I chose to give a reaction to the book because I found myself having many while I read. Overall, I felt the book was like an infomercial for the Lovaas method.
What I did enjoy about the book was watching Catherine outline her own journey. Her stages of grief were so clearly apparent and moving. I also enjoyed finding myself with a renewed energy around behavioral therapy. She also showed that parents have to work with and partner with professionals for their child's success. Often, parents want their child "fixed" by professionals. Lastly, the interventions broken down by developmental area at the back of the book was excellent. I have recommended many of those myself.
What I did not enjoy about the book was that it seemed outdated. While this is not a criticism of the book itself as it was appropriate at the time she wrote it, it is a concern because parents may read this book to find inspiration or guidance in this day and age when many things have changed. Therapists (at least in California) no longer believe in psychodynamic therapy to treat children with autism. As a matter of fact, Freudian therapy, which she mentioned several times, is considered antiquated even for typical people. Her book was packed with obvious bitterness toward the classically trained therapist and toward what seemed like the Psychology "establishment" in general. Then she spoke of the Lovaas techniques repeatedly under the framework that her children were recovered. Many parents looking for answers may interpret this as a cure. I don't believe autism can be "cured" so much as the symptoms can be managed through constant work and attention.
Toward the end of the book, she advises fighting for what a parent wants and how to do it. I think the "how to" is important, such as gathering documentation and presenting facts, but the legalistic attitude I have issue with. Some parents may have to escalate their case into a battle, but I don't believe it has to start out that way. I have found in my practice parents, with whom I have never worked before, walk through the door with aggressive attitudes. While I appreciate their spirit, it sends up red flags. I work for a private agency and we are not "required" to choose to work with every family that calls on us. As a result, if we find parents "difficult" in the beginning, we try to be empathetic to their situation, but we may choose not work with them at all. What's even more frustrating is that these parents may not be difficult at all, but the guidance parents get to fight for everything all the time may send a different message.
I felt the book may send false hopes of cures using the behavioral methods and a fight fight fight orientation that may cause professionals to get the wrong idea about families. I think there are more current books that can give stories of inspiration such as Temple Grandin's Thinking in Pictures.
tani reviewed Let Me Hear Your Voice : A Family's Triumph over Autism on
Helpful Score: 2
I was tremendously impressed by the method outlined in this book. It had astounding results, although the same degree of success might not be attainable in older autistic children.
This family had not one, but two autistic children, the girl manifesting symptoms first and the boy starting after the girl had shown signs of improvement. Although the parents had some infuriating experiences in their search for a way to help her, in the end, while the children were still small, they found a kind of intensive behavioral therapy that "brought back" both the boy and the girl.
This is an inspiring book about how Applied Behavioral Analysis can help children with autism. I hope readers will take it with a grain of salt though since this is a case in which a kid was able to be effectively rid of autistic traits through this therapy and the dedicated support of therapy. Many kids can be helped in many useful ways with this therapy. ABA therapy can really improve the outcome of many kids' lives. I do not think that losing all autistic traits through ABA therapy is typical however. Even with super dedicated support and involvement from family.