When a child is diagnosed with autism, the parents' initial reaction is often one of hopelessness and fear that nothing can be done. Olga Holland experienced these emotions when her son Billy was diagnosed, but instead of giving up hope, she developed strategies to contain Billy's autistic behaviors, and since then she and her family have come to view autism as a blessing, not a curse. In this book Olga describes the real-world strategies that have made Billy better able to cope with life, reducing his meltdowns and helping him to accept variety and change, and she explains how working with autism's many strengths has led to a better quality of life for all her family. Full of advice for both day-to-day living and long-term progress, The Dragons of Autism is a positive and inspirational read, with Olga's deep love for her son evident throughout.
1. About us. 2. About this book. 3. In the beginning. 4. Family life with Billy. 5. Tantrums. 6. A good day with a three-year-old. 7. A cross-country move. 8. How we learned that Billy is autistic. 9. Seeing autism - and recognizing what you see. 10. Enlightenment check. 11. Coming to terms. 12. A brief history of one boy's autism. 13. A guardian angel. 14. My first step in managing Billy - `buying time'. 15. Rituals. 16. Schedules. 17. Communicating in poetry. 18. ChOT (`The Choice-Offering Tool'). 19. Dealing with physical sensitivities. 20. Reserves of body and soul. 21. Starting the day. 22. Organizing the struggle. 23. The warrior-parent. 24. An example of a battle-plan. 25. Another battle considered. 26. Some battles in progress. 27. Autism and the phases of the moon. 28. OMAFED. 29. Using OMAFED. 30. A tantrum is not wrongdoing. 31. OMAFED and the rest of the world. 32. Happiness training. 33. Don't say don't. 34. `We use words and poems and songs'. 35. The value of friendship. 36. Sibling shame. 37. Books, books, books. 38. Menu, please. 39. Well-meaning people. 40. Finishing our school sage. 41. Summer school. 42. The academy - and home at last. 43. Epilogue - The four stages of life. Appendix 1 - Billy's words aged four. References. Index