Make a Wish for Me: A Family's Recovery from Autism
LeeAndra Chergey, author
By the age of two, Ryan has los his ability to speak—twice. Sensing it is more than typical “second child” behaviors, his mother, LeeAndra, embarks upon a mission to understand why Ryan has become withdrawn and violent, and is met with a devastating answer: her son is autistic. After a few months of behavioral treatment, Ryan experiences remarkable success. He begins to communicate, learns to adapt to his surroundings, and after attending a special educational preschool, where he thrives, he seems ready to be mainstreamed into a regular classroom for kindergarten—an exciting prospect for LeeAndra and her husband Dan, since until this point they have been reluctantly resigned to the idea that he will continue indefinitely in special education. But, Ryan’s success is rapidly derailed as he swiftly learns how to manipulate his inexperienced aides through violence and begins to flee school grounds, and LeeAndra and Dan must make a choice: agree with what the system dictates or listen to their hearts and make a drastic change?
In this deeply felt memoir, Chergey shares her very personal story of living with her son’s autism. With direct prose, Chergey’s story pulls at readers’ heart strings as she pushes through the challenges of her son’s diagnosis, his difficulties with speech and sleep, the search for adequate medical care and a supportive school environment, and the stigma attached to the disorder. The sincerity of Chergey’s story gives readers with no personal experience of autism an eye-opening account; for those living within the world of autism, Chergey offers hope. “Sometimes acceptance has to punch you in the gut to make its point,” she admits. Drawing on medical, school, and church communities and immediate family, Chergey and her husband use every ounce of energy to create a network of people who “get it” and can help him be comfortably autistic and happy. Even if autism has not touched a reader personally, the intimacy and optimism with which Chergey writes will resonate with many readers. (BookLife)