One of Us: A Family's Life with Autism

Mark Osteen. Univ. of Missouri, $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8262-1902-2
A Professor of English at Loyola University and a father, Osteen writes with candor as describes the frustrations of advocating for a child with special needs. His son, Cameron, is autistic, and Osteen wonders through their struggles, "if even Cam would choose to live through all this again." The potentially bleak story, written about a son who will never read it, is balanced with thoughtful consideration of larger issues, such as parent/child conflict, responsibilities for the disabled, and the meaning of family. We also see disappointing descriptions of schools, institutions and organizations specifically designed to educate children with disabilities, and the politics of their care-taking. The narrative is well-written and Osteen recreates events in a conversational style. Scholarly references are included, such as a succinct and lucid explanation of the Lovaas method of Applied Behavioral Analysis, a controversial therapy for autism. Occasionally heartbreaking, at times darkly humorous, the text demonstrates not only the ordeals of a family, but also the ingenuity of human survival. Photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 04/18/2011
Release date: 11/01/2010
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