Reflections on autism, parenting, and embracing destinations unknown.
In The Scenic Route, Leigh Merryday Porch offers insight into how parents of children with autism can redefine hope in a world that often has a narrow view of what hope is supposed to look like for their kids. As an educator and expert on autism spectrum disorders as well as the mother of a son who is autistic, Porch knows well the pressure parents of special needs children feel to overcome any and all challenges their children face. But not all disabilities result in heartwarming viral stories. According to Porch, we must write our own stories about what is possible for our kids and love them just as they are.
A chronicle of one family’s journey from the shock and uncertainty of a severe autism diagnosis to acceptance and advocacy, in this beautifully written book Porch shares the lessons she has learned about charting your own course. From learning to cope with sleepless, worry-filled nights to asking friends and family for the help and support you actually need, she offers readers a road map for helping our children thrive while still taking the time to stop and enjoy the beauty in life’s unforeseen detours.
About the Author
Leigh Merryday Porch is the author of the popular autism parenting blog Flappiness Is and a veteran educator and academic coach with a master’s in autism spectrum disorders. An Advanced Certified Autism Specialist, she provides training in autism awareness for schools, civic organizations, and law enforcement, and has presented at disability-related conventions. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul for Parents Raising Kids on the Spectrum, The Huffington Post, and The Child Mind Institute. Porch has also been featured and interviewed in People.com, GoodMorningAmerica.com, Autism Live, and Inside Edition. She resides in small-town Northeast Florida with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of poorly behaved animals her training in behavioral interventions has had no effect on.
“Written by a young mother herself, Leigh’s book will help families newly grappling with the diagnosis of autism with wise, honest, and helpful advice.”
—Susan Senator, author of Autism Adulthood: Insights and Creative Strategies for a Fulfilling Life
“The Scenic Route is a must-read guide for families who have a child with autism who remains nonverbal with severe behavior problems. Lots of good practical and down-to-earth advice.”
—Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures
“ ‘A sense of humor and a sense of wonder can get you far,’ says Leigh Merryday Porch, in her moving and beautifully written book The Scenic Route. Warm, reassuring, and candid about her own wrong turns and detours, Porch is a gifted storyteller. She deftly weaves personal narrative with practical guidance in this realistic yet often humorous road map to navigating the struggles and joys of raising an autistic child. Eloquent and instructive, The Scenic Route is must-reading for every parent and professional working with autistic children.”
—Liane Kupferberg Carter, author of Ketchup Is My Favorite Vegetable: A Family Grows Up with Autism
“The book is such a beautiful expression of the author’s love for her kids— and an unflinching depiction of every aspect of the experience. So much vital information and advice along with so much heart. Its narrative voice is perfect—reading it feels like sitting down for a long cup of coffee (or wine) with a good friend you turn to for advice, hugs, pep talks, tough love, and shared laughter and tears. A must-read for any parent starting out on the journey; for moms like me who have been on this road for almost twenty years; and for the families, friends, and teachers who touch our kids’ lives along the way.”
—Nancy Burrows, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum
“If you have a child with autism, The Scenic Route is like a sit-down with an utterly pragmatic and empathetic fellow parent who’s already been there and faced all the same bewildering questions. It’s candid, thoughtful, and truly helpful.”
—Paul Collins, author of Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism
“It’s no surprise that a former librarian has written What to Expect When You’re Expecting: The Autism Version. Leigh’s insights are poignant and thoughtful, her focus on preparing the child for the village, as well as the village for the child. A must-read for anyone interested in advocacy.”
—Jeni Decker, author of I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames
“Leigh has a talent for sharing her experiences both as a mother of a child with autism and as a professional in the field with a perfect balance of vulnerability and wisdom. The Scenic Route is compelling and relatable as a memoir but also as a guide to less obvious dynamics, issues, and culture of raising a child on the autism spectrum within family and community systems. A wonderful read regardless of where you might be with your child’s diagnosis.”
—Jodi Collins, LCSW, presenter, two-time TEDx speaker on autism (and autism parent)