If you're looking for a book about autism that is infinitely validating, honest and hopeful, look no further. Brains, Trains, and Video Games by Alicia Hart has all that and more. This book chronicles the sometimes heartbreaking, often triumphant journey of one family with autism. Alicia Hart, the mother of three, details the diagnosis, treatment and life of her son Ewan.
Now, I need to tell you that I happen to know this author. Alicia started a group in my town for kids with autism. Adventure Club was an answer to my prayers. It was a club which taught kids science while also teaching them social skills. More than that, it was a club whose sole goal was to provide our kids with fun.
Adventure Club is also where I met some autism moms in my area. And I got to know Alicia, this amazing mom and advocate for special needs kids. On top of motherhood, Alicia has also worked with kids with autism professionally.
I know I shouldn't get personal with book reviews. I should be totally objective and all that, but here's the thing: Alicia gets kids with autism. She understands them more than any professional I have ever met. She knows how far to push them and when to back off.
Best of all, she accepts them for who they are. She loves them, quirks and all.
Immediately, I felt that she cared for Danny. A lot! They bonded over their mutual love for pajamas and from then on, I couldn't keep Danny away from Adventure Club. Alicia is also who inspired me to start the LEGO Club.
The reason I write all this is to show that Alicia knows autism. She knows what it's like to struggle to get services for her child. She understands the grief that accompanies hearing your child be diagnosed with autism. She has felt how utterly overwhelming it when a child needs several different therapies and services. She knows the guilt a mother feels when her neurotypical child feels a bit neglected.
And best of all, Alicia is not afraid to share all these feelings in this very open-hearted, sincere and authentic book. Reading Brains, Trains and Video Games feels like you're sitting down to coffee with the most knowledgeable autism advocate, wrapped up in a mom who is sometimes self-deprecating and who never takes herself too seriously. Throw in a person who is genuine and has a passion for helping our kids and you have Alicia. And this is why you should read her book.
It's the next best thing to sitting down face to face over Diet Coke and pie!
So, do yourself a favor and go order Brains, Trains, and Video Games. You'll thank me. I know you will!