A Review of Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew

By Elaina Daniels

There are a lot of books out there about autism, but I have to say that this one is a must read.  In fact, it’s more than even just a “must” read.  It’s a “don’t go another second of your life without ordering this book” read.  I want to take this book and show it to everyone who is a part of my son’s life.  It should be required reading for everyone.

Autism is a condition that is becoming more and more prevalent in our world.  Chances are, you are going to have someone in your life, either personally or professionally, who is on the spectrum.  This book will help you understand more about their world.  So many people have perceptions about those who are on the autistic spectrum.  Since so many people on that spectrum have trouble communicating their feelings and needs, this book speaks for them.  This book shatters those perceptions.

Ellen Notbohm has written Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew.  It’s a look from the perspective of a person on the spectrum.  The book is an expansion of an article that Ellen wrote in 2005, titled the same.  Though the book is written from the perspective of an autistic, Ellen is not herself one.  She does, however, have two children with autism and ADHD.  Her son, Bryce, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.

It’s not an incredibly long book, about 111 pages.  But it contains an incredible wealth of information.  The book begins with both a preface and a word from the author about how this book began.  In this chapter of the book, Ellen challenges people to “live with” autism, and not suffer from it.  Don’t teach your child that they are suffering from something that they can’t control.

Next is a sort of “quick guide.”  Each of the ten things is listed with a short bit of information about each one.  The guide alone is a ton of information.  After that, each of the ten things has its own chapter that goes into greater detail.  Each chapter has tips, examples, and resources for the reader to use.

As the momma of a child who lives with autism, I devoured this book.  The very first tip listed is “I am first and foremost a child.  I have autism.  I am not primarily “autistic.”  So many times, we let the word autism take over.  We no longer see the child.  We are too busy seeing the autism.  Autism is something that is a part of the child, but it’s not the whole child.

Something that struck my heart was this.  When Ellen was asked how she got to the place of acceptance that she is in, she states this:  “It’s no secret.  It’s just this; as much as possible, accept your situation without bitterness.  Play the cards you drew with grace and optimism.  Bitterness can be a formidable foe; overcoming it can be a daily exercise.  Some of us make it, some of us don’t.”

Read this book to be educated.  Read it to be inspired.  Read it to know that you aren’t alone in this world.  Last but not least, read it to better connect with those in your world who have the most trouble connecting.  You will be better for  reading “Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew.”

Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with the author, Ellen Notbohm.

10/13/2011–We’ve posted the interview with Ellen Notbohm here.


Elaina Daniels is a 13 year educator, who had taught at the elementary/middle school level for all of those years.  She has taught all subjects, but her passion is Reading.  She has two children, aged 9 and 7.  Her oldest son was diagnosed with autism.  Elaina lives on a farm in Southwest Missouri with her husband of 11 years. Together, they raise children, dogs, and cattle.  

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