Autism touches everyone. Whether it is your own child or your child’s playmate, a family member, or a friend, it is fair to say that autism is no longer a rare disorder.
April is autism awareness month. According to the United Nations, autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) affect tens of millions worldwide. While science has yet to determine definitely the cause or causes of autism, medical experts are hard at work researching and developing new treatments. For families of autistic children, keeping track of these developments can be a full-time job. That’s why Ken Siri took matters into his own hands.
In June 2008, Ken took full custody of his autistic son Alex, an angelic-looking 11-year old with golden curls. Immersing himself in Alex’s education and treatment, Ken joined the parent-teacher association at his son’s school. In November 2009, Ken was, in his words, “shooting his mouth off” at a meeting and said he was going to write a book on autism. Much to his surprise, the man next to him, Tony Lyons, said, “I’m a book publisher,” and before Ken knew it, he had a two-book deal.
The result of their collaboration is Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism, a compendium of the most recent research, therapies and treatments related to autism. Out in bookstores this month (list price $17.95), the book is an A-Z encyclopedia with contributions from more than 50 experts.
According to the publisher, “Each contributor gives the reader a basic description of a topic, including its scientific rationale, development, risks, and benefits. Siri and Lyons also include the therapies of the future, focusing on current clinical trials and ongoing research.”
It has been a labor of love for the devoted father who knows how difficult it is for parents to find time to do research themselves. As Ken says, “I feel like I’m at ‘war’ with autism; there have been studies equating the stress level of parents of autistic children with combat soldiers.” Each of the new therapies described in the book is another front with potential for victory in that war.
Ken’s next book, due out in the fall of 2010, is 1001 Tips for Parents of Autistic Boys.
Temple of Inspiration (Meghan’s blog detailing Ken’s inspiring story!)
After exploring five careers in five cities in just over five years, Meghan Thompson has built up a wealth of knowledge about what she does not want to do with her life (including teaching, politics, banking, communications and PR). Meghan is finally doing what she does want to do (writing) where she wants to do it (in England) with the support of her husband, the amazing “rugby bloke” and their incredible son, “Sir Grinsalot,” who joined them in October 2009.