The Autism Bookshelf: Independent Woman’s Handbook

This past week, I had the pleasure of reading “The Independent Woman’s Handbook For Super Safe Living On The Autistic Spectrum” by Robyn Steward (available from Jessica Kingsley publishers.) Now, I think it is important to disclose that I am not on the autistic spectrum. However, three of my children are—and it is with that perspective that I read this book.
COVER
One of the most interesting things that I have recognized as a parent, is just how much I took for granted when it came to social cues and situations. These are skills that have mostly come easily to me—this is however not so for my children. So, one of my biggest concerns is how exactly do I help them to navigate this world so that they may live as full and as independent a life as possible: safely and with confidence. The answer is in this book.

The book is chock full of information. Some of the topics include “platonic relationships”, “sex”, “drugs alcohol and other substances”, “money”, “work” and “moods and emotions” to name a few. The last chapter “Useful skills and strategies for multiple situations,” is followed by an appendix that offers strategies, very useful resources, and references. It is so full and informative that if there is a specific topic not mentioned—one could very easily take what they have learned and apply it to most any situation.

…how exactly do I help them to navigate this world so that they may live as full and as independent a life as possible: safely and with confidence. The answer is in this book.

Although it is full of practical solutions and common sense advice, this is much more than a “how to” book. The author, who is also on the autistic spectrum, writes in a very honest and compelling manner. Sharing both her experiences and those of others (both on and off the spectrum) that she interviewed for this book. It is both open and honest—while at the same time accepting that the reader may have a different experience or point of view. There is a very strong message/theme throughout the entire book that says “It is OK to be who you are” that will empower its readers. Giving them confidence to make the decisions that will keep them both safe and secure in their choices—while at the same time, feeling good about who they are.

While the book is gender specific, I think that it could be a valuable tool for anyone on the spectrum—as well as for parents who have children on the spectrum. Right now, my daughter is too young for some of the topics. However, this book gives me really useful strategies, tips and tools so that I may raise her to live as full, independent and safe an adult as possible. Later on, It will be a wonderful resource for her.

If you are a woman on the spectrum, a parent of someone on the spectrum or work with people on the spectrum—this is a book you should own. Its honesty, openness and practical solutions make it a must have for your bookshelf. I wholeheartedly recommend this book—and can say quite honestly, that I hope she writes some more.

If you are so inclined, you may purchase a copy of the book here.


Kathleen Leopold is a blogger, one of the co-founders of the Autism Blogs Directory, and one of The Blog Ladies seen on The Autism Channel.