Article first published as Autism's Big News: There's A Manual! on Technorati.
When my son was born, the hospital (now no longer there) offered a free book on childcare to each new parent. I used to joke that it was his "manual", one that we could refer to when something went wrong. Well, it came in handy as a new father when I would panic about hiccups, or other minor things. The manual made all the difference in giving me the piece of mind a new father really needed.
Three years later, when my son was diagnosed with Autism, the one thing we didn't have was a manual. Autism was mentioned in a lot of books, and under general terms, and the web was (and still is) littered with pseudo-science sites and theories based on anecdotal evidence that confused more than clarified when it came to child care. The books we were given as reference were either too expensive, unavailable, or written for psychologists in mind. It took months of research for me and my wife to sift out the truth and fact from fiction and unknowns, and judge for ourselves what was best for our son. How I longed for that manual to help me understand what it was I needed to do for my son.
Well, recognizing the need, the National Autism Center has published A Parent’s Guide to Evidence-based Practice and Autism, a manual for parents through the murky waters of Autism. It's based on research data that has been peer-reviewed, and written for the parent in mind. And the best part is it's a free eBook, and therefore available to everyone. I recommend you download it now.
What does it cover? Well, it explains what Autism is: a disorder. It outlines the basis of the research, treatments available, the professional findings, the importance of professional judgement in collecting data (not critical for family reading, but interesting), and how treatment can be tailored to the family. I've breezed through it so far, and find the information useful. I hope to have a more in depth review of the book in future.
So, if you are interested in learning more about Autism, this book is an excellent resource. It's accurate in it's data, written well, and free.