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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
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.
This is also a beautiful love story; the love of parents for their children; the love of parents of children with autism for other parents of children with autism; and the love that the author shares with her husband, Sean.
Leeann Whiffen never makes the battle she waged against her son's autism seem easy. However, by writing this extraordinary book, she has made the battle easier for the families of newly diagnosed children who will receive prudent guidance in reading her book.
This book is for every parent, not just for those whose children are diagnosed with autism. A portion of the proceeds from "A Child's Journey Out of Autism" will go to the National Autism Association, a worthwhile cause supporting families affected by autism.

Ricci Carole King
Moderator, Autism Biomdedical Discussion
ABMD@yahoogroups.com
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
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. I couldn't help but care and cheer for every member of the Whiffen's family: Leeann, her husband Sean and their two wonderful boys, Clay and Drew (who, by the way, is a wonderful, courageous brother and friend to Clay). I cried tears of sorrow and joy, and I guarantee that everyone who reads this book will too.
This book however, should be read by every parent, not only the ones with autistic children. It is a story of how to appreciate every little thing about our children, how to love them fully and unconditionally. It is a story of perseverance in the face of biggest despair, of determination to never give up, even if we are told that that's precisely what we should do.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified 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
Format: Paperback
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. Those of us you have no experience with autism are able to clearly see the struggles inherent. I laughed and cried while reading this book, and can't imagine anyone making it through with a dry eye.

I would recommend this book to anyone who cares about the health and future of the children in our country; whether you have children with autism, or no children at all. This is an important issue that effects 1/165 children born after 2000. It needs more attention so that more funding can go into the research, and more children can be saved.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
A Child's Journey Out of Autism is a bright light in what, for many parents, is a very dark place. Thanks to all the parents who have gone before her with diligent work and all the researchers who refuse to give up, Leeann's unrelenting determination and hard work paid off, not only for Clay, but for those children not yet diagnosed. Parents new to the "world of autism" can open this book for strength and courage as they maneuver the road to recovery.

I am thrilled that this book is there for the hundreds of parents I talk with every month who are struggling to help their own children with autism. The road ahead looks brighter and easier to navigate having A Child's Journey Out of Autism as a guide.

May the research continue and may we be better equipped to recover our little one as well as those who have been living with autism many years.

Thanks Leeann!

Nancy H Cale
Vice President, Unlocking Autism
[...]
Manager, ARI Call Center
[...]
Defeat Autism Now! Outreach Coordinator
[...]
Director of Counseling, Nat'l Vaccine Information Center
[...]
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Leeann Whiffen's "A Child's Journey Out Of Autism" is a shining example of one family's triumph over autism. It absolutely explodes with emotion and familiarity. Leeann's easy-to-read, true-life tale of her family's struggles, challenges and search for answers leaves the reader once again encouraged, motivated and inspired. It rekindles hope. I highly recommend this book for anyone touched by autism.

As the parent of a child with the autism label, I evoke those not yet familiar with the world's now most prevalent childhood debacle; to please take the time to read Ms. Wiffen's literary accomplishment. For those of us still encompassing this ill sought epic, that which we need most is encouragement, understanding and compassion. "A Child's Journey Out Of Autism" will undoubtedly, easily provide the reader with a fuller, better appreciation and empathy for families living the autism rife.

Lin Wessels
Sam's mom
Autism Action Network, District Leader
Piecing It All Together, Treasurer
Something For Sam, Autism Advocacy
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
As I read this book, I felt like I was with Leeann as she struggled to find answers to help her son. The pain and heartache; the courage and determination; the love and joy were all abundantly felt as I traveled on this journey with Leeann. Not only was I educated on the issues that families with autistic children face, but I was deeply moved to want to help in the cause. Leeann would most likely describe herself as an ordinary mother, but I found the love and courage that she showed for her son extraordinary! If all children were as fortunate to have such supportive parents, this world would truly be a different place!

I would recommend this book for anyone who likes a touching story; whether they have children or not. I would especially recommend it to individuals who find themselves in a similar situation as Leeann. I truly believe that her insights would help someone know where start in their own recovery plan.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
LeeAnn Whiffen has been able to write an awe-inspiring account of Autism from Diagnosis to Recovery. This book is a must read for Parents of newly-diagnosed children, to show that all hope is not lost. It is also an excellent example of how to become a part of the solution,r ather than grieving over the problem. This shows how important early intervention is. I will also be recommending it to others who may not understand the depth of the pain this diagnosis can bring to a parent as well as the joys of each new step forward. LeeAnn expressed almost every feeling I had during those first months after my son's diagnosis. This book may be the tool for understanding for others who don't live with Autism every day.

Sharon Boyd
Austin's Mommy and Advocate
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Leeann Whiffen writes a compelling and inspiring story about her family's desire to help their son, Clay, conquer autism. When Clay was diagnosed before the age of two, Whiffen refused to believe there wasn't something she could do. This story is a wonderful resource and is told in such a manner that balances clear medical explanations with a very personal story. As a mother, I admire Whiffen's strength and pledge to "never give up." I highly recommend this read to anyone interested in learning about autism and a variety of therapy treatments. You will finish the book with tears in your eyes and a hopeful heart.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is such a fantastic book. It should be read by anyone who is planning to have kids or who knows someone planning to have kids! Early recognition of possible autism is the key, obviously, to early intervention. I speak from personal experience when I say that early intervention CAN recover a child with autism or seriously mitigate the effects. If you have a child with a diagnosis PLEASE read this book. The diet seems impossible but once you get going it just becomes another part of your life. ABA is not cheap or easy to get but it is essential!! Make it happen.
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