Book Review: Ten Things Every child with autism wishes you knew
By Ellen Notbohm
Notbohm’s refreshing stance on autism spectrum disorder is apparent in even in her dedication – to her sons ‘who are doing a good job of raising me.’ As a parent of two sons, one with autism, she speaks as a parent and offers accurate information about autism itself as well as how to navigate services and the educational system with your child. She intersperses excellent information with anecdotes about her own son’s development, so you are really on a journey with someone who’s been there.
Notbohm does her best to normalize life on the spectrum and deescalate the media frenzy surrounding ASD, including refusing to refer to autism with a capital A or referring to people without ASD as neurotypical. She frames ASD as belonging on the human continuum, rather than a pathology.
The sole purpose of this book is to hand the reader ten things a child with ASD wishes you knew about autism. Notbohm delivers.
The ten things are expanded upon at length in individual chapters. Briefly, they are: I am a whole child; My senses are out of synch; Distinguish between want and can’t; I am a concrete thinker; I interpret language literally; Listen to all the ways I’m trying to communicate; Picture this! I am visually oriented; Focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can’t do; Help me with social interactions; Identify what triggers my meltdowns; and Love me unconditionally.
Each chapter is clearly written and informative as Notbohm expands on her ideas. The information is accurate and insightful. It is detailed enough to be of use to professionals and parents alike. The details of her son’s experiences bring this information to life. Her sensory chapter alone is worth reading the book. Notbohm does an excellent job unpacking the sensory pitfalls on a sense-by-sense basis, expounding upon those hypersensitive and hyposensitive. She describes how olfactory hypersensitivity nearly derailed a trip to Disney world.
This chapter dovetails nicely into a discussion of ‘can’t’ versus ‘won’t.’
Ten Things is an excellent discussion of autism for parents and professionals alike, and worth revisiting for those familiar with the field. If things are sliding off track, reviewing Ten Things can help tighten programs, and schedules. And, most importantly, Ten Things keeps the individual with ASD’s experiences front and centre.
From the back of Ten Things Every child with autism wishes you knew:
By Ellen Notbohm
Award-winning author and mother of sons with ADHD and autism, Ellen Notbohm’s work has informed and delighted millions in more than nineteen languages. Her books have won numerous honours, including a Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards and three ForeWord Book of the Year finalist designations. She contributes to numerous publications, classrooms, conferences, and websites worldwide. Read excerpts of all Ellen’s books at
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I was sent a copy of Ten Things Every child with autism wishes you knew and few other resources for review. All opinions are my own. If you purchase items using the coupon code HALFPAST through Sensory World or Future Horizons I will receive a small percentage of the purchase amount. But the bottom line is these are amazing resources from an excellent provider. Be sure to check them out!