Staging a Miracle: A Practical Parent's Guide to Surviving an Autism Diagnosis

Review of Staging a Miracle: A Practical Parent’s Guide to Surviving an Autism Diagnosis

Staging a Miracle: A Practical Parent’s Guide To Surviving an Autism Diagnosis, by Jason Eden, is a hard-hitting book I came across quite by accident. It has been many years since my child was diagnosed with autism so I don’t generally read books on this topic; however, part of the title “surviving an autism diagnosis” piqued my interest. The author, Jason Eden, writes in a blunt, brutally honest tone which is clearly designed to save the parent of a newly diagnosed child time, since, as we all know, the clock for early intensive behavioral treatment starts ticking upon diagnosis. Eden dishes out “tough love” to the new parent, but then he shows his true colors when he says: “This will not be an easy journey, but that was guaranteed from the moment you first suspected there might be something different about your child. Let’s walk through this together, and let me help you set the stage for your own personal miracle”. Here’s a dad, laying it bare for all the world to see, in order to help his brethren, other parents of children with autism. The reader will appreciate Eden’s candor.

Eden makes a valiant effort at protecting the new parent’s bank account by attacking some of the more established snake-oil cures for autism as he recommends the most science-based approach, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). He then describes in some detail the steps he took to provide a program for his child. Eden was fortunate that there was an agency in town that enabled his family to learn quickly. Although not everyone will agree with
every decision Eden made in terms of treatment, for the most part, he offers very sound advice. I particularly enjoyed his experience with people in the child’s life who refused to buy into behavioral therapy but rather, attempted to “spoil” the child and thereby, undermine the progress. Most of us have travelled down that road before...

The author also includes a chapter on how to prepare advocacy for your child and actually discusses his various techniques in detail! This chapter is very valuable because, so often, parents of children with autism do not understand that it is not their requirements that are unreasonable, and it is not their child who is creating the problem; rather, it is the system that does not adequately accommodate the child. In other words, the parent of a child with autism is not unreasonable despite the picture often painted by the “professionals” in the educational system.

Eden takes us through his thought process when shopping for school districts. He calls this section, “Fighting When It’s Not Necessary or Helpful”. Sometimes, indeed, it is good to know when
not to fight…

Another important chapter discusses housing, and how to make sure that you are not discriminated against when renting a home (in his case, he changed school districts to be in a more autism friendly district). This is a valuable discussion to have since many parents are so concerned with the more pressing, immediate issues that they may not even realize that they are unwittingly sabotaging themselves and adding to the difficulty of finding appropriate housing.

From the shock of diagnosis, the search for treatment, the logistics of setting up and administering a treatment program, to the advocacy responsibilities, if you are a parent at the very beginning of the process, think about this book as a shield of armor to protect you against whatever may come your way.