Gravity Pulls You In: Perspectives on Parenting Children on the Autism Spectrum, edited by two of my very favorite bloggers, Kyra Anderson from This Mom and Vicki Forman from Speak Softly..., is slated for a February release and is currently available for pre-order from Woodbine House.
Gravity Pulls You In is a collection of 33 essays and poems written by the parents of children with autism. BiggerBooks.com describes it this way:
Unlike the dozens of books that chronicle the acute challenges families face in reaching and teaching their child with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), this anthology of 33 candid essays and poems by parents highlights the complexity, wonder, and possibility that comes with raising these kids. While also acknowledging the struggles, Gravity Pulls You In goes to the heart of that which pulls at all parents: what does my child need and how can I provide this for them? The contributors are an accomplished group of mostly previously published writers, including poets, parenting guide authors, bloggers, short story writers, essayists, and translators. They are also stay-at home-mothers, professors, actors, teachers, a former dancer, autism treatment specialists, a psychotherapist, and a scientist. Each piece has been included because, as the editors requested, it offers a perspective that avoids "the image of the parent feverishly scraping the autism out of her child or serenely offering up platitudes about life's roses among the thorns of hardship."
Gravity Pulls You In gives voice to what's hard about raising a child with ASD without feeding the stereotype of the devastation of autism. There are stories of discovery and enlightenment, of perseverance and humor that forge a deeper connection among parents by broadening the perspective on autism and attempting to dismantle the fear. The children written about range from toddlers to adults, and from high functioning to severely affected. Despite times of heartache and disappointment, the contributors describe learning things from their children that are transforming, of being awestruck by their kid's hearts and minds and the glimpses of their son or daughter's personality, humor, or wisdom. As one essay describes, it's possible to put aside the frustration and revel in her son's quirky intelligence when he explains to her that gravity pulls you in, not down, thereby keeping you from falling off the earth as it spins rapidly on its axis. His revelation leads to her own: "Things that demand a closer look, a new approach, a shift in perspective, those things pull you in. Even when you are spinning, even when you are moving much more quickly than you thought was possible, even when you find yourself in territory where instincts alone don't feel like enough to complete the revolution," your child can pull you in. Gravity Pulls You In explores the otherworldliness of the parenting experience, where the territory is often unknown. This collection offers a sense of community and support to other parents and caregivers who wear similar shoes, and lets us all in on what's hardest and most important to families like these.
I have not seen an advance copy of the book, or even a list of its 33 contributors. I'm one of them, though, and I imagine that many of the other names will be familiar ones. But even sight unseen, I have to say - ANYTHING produced by the powerhouse combination of Kyra Anderson and Vicki Forman would pull me in.
I can't wait to read this book.