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on January 24, 2012
When I saw this book, I picked it up for my Kindle right away. It looked intriguing. While I do not have a child diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, I have my suspicians that my son is an Aspie's kid. This book was interesting but it also disappointed me in a few ways.
First the good:
I like how strong Alicia is in fighting for her son. Sometimes a mother DOES know something isn't right.
I like how she tries to push her son passed doctor's expectations.
Her admission that it takes a lot of time and resources to help these children.
I like that she explains any of the terms and therapies used to help autistic kids.
Her appreciation for early intervention. Where I live that is very hard to get. All of those therapies would have to be paid for out of my pocket.

The stuff I didn't like so much:
Alicia portrays herself heavily as a martyr. She repeatedly talks about everything she sacrifices but only touches briefly on what her other children miss out on due to her hyper focus on Ewan. She also makes her husbands contribution sound almost incidental when his financial contribution (while at times not enough) was all they had.
Sections and details are repeated in the book almost as if someone else added them and didn't bother to check to see if that information had already been given. For example, the reason behind Skye's names is described twice in the book in different sections.
Making doctors out to be the enemy and that she is always right got grating after awhile. In this book, only the people who agree with her theories and methods are good, the rest are bad. But then she cautions, every kid is different so don't just copy what we did. So, by that logic, those doctors and therapists may have been correct just not in her situation.

The ending was abrupt and clearly written as to entice you to get her next book.

Overall, I am glad I read this book. However, I feel greatly for her other children who seem somewhat neglected. I also feel for her husband. I am glad Ewan made a lot of progress. I am not sure I will read the follow up books but I hope he continues to make a lot of progress.
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on January 21, 2012
I fully admit that I am not the parent of a spectrum child, but I am a teacher who has worked with a number of ASD kids. This book is a comprehensive insight into the life of a family with a child who is on the Autism Spectrum. However, it's not the best written thing I ever read. I would like it more if, like my high school English teachers used to stress, she would "show" instead of "tell" more of her information, and I wish someone had edited more carefully (She has used "complaisant" when she means "complacent," "persona non grata" for person who is (completely welcome but) not present, and "pronunciate." Am I being picky?). She also gives the same information several times within the book, as if she hasn't already told you before. That said, though, it's a really good story, and I'm learning a lot, and I'm quite sure that I would not have made my way through her life with as much calm and drive as she has.

I also have somewhat of an issue with the ending. She stopped the book on a very abrupt cliffhanger. It was as if she had written a 500 page book, and an editor said "this is waaaay two long. We're going to have to break it into two parts." So she just found a likely place and ripped the manuscript in half. I have no sense of closure. That said, though, I will likely read her next book when it comes out so that I can learn what happened to her son.

Overall, this book was highly engaging, but somewhat of a bumpy ride.
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on June 8, 2011
What a wonderful, enthralling book. I was unable to put it down. A read of about 7 hours.
While the title indicates it will be about Autism, it is also more. It is a glimpse into the struggles, challenges, and ultimate finding their way saga and LIFE story of the Nees/Hart family.

If anyone has dealt with Autism they will not only relate to this book but also learn from it. Hope is given as the readers see Ewan come out of the silence and corners of Autism to share his interest in trains and gameboys and connect with the world around him.I couldn't help but cry the 1st time Ewan, through aid of a communication device, asked for pancakes. By the end of the book Ewan will be well onto his way of finding his voice.

Alicia Hart is a fighter for her child, recognizing almost instantly that something is "different" with her Ewan, which ultimately will lead to the Autism diagnosis. Her never accept less then the best for him, comes across as she seeks help from Dr. after Dr., and therapist after therapist. We read of the family's walk with Early intervention services, Speech therapy, Eating specialists, and later battles with the school system and stressful IEP meetings.

The book gives an honest,intimate look into the trials of parenting a child with special needs and how it affects everyone in the family. The ups and downs, the fears, and then the acceptance of a limitless future.

The writing also comes across as a glimpse into a personal journal. The stories come to life of those that have dealt with and survived the heartbreak of divorce, addictions, financial pressures, family stresses, miscarriage, Cancer, and even death.

Everyone will find something to relate to in this book and will be left wanting more.
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on June 7, 2011
I downloaded the kindle app onto my iphone just for this book and thank goodness I did. I couldn't stop reading it, which says a lot considering I have two special needs kids of my own to care for and shuttle between multiple therapies and preschools. But I was so glad to have this book in my pocket and my hand so I could get back to it every time I found my hands empty for a moment or two. I only recently found Alicia Hart's 'The Autism Life' facebook page but love the insights and couldn't wait for this book to come out. I was not disappointed. On the one hand I learned first hand and in intimate detail how another family navigated the difficult systems of therapies, school districts and service providers that I am now doing with my children, and on the other hand I was riveted by the deeply personal story of a family with foibles and failings all exposed to the light, falling apart and coming together around one amazing little autistic boy. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an autistic child, loves an autistic child or who works with autistic children. Ewan is a great example of just how much our kids can progress and achieve given the right tools and supports at the right times in their lives. And it is a good reminder to parents and educators that every autistic child is an individual and the most important thing is to address the individual strengths and challenges that every child presents. Parents need to look to therapists and educators for their years of experience, but therapists and educators need to look to the parents to get to know each particular child. Thank you Alicia for this wonderful book.
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on June 6, 2011
To be fair, I have been a fan of Ms. Hart's "Ewanisms" for some time, but I loved this book! I also have to commend her willingness to expose so much of her life (and that of her family) to show others how a family can and *must* cope with the search for, and then the results of, a special needs diagnosis. I found the book to have funny and touching moments that affected me as both a therapist(SLP) and as a parent. Looking forward to the next installment, and thank you for the insight into Ewan's world!
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on June 21, 2011
This is first and foremost a love story. Okay, yes, it's about autism too. But with this first book "Miss Lisha" has really chronicled a saga of growing up in the Midwest, finding love, losing family, struggling for a future with health and hope, and discovering herself--in pajama pants, eating Hostess and downing Diet Coke. And woven through all of that is Ewan's story. As his mom and advocate for children with autism everywhere, Ms. Hart drives home, with gutsy sometimes painful honesty, the point that life (and sickness, death, poverty, and addiction) goes on all around you, even in the midst of the chaos of trying to raise a son with autism and help him find his voice. (You'll love the story of Ewan's pancakes!) Autism is pervasive, not only to the child born with it, but also to the family coping with therapists and doctors and testing and teachers and theories and...everything. It impacts everyone. And with all of that, you would think that life would give you a break and stop spinning for a moment or two. But no. Brains, Trains, and Video Games illustrates with amazing clarity what families go through on a day-to-day basis. It's not all heart-wrenching, however--you have to laugh at the Patio Furniture Incident--and it's a fascinating look at one family's journey through the autism life. Read it if you've been there, or read it if you're supporting families on the same road. Bring on the sequel!
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on June 16, 2011
This book is priceless. It's not just a story about the joys and struggles of raising a child with autism; it's a story about the joys and struggles of a family, a marriage, parenthood, love, life, and death...a life that some of us know well, a life that some of have not even a clue about.
In the most selfless way, the author so eloquently tells her family's story not only to help other parents with children who have autism, but to also educate therapists, doctors, and teachers in order to help them help other families/children.

This true life story will make you cry, giggle, and laugh out loud. You will marvel at the sheer brilliance of this child and at the dedication and perseverance of his mother and father. For me, it has created an intense desire to meet Ewan and his family...and to make a re-entry into the field of working with children and adults with autism.

You will not regret the money or the time you spend wrapped up in this I said, priceless.
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on November 19, 2013
There is clearly much that this author is anxious to share with her audience, and some of it is well worth reading, but parts of the book are very rambling and repetitive. With several more serious edits, it could probably be a good book, but it needs more focus. I also am not a fan of books that don't stand on their own, but end with a "cliffhanger," particularly when the book is not a piece of fiction.
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on March 24, 2014
I felt with each turn of the page I was reading the page before. The book seemed to revolve more around the mother more than her son. I read the whole book hoping it would get better and go in some direction. It was like the author pulled pages from personal journals and tossed them into a book. Not edited or poof read. A lot of writing that did not pertain to the topic.
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on October 8, 2012
My son was diagnosed with Autsim when he was 3. Everything that I went through, I read in those pages. I laughed and cried while reading this book, but enjoyed every bit of it to the fullest. It gives you a look into the lives of families that struggle with things that other families take for granted. I hope to be reading the next one soon.
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