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Child's Journey Out of Autism: One Family's Story of Living in Hope and Finding a Cure [Kindle Edition]

Leeann Whiffen
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Told with the intensity of a medical thriller, the extraordinary story of how Clay Whiffen and his family conquered autism.

"Leeann Whiffen's fight for her son is a poignant, intimate story of perseverance and love - a reminder to all of us that a mother is the greatest ally a child with autism will ever have. A Child's Journey out of Autism shines a heartfelt light on a future of healing and hope."
Jenny McCarthy, author of Mother Warriors and Louder than Words

The therapy costs $30,000. We'd be mortgaging our lives and our savings on something we're not even sure could help our son. But the clock is ticking: the longer we wait, the harder it will be to pull him out of this shell. How are we going to afford it? How can we not afford it?

When Clay Whiffen was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, his parents didn't know where to turn. They refused to believe that he could not be cured, and began to try every therapy they could afford - and many they couldn't. In this extraordinary story of one family's struggle with autism, Leeann Whiffen gives voice to the fear of losing a child and the fight to reclaim him, exploring what treatments eased her son Clay's symptoms, where the Whiffens found support, and how the family conquered one of the toughest challenges a child can face.

With a foreword by autism specialist Dr. Bryan Jepson, A Child's Journey out of Autism spells out what treatments worked, where the family found help, and how they made it through this crushing crisis. In a time of despair and confusion - when another child is diagnosed with autism every 20 minutes - this is a profound, proven message of hope for anyone whose life is touched by the disorder.


"I have heard so many stories like Clay's that I thought I could no longer be moved by them; I was wrong. This is an important book to read if your family has not been touched by autism, because it's important to understand the disorder that has affected so many all over the world. If someone you love is on the autism spectrum, read it because it will allow you to see that autism is treatable. While not all children make a complete recovery, improvements in their quality of life are possible at any age. I strongly recommend this moving and intelligent book."
Jane Johnson, Executive Director, Defeat Autism Now!

"This uplifting and positive book gives parents of newly-diagnosed children hope for the future. There is no easy fix or magic bullet for recovering a child from autism, but as Leeann so skillfully shows us, with perseverance and determination, the possibilities and rewards are endless. Thank you, Leeann, for sharing your story and empowering parents to make that journey to rediscover their child."
Chantal Sicile-Kira, author of Autism Life Skills, Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum, and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

"Leeann Whiffen takes the reader onto the rollercoaster ride that is autism from the first chapter to the last. A Child's Journey Out of Autism is field guide on how an average family can grow in love as they take on autism, refusing to accept the mainstream doom and gloom pronouncement that there is no hope or treatment. This is an important, really powerful book. If you know a child with autism, read this book for them."
Kim Stagliano, Managing Editor, Age of Autism, and mother of three girls with autism

"The journey from diagnosis to recovery is filled with obstacles and setbacks. The financial and emotional burdens families endure are heartbreaking. Yet, like the Whiffen family demonstrates, there is power in hope and determination. Parents like Leeann and Sean demonstrate that autism doesn't have to be a lifelong struggle?...

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The story of Clay Whiffen started out no differently than that of countless others diagnosed with autism: his parents, author Leeann and her husband, Sean, felt they could only watch as their happy baby morphed into a child they did not recognize. At first, the parents, in their 20s, denied their son could be autistic. (In the foreword, Dr. Bryan Jepson writes that in the mid-1980s, autism was a rare condition—1 in 5,000 children; by the mid-1990s, it had become the most common developmental disability with 1 in 150 children diagnosed.) But soon, Leeann writes, "I feel compelled to do whatever it takes to help Clay.... I stay up all hours of the night investigating everything related to autism." As Sean worked hard to cover the cost of Clay's treatment, Leeann became a master networker. The Whiffens decided on an applied behavior analysis program, and "I press forward in sheer faith that what we do will help him." Although the book's dialogue is often stilted, Whiffen has written an inspirational and educational story. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Bookended by photos of Clay Whiffen—one as a picture-perfect but blank-eyed toddler, the other as an engaged child, smiling impishly—this is mom Leeann’s story of an obsessive quest to restore normalcy for her child, at any cost. At the outset, she and husband Sean were in denial for several months, and even then, after Clay’s diagnosis and her beginning research into the disorder and various interventions, she was unable to bring the word autism to her lips, as if the word itself condemned Clay to unknown horrors. Of the myriad options available, a program called Applied Behavior Analysis seemed to show the best anecdotal results. With the hefty annual price tag of $30,000, however, it would swallow a substantial portion of the family’s income. But Sean reasoned they would spend any amount to rescue Clay from kidnappers, so money should become a secondary consideration with autism, too. In the end, that and other costs, including Leeann’s health, proved worthwhile. Clay’s autism diagnosis was removed. An inspiring account of love, luck, and dogged determination. --Donna Chavez

Product Details

  • File Size: 589 KB
  • Print Length: 339 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B004KAB6F4
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (March 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00348UN7U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,161 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring must read March 22, 2009
Leeann Whiffen has written a deeply intimate, poignant, and inspiring book describing the courageous journey her family traveled in their determined and successful efforts to recover her second son, Clay, from the grip of autism. As the mother of a teenage son with autism, I was completely drawn in as Ms. Whiffen provided a detailed account of Clay's health issues starting in infancy, and his emerging signs of autism. Even though the title gives the ending away, I could not put this book down, eager to read each chapter and follow the course taken to Clay's recovery.
Many parents with a child diagnosed on the autism spectrum will relate to Ms. Whiffen's anger and indignation when it is first suggested by a neighbor that Clay may have autism. In telling her family's story, Ms. Whiffen provides an account of events that will be painfully familiar to countless other families of children with autism. What might be unfamiliar to many who read this book is the reality that autism is treatable, and for some children, recovery is possible.
One of the strengths of this book is that it is not just a book about a family's struggle with autism. It is that, and so much more. Whether intended or not, Ms. Whiffen has provided an inspiring snap shot of a once somewhat insecure young woman, who comes to a place of empowerment through her conviction that she can find healing for her son. From beginning to end, there is no pretense about Ms. Whiffen. Much of the book's appeal is deeply rooted in her ability to tell her story with humility, and deep gratitude for the positive outcome for her son.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone has to read this book! February 27, 2009
Leeann Whiffen and her husband Sean were suddenly thrown into the world of nightmare when their two-year-old son Clay was diagnosed with PDD, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which is a form of autism. From that day forward, they went through the whirl of misinformation, doctors' inadequacy and fellow parents' misunderstandings, confused, sometimes cold and reproachful looks and comments. They hit every stumbling block, every wall and shutting door but they refused to give up. Because of the determination to win their son back from autism, they also met many helping angels on their journey: doctors who wanted and knew how to help, parents who suffered the same anguish, and people who wanted to help simply because they wanted to make a difference in one child's life.
A Child's Journey Out of Autism leads us through Leeann's incredible path of always holding on to hope. Even though it is a real-life story, it reads like a first class action and suspense book. Even all the medical terms and description, that otherwise could bore a reader to tears, are surprisingly interesting because they are written in a language of deep emotions. Leeann turns out to be a fantastic writer. Her writing is clear, very straightforward and engaging, grabbing a reader's attention from the first page and holding it to the very end. Probably the best part is that Leeann neither sanctifies nor victimizes herself. There are moments of doubt, selfishness and despair, but there are also moments of great joy, determination and courage to go on one more day. She is a normal mother who loves and cares for her children and who manages to win the battle despite being told that she never would. Precisely because of this `normalcy', Leeann's message of hope to other parents of autistic children is so powerful.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book, I recommend it! March 30, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My 6 year old son has autism, and when he was 3 and newly diagnosed, this was the first book I read. I was so encouraged. I have even been in touch with the author a few times after reading, such a sweet lady. After I read the book, I decided to do every single thing she did with her son, since she saw such marked improvement, and because of her recommendations, I saw crazy awesome things happen with my boy too. ABA therapy, the kind of intensive behavior treatment she recommended, has been the absolute most effective thing for my son, as well as the dietary changes we made. Because of this book, we started on a journey of recovery that I still believe will be completed. Very hopeful, encouraging and empowering!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important and inspiring book March 3, 2009
A Child's Journey Out of Autism is the true story of a young boy, Clay Whiffen, who was diagnosed with autism when he was a year and a half. Written by his mother, Leeann, the book starts at his birth, showing him as a normal, happy baby with some colic and digestion difficulties. The book follows along with him as he hits the developmental milestones, walking and saying a few words by his first birthday. Then we see his gradual and terrifying regression at a year and a half. His mother's refusal, at first, to accept autism as a diagnosis for her son. Then her fierce and determined effort to do whatever it takes to reclaim her son. Years of struggle is what it takes. Financial struggle to pay for the treatments; emotional struggle as the family pours so much energy and time into every aspect of their sons life, even to the extent of a special diet; health struggles as both parents face burn out. Yet in the end, their sacrifices are worth it. Just before time to start kindergarten, Clay is tested and taken off of the autism spectrum. What does that mean? A cure.

This is a truly important and brave book. I hope that it helps to give the autism epidemic in this country some further attention. Through her own family's story, Leeann is able to give hope that autism can be overcome. She explores some of the possible causes, siting her research, and even the opposing studies; and she also explores in detail the methods which helped to cure her son. I was impressed with her openness in the book. How can we help to inspire and encourage others if we are not honest with our own emotions: the positive and negative. Whiffen does not appear to try and whitewash herself, which is why I think this book is so powerful. Those suffering with similar issues know that they are not alone in their feelings.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book to read fast delivery
Published 1 month ago by Jennifer Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great book!
Published 1 month ago by Debbie Bramlett
Published 3 months ago by barbara hawes
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring, informative, enjoyable... one of the best books on autism I...
Thank you, Leeann for sharing your story with us. It was one of the most inspiring and helpful books on autism I have read. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Melanie
5.0 out of 5 stars great book.
Gives hope to those with family members with autism. Book is well written. A very touching book with a wonderful ending that is really the beginning.
Published 12 months ago by Joanna R. Switzer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Giving Hope to Autism Parents
I am a coordinator for an autism support group. We used our fundraising dollars to purchase a copy of this book for everyone attending and then met again for discussion. Read more
Published 17 months ago by JKK
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I recommend it to anyone I couldn't put it down read it in a day an a half great author
Published 19 months ago by Diana Aulet-colon
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
A heartwarming book of how to deal with cancer in your family. Children need and must know of the process that a cancer patient requires. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Barb Gillespie
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring True Story
I have read several books about autism in order to help and understand my friend and her daughter who is autistic. This one is a star!
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
Having a great-grand daughter with autism, I read this book and thought it was Tanna all over again. What a remarkable recovery through this program!
Published on February 19, 2013 by Marjorie Krueger
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More About the Author

Leeann Whiffen has served on the boards of local autism organizations, and provided voluntary assistance in consulting with hundreds of families facing autism throughout the U.S. She's presented at autism conferences and has been a featured guest on radio and TV stations to provide greater awareness and understanding of autism spectrum disorders.

Leeann co-authored the Early Intervention Fast Start Checklist developed for the Autism Council of Utah (ACU). She is a recipient of the "Outstanding Individual of the Year" award (ACU) and the EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award (Exceptional Parent magazine). She is a founding board member of the Utah Autism Coalition, a non-profit advocacy group and also served as the Autism Speaks Utah Chapter Advocacy co-chair. She is the current president and founder of Utah Autism Give, a 501(c)(3) charity helping families offset treatment costs. Leeann currently lives in Utah with her husband and three sons.

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