Pieces That Fit: A Mother’s Journey Through Her Son’s Puzzling Diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome by Karen MacNeill is an important book for anyone to read that has, or wonders what it is like to have, a child with different needs in the school system. I found it to be immediately relatable. There are so many passages that could be a page out of my own life, from sitting at the IEP table (p 25. ‘…the process is exhausting…’) to putting undeserved trust in educators who ultimately proved unworthy of that trust. I also love that Chandler and his family found their way with the help of some wonderful teachers and other professionals who were committed to his growth and well-being, both at school and long-term.
This book also reveals how important it is for parents to take nothing for granted and to be strong advocates for their children. The hope is that as the child gets older and witnesses his or her parents modeling this behavior at IEP meetings and elsewhere, they will learn to advocate for themselves, which Chandler has clearly done well. Yay, Karen and Jim! Writing honestly about your real life experience is a difficult and brave thing to do. Bottom line: Read this book!
After you read this book, read my book! One Brave Thing