A Full Life with Autism: From Learning to Forming Relationships to Achieving Independence

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A Full Life with Autism is a guide for helping our children on the spectrum  lead meaningful and independent lives as they reach adulthood. In the next five years, hundreds of thousands of children with autism spectrum disorder will reach adulthood. And while diagnosis and treatment for children has improved in recent years, parents want to know: What happens to my child when I am no longer able to care for or assist him? Autism expert Chantal Sicile-Kira and her son Jeremy offer real solutions to a host of difficult questions, including how young adults of different abilities and their parents can:

  • navigate this new economy where adult service resources are scarce
  • cope with the difficulties of living apart from the nuclear family
  • find, and keep a job that provides meaning, stability and an income
  • create and sustain fulfilling relationships

About the Authors

Chantal Sicile-Kira is an award-winning author,  advocate and speaker on autism. She is the founder of AutismCollege.com, which provides practical information to parents and educators. The author of four other books, Sicile-Kira writes for HuffingtonPost.com and PsychologyToday.com. Her story has been covered by a wide variety of media, including NPR, PBS, MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, and Fox News.

Jeremy Sicile-Kira was diagnosed as severely autistic when he was born in 1989. In 2010, he gave a commencement speech at his high school graduation using voice-output technology (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8cEtand01w). Jeremy is a part-time college student and a Youth Advocate for the Global Autistic Initiative, a project of the Autism Research Institute. In 2007, Jeremy was on MTV’s True Life in the episode, “I Have Autism,” which won a 2007 Voice Award.

Praise for the book:

This book will be in high demand among the parents of children with ASD and young adults with ASD. Jeremy’s insights and Chantal’s candid advice will prove invaluable to parents, teachers, and other support personnel.
-Library Journal Reviews

For readers already knowledgeable about autism and Asperger’s syndrome, a hands-on approach to transitioning into adulthood…The author breaks each large, seemingly overwhelming undertaking into small, doable tasks. Bulleted lists sum up each chapter and help readers remain focused and on-track. Equally as effective are the short essays and “top ten tips for parents,” written by Jeremy. His voice gives a personal, honest perspective on the daily life, expectations and hopes of someone with special needs who wants to become as integrated into adult society as possible. Additional resources include reading material and websites for care providers and people on the spectrum.  A proactive method for raising an adult child with special needs.
-Kirkus Reviews

This book will greatly help parents prepare for what lies ahead and know what their sons and daughters need to learn. Jeremy and Chantal each write from their own perspective and share practical information about different areas of life that can be difficult to navigate, including housing, employment, college, as well as social relationships.
Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and The Way I See It

This truly impressive book by Chantal Sicile-Kira and her son Jeremy, who is in his early 20s and autistic will serve as an invaluable resource not only for families who have a youngster or young adult with autism but also for the professionals who work with these families.  A Full Life with Autism vividly brings to life not only the challenges and stresses faced by young adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum but also steps that can be taken to assist these individuals to become more independent, successful, and resilient.
Robert Brooks, Ph.D., Faculty, Harvard Medical School, co-author of Raising Resilient Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life.

If you are raising a teen with significant autistic challenges, you need to read A Full Life With Autism. If you have a young child who’s non verbal, you need to read A Full Life With Autism 

Chantal Sicile-Kira’s newest book is co-authored with her son Jeremy, who does not speak, but who writes eloquently and powerfully… 

Together, they walk the reader through the challenges of leaving home and establishing an independent life as an adult. The step by step manner in which they do this, and Jeremy’s calm and steady voice, will be very reassuring to readers. Topics discussed include making friends, romance, housing, college and finally, earning a living. I particularly like the way this book weaves both Chantal and Jeremy’s perspective into each story. In the latter part of the book, some chapters are also illustrated with stories from other families.

 This is a very practical guide that I highly recommend.
-John Elder Robison, 
Author of Look Me in the Eye and Be Different

The transition into adult life is poorly understood and seldom researched in the field of autism. Jeremy and Chantal Sicile Kira have given us important lessons from their knowledge and experience. They write honestly and clearly and their book will be of great benefit to the thousands of other families who wish to support their loved one with dignity and respect.
-Anne M. Donnellan, Professor Emerita, U. of Wisconsin-Madison

To live a full life can have many different meanings for many different people, and yet, on a deeper level, when we hear the phrase “full life” we seem to become united by a common human objective we would not wish to deny ourselves or others. In this important book, Jeremy and Chantal Sicile Kira have captured the value of our shared humanity within our diversity. They do this gracefully, leading the way, as the next generation of young people with autism seek their paths.
-Valerie Paradiz, PhD, Director, Autistic Global Initiative, Autism Research Institute
A Full Life with Autism is a must-read book for parents and professionals in the autism field.
-Steve Edelson, Ph.D., Director, Autism Research Institute
Unfortunately, many adults on the autism experience high rates of unemployment or underemployment.  Some of our most gifted live in poverty and have few options in life.   Chantal and Jeremy have creatively worked to create an engaged life for Jeremy and his family.   This book provides very practical ideas for transition planning and provides a template that others can use as they support adults moving into adulthood.   I highly recommend this for any family or individual as they  prepare for transition planning.
-Dr. Cathy Pratt, Director, Indiana Resource Center for Autism

Chantal and Jeremy have provided  a wonderful overview of what every individual, parent, and professional needs to know as your child move into adulthood.
-Darlene Hanson MA,CCC, Director of Communication Services, WAPADH Speech and Language Pathologist

As a corporate disability consultant, I continually emphasize the importance of preparation in creating successful careers. This book is a must read for individuals with autism, families, & professionals to help everyone understand the critical components of planning in the areas of living, working, and playing and how this planning contributes to a high quality of life in adulthood.
-James Emmett, Corporate Disability Consultant, Director, APSE HR Connect

A Full Life with Autism reminds us that the true “experts” on autism are our children; and that we, the adults, must listen to their wants and desires, then find the resources to help them realize their dreams.  I will be recommending this book to everyone I know.
-Elaine Hall, author of Now I See the Moon

I have a new favorite book about autism!  Chantal Sicile-Kira has clearly done her homework in addressing issue for young adults with autism and their parents. But having parallel comments and suggestions from her son Jeremy adds a deeper perspective and value to an already excellent book.  I will be returning to this book.  The dual voices of parent advocate and self-advocate, commenting in parallel on the same topics, are a revelation to read.
-Scott Standifer, Disability Policy & Studies, University of Missouri

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