Grace, Under Pressure: A Girl With Asperger’s And Her Marathon Mom

This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs  over at AutismWonderland.


Every once in a while, I’ll read something about autism and I’ll think: YES! That’s it. That’s how Sophie Walker’s new book, Grace Under Pressure, made me feel. As soon as I read the book jacket description, I knew that Sophie’s life could easily mirror my own.

By the time her daughter Grace was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, Sophie Walker’s life had unraveled. Her career was in disarray. She couldn’t sleep. She felt hopeless and useless in her role as a mother. Sophie began to seek the things Grace needed — everything from advocacy for her educational rights and protection from bullying to help with homework and making friends. When Sophie realized she was neglecting her own health and well-being, she decided to train for the London Marathon to raise awareness of Asperger’s and to build the mental and physical resilience she needed to support her daughter.

After my son, Norrin, was diagnosed with autism, I felt so much of what Sophie Walker shares. Heck, I still feel a lot of it. Every time I read an evaluation, I think it’s no where close to describing my kid. Sometimes I still think Norrin may grow out of it. It doesn’t mean I’m in denial about autism or that I don’t accept Norrin as he is, it simply makes me human. It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in my thoughts.

And after Norrin was diagnosed with autism, I read many books. Books written by doctors, lawyers, therapists, advocates and parents. However Walker’s book is different. Not only do I appreciate the raw reality of parenting a special needs child, Grace Under Pressure is filled with love and optimism. More importantly, Walker writes about the importance of taking care of herself – something many special needs moms forget about doing.

Whether you’re a parent new to raising a child with autism or if you’re a seasoned special needs parent, you will get something out of Grace Under Pressure.

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