by Mitzi Waltz
Patient-Centered Guides, 2002
Review by Peter Wigg on Jul 15th 2003
In the preface the author, Mitzi
Waltz states, "the intention of this book is to bring together all the
basic information" about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). By providing an expansive coverage of the
broad array of issues related to ASD she has accomplished this goal. The book is inclusive in its coverage of
many topics including medical facts about autism, how to obtain a diagnosis and
pitfalls to avoid, as well as medical, therapeutic and educational
interventions. She does not shy away
from controversial topics but cites scientific studies along with cautionary
comments when an intervention has not been scientifically tested. She provides both sides to a controversy
such as the pros and cons of immunization and leaves it up to the reader to
decide if they wish to pursue a topic in more detail.
Because there is coverage of a wide
variety of topics the text at times lacks depth. There were moments when this reviewer wanted to know more about a
topic. The author addressed this by
including Internet websites or other resources for more extended
information. The appendixes include 150
pages of additional resources and references.
The text is highly readable, medical
and psychological terms are defined within the paragraph where they
appear. The words of parents are used
to share their experience through stories or quotes, which adds a personal
perspective and enlivens the material.
The tone of the book is positive,
yet realistic. Waltz states that "
People in the autistic spectrum are all unique and wonderful individuals many
with special talents to share and each with a right to be accepted." She emphasizes that improvement can be
achieved even while stating, "all goals can't be achieved at
once." She also acknowledges the
emotional turmoil that parents and caregivers experience.
Waltz has also sprinkled throughout
and specifically targeted the importance of parents becoming advocates. As with other topics she explains how to
advocate and prepares parents with information about their rights and current
laws as well as questions to consider when forming a strategy.
This text would be valuable to
parents who have a son or daughter who has recently been diagnosed with an
autism spectrum disorder. It would also
be a good resource for those parents who second-guess their decisions or those
looking for more help for their son or daughter. This text may reassure them that they are on the right road or it
may result in a discovery of a better intervention. This text would be informative for professionals who have
discovered autism and would like to learn more about the spectrum of related
Peter Wigg has worked in the field
of developmental disabilities for over 20 years. His drive to provide quality services lead him to return to
school; he is in the final stages of his doctorate in clinical psychology. He has worked for the past two years at the
Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities where he has specialized
in working with adolescents and adults diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder. His experience includes individual
psychotherapy, social skills groups, school consultation, and program