A father recounts the challenges as well as joys of raising an autistic child.
Debut author Bishop was elated to have a daughter, Elizabeth, with his wife, Debbie, but they noticed some worrisome signs regarding her development early on. She struggled to sit up, could be very fussy, and was slow to hit the typical “milestones” like “sitting up, crawling, and walking.” A pediatrician was initially dismissive of the author’s anxieties, but Elizabeth was eventually diagnosed with autism, the result of mitochondrial disease. Bishop poignantly discusses the struggle to get his daughter the best care possible, a daunting task because so little is known about autism. He shares his own trial-and-error process experimenting with a whole host of strategies and therapeutic regimens, including an account of the financial difficulties he encountered paying for them. He eventually was able to petition the state to compel his insurance company to cover the cost of some of Elizabeth’s treatments. The memoir is primarily intended for families confronted with a similar trial, and carefully and clearly explains the various steps a parent must take—in the case of the author, this included taking legal action against derelict doctors—to ensure the best development of an autistic child. Each chapter ends with a numbered list of “lessons learned,” observations that should provide valuable counsel to other parents. Bishop even furnishes a sample letter appealing a denial of insurance coverage for an “experimental service.” He supplies useful, practical advice regarding the mechanics of medical treatment. And he also discusses the way in which he handled the stress of parenting an autistic child as well as the consolation he found in his Christian faith, a spirituality that forms the core of this remembrance. For all their travails, Bishop and his wife still discovered happiness in the experience of parenting, an inspiring optimism the author poignantly conveys: “She has taught us how to see the best in others, no matter how beset by problems they may be. She has helped us find a church home and brought us closer to it and to the Lord. She has taught us empathy.”
A valuable resource for parents with an autistic child, especially Christians.