Tag Archives: Autism

Book review: The Growing Up Guide for Boys

This book review comes courtesy of @methreeandhe – The growing up book for boys by Davida Hartman.

I have a 13 year old boy who was adopted by us at the age of 6. Although he is not autistic, his attachment difficulties mean that he is emotionally young, struggles to recognise social clues growing up boysand is very black and white in his thinking. Although this book is aimed at boys on the autistic spectrum, I am aware of some similarities between attachment and autism and was interested to read it myself and for my son to read it. We have a very open approach to all things “personal” in our family with any question answered, yet there is always room for extra resources, if only to save me repeating myself.

I read the book from the beginning, although that is not necessary as the topics can be dipped into as required. What struck me was that it was full of advice that I find myself giving on a daily basis. Matters of hygiene, everyone is growing at different speeds, choose friends who are nice to you. It was good to have a book that reinforces our home messages about adolescence and gives another positive message rather than the variable ones heard on the playground.

The book is hard backed with illustrations facing every page of writing. It is divided into 14 very practical topics; bodies, hair, boy stuff, penises, hygiene, clothes, skin, emotions, crushes, friends, the internet, self protection, self acceptance, girls. Each topic is detailed in a clear way over two pages of text and two of illustrations. Often the first page of the topic details what is happening, the second page is saying what you can do to help yourself. It is written with one sentence per paragraph which I personally found quite annoying as it disrupted the flow of the text, however I do understand that for some of the young people the book is aimed at, this would help them to read it more easily.

The book has been billed for 9-14 year olds and I can see that boys of this age group would benefit from having a copy. For younger boys it would give them early information that they can revisit later, for older boys I think it will help to reinforce many of the good messages that they hear from their parents and answer some questions that they have become embarrassed to ask because they believe that they should already know the answers.

The book gives advice about appropriateness of information sharing, personal subjects and when/who to speak about them. There is a lot of practical information, such as putting a checklist in the shower to make sure you have done everything, putting your sheets in the wash if you have a wet dream, sitting down if you get an erection in public! Whilst much of the advice is encouraging independence and responsibility, the book often suggests that the boy speaks to their parents if they are worried or concerned about anything and encourages communication with people who can help.

The back of the book has a section with advice for parents and professionals on how to use the book, again encouraging communication.

I found it a delightful book to read, the illustration are great, especially the page of different penises! As a parent I found it affirming that I have been giving similar information and advice to my son. I am very happy for him to have the book to use for himself, there is some resistance to reading it but I think that is more about alternatives to reading, like computer games, than the book itself.

@methreeandhe was not paid for this honest review, but did receive a free copy of the book to review, and subsequently keep. Click here to buy the book.

Autism or attachment?

My son is 3 and a half. He came here at a year old, and until now we’ve had a reasonably comfortable time. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all been easy, but the tough times were relatively expected given the moves that this child has had in his short life.

Now though…
He doesn’t want to play, he wants to help with the housework.
He likes to line up his cars and animals, rather than play with them, and gets really cross if they get knocked out of line.
He isn’t very affectionate.
He repeats noises over and over.
He won’t make eye contact with either me or my husband.
He gets really upset if we have even the slightest change in routine.
He hates us saying ‘No’. It’s not just a toddler tantrum that ensues, but instead a full blown meltdown.

Naturally, I started thinking about Autism. These all seem likes traits to me but my health visitor thinks I’m wrong. She’s observed him at his nursery and said he has great social skills with the other children so can’t possibly be autistic. But equally, she won’t say that these symptoms are ‘normal’ or could be of something else.

I started looking online, and now I see that some of these quirks can also be signs of an attachment difficulty. They’re very similar to autism and it’s hard to make the differentiation. So what now?
The health visitor doesn’t know much about attachment disorders, but is quick to rule out autism. My GP won’t do anything as she says the health visitor knows us best, and he’s so young to diagnose with anything.

Have you experienced similar? How did you get a diagnosis of autism or attachment? If you can suggest anything for this mum to try, please leave a comment below.

A Survey for World Autism Awareness Week


In a couple of weeks time the will be a full week, internationally, dedicated to raising awareness of Autism. We are planning to do some related posts during the week which is March 27th to April the 2nd. If anyone out there has a story to tell or would like to contribute we would love to hear from you.

We feel it’s important to highlight this week as it is not uncommon for adopted children to be diagnosis on the autistic spectrum. We are interested to know just how many of your children have had a diagnosis and what you think about it. So we’ve devised a short survey for you to complete which hopefully will give us a little bit more of an insight into adoption and the autistic spectrum.

PLEASE PLEASE fill in the survey even if your child does NOT have a autism diagnosis, that way we can see more realistically what percentage of people are affected.

Go to Survey

Thank you in advance for your participation, please share and encourage other adopters to also complete the survey.