Category Archives: Autism

On World Autism Awareness Day: Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery

Temple Grandin has always been different. From her infancy her parents knew she was a child unlike any other, her father believed her to be mentally deficient but her mother knew that somewhere under Temple’s erratic and odd behaviors, was a child filled with curiosity, talent and love.  Temple developed behind other children and did not speak until the age of five but once she did she showed a personality and wit that stood out among the crowd of typical children. Still she often found comfort in twirling for hours on end and her senses were often extremely sensitive to touch, sound and light. However Temple’s mother knew Temple was different but not less. The name eventually given to Temple’s condition was autism.

Autism caused Temple to struggle through elementary and middle school and she was at times subject to bullying but as she got older she learned to make her way in the world. While navigating through society Temple found that not only did she have amazing talents but she also could do things no one else was capable of. She found that at times autism was a gift that allowed her to think in ways others could not. You see Temple thought in pictures instead of words and this allowed her to visualize things in a very special way.

For instance Temple had the ability to think the way an animal could since she was so attuned to their senses and behavior. She especially loved and felt a kinship with cows. This ability led to her career in animal husbandry and her deep love of cattle turned into a talent unlike any other. Today Temple Grandin is one of the most prominent figures in the meat packing industry where she designs humane treatment systems for all types of livestock. At this time in history Temple has done more for creating humane conditions for “food animals” than any other living human being.

Today through her role as an ambassador for the humane treatment of livestock and her role as an advocate for those with autism, Temple provides a dual voice to those who might not otherwise have one. She is also renown for her ability to explain how autism feels and the differences in her brain and those of most other people.

Within this new biography children are given a very personal account of Temple and her life. Pictures, drawings and other media only bring readers further into Temple’s world.

Additionally the book chooses to address both children with and without autism making it inclusive and educational at the same time. While showing the challenges that Temple faced readers can actually see the aspects of autism that can have a negative affect on an individual on the autism spectrum. However at the same time the reader is also shown those special abilities that can make an autistic individual exceptional.

Sy Montgomery also does a spectacular job of writing for the middle grade age group. At one point even making a Harry Potter reference by which to explain an individual like Temple living with autism. While Harry’s abilities might have been a bit scary among muggles but once he was accepted into Hogwart’s and given a chance to be a part of things; he blossomed. As would children with autism if they were accepted and treated as equals by other children.

In the end the message is one of acceptance and inclusion for all using autism awareness and education as the vehicle by which to make it happen. Bravo!

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World will be released on April 3, 2012. You can also visit Temple at her website.

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Filed under Autism, Children's Non-Fiction, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Parenthood Picks

Review: Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism by Arthur Fleischmann with Carly Fleischmann

   Carly and Taryn Fleischmann’s parents had the same hopes and dreams of every loving parent when their twin daughters were born. However shortly after their birth those dreams came crashing down as the days passed and they noticed the differences between their two beautiful girls.  Taryn reached and surpassed each typical developmental milestone such as crawling and interacting with the environment and individuals around her but Carly seemed to be lost in a world of her own unable to complete even simplest of tasks and without the means to communicate even the most basic of needs.

Finally after what seemed like an eternity of consulting countless numbers of doctors and specialists, the Fleischmanns were devastated to be informed that Carly was severely autistic. The family was told their daughter would probably never talk or advance much past the intellectual abilities of a small child. Despite the odds against them the Flesichmanns sacrificed to pursue a course of aggressive therapy and intervention to help their daughter to achieve all she could in life. While hopeful Carly’s parents prayed for the best but they also had to accept that life would never be easy and every day would be a battle against an unseen enemy that held their daughter in it’s clutches.

Miraculously at the age of ten after a decade of almost no communication with those closest to her, Carly astounded everyone by typing onto a laptop.  It was a defining moment in her life in which she came out of a world of silence and truly engaged with the people around her. Through hard work and perseverance what was once one word became two and then sentences emerged.  Carly had a voice.

Today Carly is an inspiring young woman who offers a glimpse into a life lived with autism as she shares her experiences and thoughts with the entire world through the Internet and social media. Through her remarkable journey she has become a national figure as she explores every aspect of what it means to be autistic within her writing. Witty, sarcastic and yet heartfelt Carly’s words show personality and intellect while shining with her strength and determination.  Coming from a person who once held all her thoughts inside with no outlet, every word from Carly is precious and full of meaning. She is truly a figure of hope to those within the autism community as she shows that the impossible can happen and to never give up on our children no matter their diagnosis or the challenges they face.

Carly’s Voice offers readers an inside look at the isolating condition known as autism from both a family and personal perspective as father and daughter collaborate to share their experiences. Readers are given a truthful and raw look at the every day lives of families and individuals living with autism. It is especially poignant as a story of endurance and hope for those who battle autism on a daily basis.

Today Carly attends a mainstream high school where she in enrolled in gifted classes. Her writing and outreach to the world have made her a unique and powerful advocate for autism.  Carly’s Voice is yet another outlet for both Carly and the Fleischmann’s to share their story while empowering parents and individuals living with autism to never give up. Informative and educational it is also a spectacular resource for those wanting to learn more about autism from those who live it firsthand.

You can visit Carly at here own website here.

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Filed under Autism, New Books, Non-Fiction, Parenthood Picks

Happy 5th Blogoversary Stiletto Storytime

It’s so hard to believe it has been five years that Stiletto Storytime has been a part of my life. It’s been with me through so very much. It’s a testament to many things about me. It’s an outpouring of my love for the written word, an outlet for supporting authors, book bloggers and the act of reading in itself and as I have found in this past year especially; it’s a way to hold on to a piece of who I am in this crazy world when life tries its hardest to get the best of you.

I don’t often get too personal at Stiletto Storytime. Most the time I keep it simply about the books and that’s always seemed appropriate to me but I would like to share something on this momentous occasion as I reach the milestone of five years in this crazy book blogging world. You see Stiletto Storytime almost didn’t turn five. As many of you may have noticed there has been a definite decrease in posting in this last year. It’s something I apologize for and that truly bothers me as I consider my blog to be a very important responsibility and a pleasure because of the wonderful readers that I call my own. However there are other things in life that trump a blog in the big picture and chiefly among those is my family.

I never really sat down and considered why I read. For me it’s always been as natural as eating and sleeping. It’s just something I was born to do. However in the past year reading has taken on a whole new meaning for me…it has become a way to find answers to the most important of issues, to  reach decisions based on facts and at times a way to escape the world when I feel I have simply been handed way too much. You see in this past year my beautiful son who many of you have watched grow through Little Man Reads has been diagnosed with autism. This past year has been not only a struggle but absolutely the hardest I have faced in my entire life. At times reading and posting on this blog has not only been hard because of time restraints and his need of me but also in some ways it felt pointless. What did it all count for when my little man was so desperately in need of me? What did it mean when my world was coming crashing down on me as the most important thing in the world to me was in jeopardy? Why did I even bother?

The answer: it meant my identity. It meant a way to stay connected to who I am as a person and in that way to be a better mother to my son. Stiletto Storytime has been my outlet to the outside world at times. My friends and book buddies have been a support system and a cheerleading team. And reading…my dear old friend has given me the information and the power to know how to help my son and give him the best possible outlook for his future which I know deep in my heart is certainly bright. So this year I thank my blog, my readers and all my dear bookish friends for always being there. It’s because of you that I am celebrating five years here at Stiletto Storytime. And it’s because of you that I have hope for many more. On that note Happy Blogoversary Stiletto Storytime and as always…Happy Reading to All!


Filed under Autism, Contests, Reading Fun