Book Review:The Oasis Guide to Asperger Syndrome

Parents of high functioning autistic children need unique resources

mom and daughter
mom and daughter. mom and daughter

Why a Special Book for Parents of "Aspies?"

Asperger Syndrome is no longer an official diagnosis, but the term is still used across the board. That's because it succinctly describes a group of people who, today, would be described as "high functioning autistic." 

Asperger Syndrome is -- or was! -- at the high end of the Autism Spectrum -- but individuals with Aspergers are still prone to many of the same issues as anyone else on the spectrum.

Some are highly sensitive to sound and light. Others are overwhelmed by large groups, or unable to manage frustration. Because they appear normal; their parents are often the target of criticism: "if only you'd discipline that child, he'd be able to handle the real world!"

From Website to Guidebook

While it may seem possible for parents of ALL children with autism to support one another, the reality is that kids on the spectrum are very different from one another. As a result, they're not facing the same issues or challenges. Parents of "aspies" need the support and insight of others in the same boat. That's why, in 1995, Patricia Romanowski Bashe and Barbara L. Kirby launched the highly successful OASIS (Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support) website. It wasn't until years later, though, that the website creators put together The Oasis Guide to Asperger Syndrome, a book version of the site and much more.

A Rich Mix of Resources

Many books have come out recently that guide parents through the process of evaluation and diagnosis, and lay out some of the many therapeutic options. Most give a good definition of the autism spectrum and describe the different diagnoses and their implications. Some are loaded with web resources, personal stories, and quotes from well-known authorities

Few books, though, are as positive and pragmatic as the OASIS Guide. And even fewer include such neat little extras as a how-to guide for creating social stories; sample goals for Individualized Educational Plans; and a list of 54 ideas for making the world easier and pleasanter for your child. These tools are not hard to find individually, but this book packages them up neatly and makes it easier for you to find and implement solutions right away.

Starting with the basics -- What is Asperger Syndrome -- the book covers such topics as individual medications, the ins and outs of special education, ideas for handling the teen years, and much more. With its optimistic forward by Australian Aspergers Tony Attwood, the OASIS Guide is well worth its purchase price.

OASIS Website Adds Value

Another plus for this particular book is the related OASIS website (now hosted at the MAAP website). There, the editors and parent members offer specific information and help on issues ranging from school and camp to family issues and finances. Forums on the site offer opportunities for discussion among parents of youngsters with Aspergers on topics ranging from diet to sports to college preparation. Together, the OASIS Guide and website are a solid combination, and terrific starting place for your and your child with Asperger Syndrome.