Kennedy Krieger doctor and Mary Beth Marsden contribute to book about raising kids with autism

(Courtesy of Chicken Soup…)
April 05, 2013|By Kristine Henry,
The Baltimore Sun

Anne Moore Burnett knew the other moms at the playground were rolling their eyes at her. Her son wouldn't go down the slide unless it was clean, so she was looking around for a stray napkin or anything she could find to wipe it down. As she felt their eyes on her, Burnett found herself almost wishing her son had a visible condition, such as Down Syndrome, so that at least on top of the issues she was dealing with she wouldn't also feel judged by other parents who didn't realize she took these "extra" measures because her son has sensory-sensitive autism.

Then another mother walked over and handed Burnett a paper bag containing a towel and a candy bar and explained that she always had the bag with her: The towel was for cleaning off playground equipment, the candy bar was for her to enjoy as her child, who is also autistic, was finally able to play.

"Through tears of disbelief I thanked her and she hugged me. I had been so alone for so long, I could barely contain myself. I began to sob,” Burnett writes. “'We wanted to help; we just didn’t understand,’ said the other mothers as they handed me tissues.”

This is one of the 101 personal stories in the new book "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum" that is meant to act as a "portable support group" for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder.

The book was written by Rebecca Landa, founder and director of the Center For Autism and Related Disorders at Baltimore's Kennedy Krieger Institute; Mary Beth Marsden, the long-time anchor on WMAR who also creates videos about dealing with autism; and Nancy Burrows, a Baltimore-based writer whose son is autistic.

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