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Autism Heroes: Portraits of Families Meeting the Challenge Hardcover – November 15, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1843108375 ISBN-10: 1843108372 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Pub; 1 edition (November 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843108372
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843108375
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 9.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,799,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Few have the combination of compassion, rigorous knowledge, passion for the field, and accomplishments in helping literally thousands of children with autism spectrum disorders as does Barbara Firestone. She is also an extraordinary listener, and a great observer of people, making her perspectives and collection of family stories coupled with Joe Buissink's photography extremely rich, inspiring, and instructive. --Michael O'Hanlon, Brookings Institution

Barbara Firestone's book is truly an inspiration that carries an important message of hope. Autism Heroes is an intimate portrait of 38 families and their celebration of love, commitment, and pride in their own words and through Joe Buissink's lens. A must read for families everywhere beginning their journey. --Nancy D. Wiseman, First Signs

Autism Heroes is a gift to the autism community. Raising a child with autism has never been easy, but it just got easier, thanks to Barbara Firestone s wisdom and compassion, Joe Buissink's sensitive images and the courageous families willing to share their most intimate stories. Pediatricians can now say to families coping with a new diagnosis, have I got a book for you! --Eileen Costello, MD

Barbara Firestone's book is truly an inspiration that carries an important message of hope. Autism Heroes is an intimate portrait of 38 families and their celebration of love, commitment, and pride in their own words and through Joe Buissink's lens. A must read for families everywhere beginning their journey. --Nancy D. Wiseman, First Signs

Autism Heroes is a gift to the autism community. Raising a child with autism has never been easy, but it just got easier, thanks to Barbara Firestone s wisdom and compassion, Joe Buissink's sensitive images and the courageous families willing to share their most intimate stories. Pediatricians can now say to families coping with a new diagnosis, have I got a book for you! --Eileen Costello, MD

From the Publisher

Library Journal Starred Review--Autism and Asperger's syndrome have many faces-with this wonderful book, we get to see 38 of them. Readers are treated to a showcase of different aspects of living with autism through short vignettes (organized into sections titled "Dignity," "Hope," "Opportunity," and "Love") and brilliant photographs by Buissink. Firestone is the president and founder of the Help Group of Los Angeles, which serves children with a variety of special needs, including autism. The book is closely tied with the group; all of the families featured come from Southern California, including actors Joe Mantegna and Gary Cole and baseball pitcher Jim Gott. While brief, these passages reveal much about the different ways we learn about autism, relate to siblings, and deal with adulthood. A nice complement to Sharon Rosenbloom and Thomas Balsamo's Souls: Beneath and Beyond Autism, Heroes provides a nicer sense of what lies behind the picture. An excellent entry in the literature of autism and disability; strongly recommended for public libraries and academic libraries with disability studies collections. [All of the royalties are being donated to the Help Group.-Ed.]-Corey Seeman, Kresge Business Administration Lib., Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Autism Reader on December 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is really a lovely book that profiles 38 different families living with autism. As a mom to twins on the autism spectrum, how I wish this book was available when we first started our journey. The stories are full of hope and encouragement, honesty and love. It's large -- almost a coffee table book -- but full of beautiful black and white photos and pretty lengthy stories. The children profiled are of all ages, their families from all walks of life. I loved it.

I loved all the different voices of moms and dads as they tell of first getting that diagnosis and what their road has looked like since. I loved each bit of advice offered to other parents. It made me feel less alone and I was sad when I finished it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Being a good person far exceeds being a hero. I have said for many years that I would rather be deprived of the Beatles and be bombarded with painful loud noises than be a hero. To me, "hero" suggests looking for grandeur and acting on behalf of others with the thought of return. Often heroes lose their lives. To me, "hero" is far from an appealing concept. September 11, 2001 soured me on "heroism" all the more because I didn't like the way stepping up to the plate for others was viewed as the exception and not the rule and the way many appeared to expect kudos for doing so. Real benevolence seeks no return.

The families portrayed in this wonderful book are better than heroes - they are good people who have allowed their lives and those of their children with autism to be shared. Readers are treated to beautiful photographs and anecdotes and interviews from the families featured in this book.

Autism is an equal opportunity neurobiological condition that makes no distinction in who is affected. In our ever-dwindling quest for privacy in today's highly connected world, it is all the more courageous and generous for people to share their life stories of coping with autism in any form.

Dr. Firestone's book is a book for everybody regardless of placement or lack thereof on the autism/Asperger's spectrum. Experiences are validated; autism is accepted and unconditional love underscores the personal accounts each of these families have provided. John Lennon's 1971 magnum opus "Imagine" and his classic classic "Gimme Some Truth," also from Imagine would be the ideal soundtrack to this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Dabbagian on July 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Granted it's not easy raising an autistic child...actually it really isn't easy raising ANY child. But you have to realize that parents, while it might be tough, are not the real autism heroes here, as Firestone seems to constantly slather throughout her book. Rather, it is the people themselves with Autism or AS that are the real heroes. At the end of the day, they are the ones who make it and survive despite their hand in life.

That being said, let's talk turkey. This book isn't so much authored by as it is a collaboration between Firestone and several families dealing with kids on the spectrum. It goes to painstaking lengths to document every pain and challenge these parents have gone through...but again, there's something missing.

Where are the kids?

Autism is a lot more than just the nonverbal people or Rain Men you hear about. Many of these kids, and I'm sure the kids at the Help Group (Of which all the kids in the book were pulled from) would love to have contributed. But alas, no such luck for the kids. The book seems to make them out as nothing more than burdens parents have to bear, rather than individuals that may have talents, skills or even personalities.

Look, again, I get that it's not easy raising an autistic kid, but at the end of the day, when you compare a firefighter to the mother of a firefighter, who would YOU say is the real hero?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Linda Demer, MD, PhD on December 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Autism Heroes provides an intimate glimpse into the world of a ever-growing sector of the human population that cuts across social, economic, and cultural boundaries in a mysterious manner. The personal anecdotes presented by caregivers living and loving in the complex world of an autistic family member are sometimes heart rending, sometimes hilarious, and always enthralling, compelling, and sobering. It is incongruous that our technologically-advanced, information-savvy society has such little understanding of people with autism. In our present atmosphere of privacy, it is yet another act of heroism for these families to share this most personal and sensitive part of their lives. Dr. Firestone's work will touch hearts and open eyes to the beautiful spirit found in people with autism and the ones who love them. Her positive but honest and balanced outlook will help parents with newly diagnosed children get a foot-hold on the future possibilities and the breadth of the autistic spectrum. For veteran families, seeing their daily efforts recognized and honored will lighten their work. For professionals, it will provide insight into the kaleidoscope of consequences the diagnosis can have depending on the family context. To understand and address the unique needs of families struggling with autism is a great challenge, and this book is a respectful, heartwarming, and sensitive step toward that goal.
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