"Silent Running" is a book based on a family's journey in life, written from a mothers/wife's perspective, while dealing with many obstacles, most notably raising twin boys born with severe Autism. I cannot write to how well it was written or put together, since I do not have any expertise doing so. I can, however, speak about the usefulness of the story as it relates to: others on the Autism Spectrum; parents with kids on the Autism Spectrum; and how it can help nuerotypical people more aware of the daily life of a family that has a member/members on the Autism Spectrum.
The writer of this book made it apparent to me that people living on the Autism Spectrum, that have the ability and understanding, should read this book. I say this because, I believe not too many people living on the Spectrum are aware of the daily difficulties it took from their own family to get them to where they are in life. Not to say they do not care or anything like that, but most times people on the Spectrum live in their own heads and become oblivious to those closest to them. This book paints a great picture of what some parents go through in their daily lives to help their unique kids succeed in life. Knowing those challenges and obstacles that parents go through made me appreciate all that my parents did for me growing up even more than I already had for them. This is a definite must for those on the Autism Spectrum to read.
I would recommend this book to parents as well. It gives great insight into how a person on the Autism Spectrum can become a happy adult with a purpose in life. This is shown through the numerous pictures of Alex and Jamie in the center of the book, always looking happy after a race or determined during one, as the author also mentions numerous times. This happiness and purpose can seem far away for young parents of kids on the Autism Spectrum. But when you read about this family and how much they loved their kids and how determined they were to just improve their kids quality of life, it is not hard to see that with a lot of hard work and determination that even the most severe cases that an outcome of having a purpose in life and enjoying it can happen. The only downside I would inform to parents reading this, is that all families are different and that doing just what the Schneider’s did may not work with every family and may not be plausible. The reason it may not be plausible is that not every family is going to be as fortunate to receive the support that the Schneider’s received, since some families can tend to shun others in their family if it is even brought up something neurological is different in a kid in the family. Besides that point, which Mrs. Schneider cannot fix or change, this is a must read for parents with kids on the Autism Spectrum, especially those young parents who might know nothing about what is ahead of them.
Lastly, is this a book neurotypical individuals should read as it pertains to becoming more aware of Autism Spectrum Disorders? I would say a resounding “Yes!”. This book not only shows some of the good that can come with Autism but also some of the bad. Since working with kids on the Spectrum, I relived some of the thoughts I had when one of the boys in the book lashed out at someone and the author described the feeling perfectly. The many little milestones definitely outweigh the lashing out and make the work worthwhile, just as it came across in the book. Another reason why I think this would be a good book for neurotypical folk is that unlike many newsfeed or news channel feel good stories, this book so you how far an individual has to go from diagnosis to their incredible feat. That alone should be highlighted, because I think many people see those stories and do not really understand why they are such a big deal even if they know a little of the diagnosis. Like I said earlier, this is a must read for neurotypical folk to gain more awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, even though it was my first reading for fun book in a couple of years. I want to end by thanking all the Schneider’s (Robyn, Allan, Alex, and Jaime) for sharing their story to the world and especially to me. I hope the best for all of yall in any future endeavors.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum