Search - List of Books by Clara Claiborne Park

Clara Claiborne Park (August 19, 1923 – July 3, 2010) was an American college English teacher and author who was best known for her writings about her experiences raising her autistic daughter, Jessica. Her 1967 book, The Siege was credited as one of the first books to allay the blame that parents, especially mothers, were made to feel at having caused their child's autism through their cold detachment.

Clara Justine Claiborne was born on August 19, 1923, in Tarrytown, New York, and graduated from Radcliffe College in 1944. She married physicist David Park in 1945, and they both attended the University of Michigan, where she earned a master's degree in 1949, majoring in English literature. They moved to Massachusetts in 1951, where Park taught at Berkshire Community College and then at Williams College, where she was on the faculty from 1975 to 1994.

Park was driven to write about her daughter's experience with autism, and her book The Siege: The First Eight Years of an Autistic Child was released in 1967, at a time when autism was little understood, and common wisdom based on Bruno Bettelheim's theories attributed responsibility to family pathology, led by the refrigerator mother, a label based on the belief that autistic behaviors are the result of a child closing their conscious self off from extreme family conflict and the emotional frigidity of the child's mother. In the initial edition of the book, Park referred to her daughter under the pseudonym "Elly", out of fear that her daughter would be able to read the book when she was older and would be embarrassed. The book was credited as one of the first to allay the guilt of parents, and with helping to serve as a resource to families and therapists dealing with autism.

Her 2001 sequel Exiting Nirvana: A Daughter's Life with Autism continued the story of Jessica and the family's progress in dealing with her autism. The New York Times called the 2001 book "a monument to the patience and care that brought Jessy out of her sterile paradise". A review in the Chicago Tribune credited the book with requiring "the reader to wonder about who we are and what enables us to ask such self-aware questions".

Fred Volkmar, director of the Yale Child Study Center, credited Park as being "one of the first parents who had the courage to share their story at a time when autism was poorly understood". Bridget A. Taylor of the Alpine Learning Group credited Park's writings for helping parents understand autism and "to have higher expectations for their children" and provided therapists with "an invaluable reading assignment to learn what the experience is like".

Jessica Park, who was first diagnosed with autism at age three, graduated from Mount Greylock Regional High School, where she learned to draw. By the time of her mother's death, Jessica had worked for decades at the mail room at Williams College and painted, and sold, drawings of streetscapes. Jessica had her first solo art exhibit at the Williams College Museum of Art in August 1995.

Park died at a nursing home in Williamstown, Massachusetts at age 86 on July 3, 2010, due to complications from a fall. In addition to Jessica, Park was survived by her husband, two other daughters, a son and two grandchildren.
This author page uses material from the Wikipedia article "Clara Claiborne Park", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0
Total Books: 14
Exiting Nirvana A Daughter's Life with Autism
2002 - Exiting Nirvana a Daughter's Life with Autism (Paperback)Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780316691246
ISBN-10: 0316691240
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 3

Exiting Nirvana A Daughter's Life with Autism
2001 - Exiting Nirvana a Daughter's Life with Autism (Hardcover)Paperback, Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780316691178
ISBN-10: 0316691178
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Literature & Fiction
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 3

Exiting Nirvana A Daughter's Life with Autism
2001 - Exiting Nirvana a Daughter's Life with Autism (Hardcover)Paperback, Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9781854108067
ISBN-10: 1854108069
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Rejoining the Common Reader Essays 1962-1990
1991 - Rejoining the Common Reader Essays 1962-1990 (Hardcover)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780810109773
ISBN-10: 0810109778
Genre: Literature & Fiction
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Rejoining the Common Reader  Essays 1962-1990
1991 - Rejoining the Common Reader Essays 1962-1990 (Paperback)Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780810109919
ISBN-10: 0810109913
Genre: Literature & Fiction
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The Siege
1983 - The Siege (Paperback)Paperback, Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780091517113
ISBN-10: 0091517117
Genre: Health, Fitness & Dieting
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The Siege  A Family's Journey Into the World of an Autistic Child
The Siege  The First Eight Years of an Autistic Child
You Are Not Alone Understanding and Dealing With Mental Illness  A Guide for Patients Families Doctors and Other Professionals
THE SIEGE
1973 - The Siege [PELICAN] (Paperback)Paperback, Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780140215656
ISBN-10: 0140215654
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You Are Not Alone Understanding and Dealing with Mental Illness a Guide for Patients
The Siege
The Siege (Hardcover)Paperback, Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780900675119
ISBN-10: 090067511X
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