUTISM PARENTING: Celebrating (and Defending) Your Child's Place in the World

In the past twenty years, the number of children diagnosed with autism has exponentially grown; from 1 in 10,000 to as much as 1 in 150. For the millions of parents raising children with autism, the journey can be overwhelming, confusing, and stifling – not to mention costly. Instead of enabling professionals to define their child’s capabilities, parents need resources to help them gain the knowledge, compassion, and insight to trust themselves.

Most autism books are too often presented from a behavioral- or medical-model and written with an outsiders’ bias that focuses on the need to fix, recover and cure the autism “epidemic.” In contrast, EMPOWERED AUTISM PARENTING: Celebrating (and Defending) Your Child’s Place in the World (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint; August 2009; $16.95 / Paper; ISBN: 978-0-470-47587-4), by William Stillman, an adult advocate living with Asperger’s Syndrome, encourages parents and educators to protect children with autism from being pathologized, over-medicated, and marginalized, in order to understand their unique personalities, passions, and intellect. Through his distinct inside out perspective, Stillman aims to reshape the collective understanding of persons with autism as intelligent, insightful and inspired human beings entitled to participate and contribute to life in the fullest.

With a wise and compassionate tone, Stillman shatters myths about high-cost autism therapies and medications and instead teaches simple principals on how to:

- Realize your own “autisms” in order to see how you and your child are more alike than different
- Understand your non-verbal child’s symbolic communications and reinterpret these behaviors as legitimate communication
- Discover how your child best thinks, learns and retains information
- Learn ten concrete ways you can enrich the relationship with your child through a belief in competence
- Gather relevant information to support your child in his or her treatment regime by using the appendix’s simple tools and resources

For parents, teachers, and counselors, EMPOWERED AUTISUM PARENTING highlights the perseverance and compassion required of those caring for children with autism. It is, as Stillman notes in the introduction, “not a how-to-parenting guide but a volume designed to help you navigate interactions with autism and medical professionals, educators, and the community at large in  manner that will inspire you to serve as your child’s voice until he is in a position to advocate for himself.”

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