Autism and the Extended Family

extended family autism

How does Autism affect an extended family? Many books and articles don’t directly address the issues surrounding a disability and how it affects the child and their extended family. Autism and the Extended Family written by Raun D. Melmed, MD and Maria Bird-West Wheeler is a helpful guide for those outside the immediate family who know and love someone with Autism. Raun Melmed, MD is Director of the Melmed Center in Scottsdale, Arizona and co founder and Medical Director of Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in Phoenix. Maria Bird West Wheeler is the owner of Behavior and Learning Solutions, Inc. She is an author, behavior analyst and consultant specializing in neurobehavioral disorders. Autism and the Extended Family include chapters that help grandparents, stepfamilies, uncles and aunts, close friends, cousins and a special guide for surviving and enjoying special events and holidays. The book also discusses how siblings are impacted by extended family matters and provides ideas of various activities to target conflict resolution, creating an Autism Survival Kit, practicing stress management, handling rude comments in public and tips for toileting and eating.

The book is easy to read and includes case examples and bullet points throughout each chapter to help the reader understand and absorb the content better. The activities are practical and functional which can help many families, especially with additional tips for developing the Autism Survival Guide. The authors also discuss how a family can develop their own extended family circles to help guide them through the book more effectively.

Autism and the Extended Family can be excellent resource for a family to give to their extended family to help understand how valuable all family members are and to provide practical suggestions on how to help both the child with Autism and their immediate family.

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