{Here is my disclosure. I am a big fan of the Thinking Moms’ Revolution and I loved Autism Beyond the Spectrum, so I already knew I would love this book. And one of the authors, Laura Hirsch, has been a contributor to this blog (in this post, and as part of this series). I was not paid in any way for my review, but I did receive a free copy of the book. That being said, this review is absolutely my honest opinion.}

Evolution of a Revolution Review

Evolution of a Revolution, Autism and the Path from Hope to Healing, by Helen Conroy and Laura Hirsch (Skyhorse, 2017) is the latest book from the Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR). The first book, Autism Beyond the Spectrum, details the personal autism stories of the original TMR members. Evolution passes the torch, and in it members of Team TMR, the nonprofit created by the Thinking Moms’ Revolution, share their autism stories. The proceeds from Evolution will help fund the Team TMR grant program. You can read more about the book and the authors here.

Both books take you through the inspiring and heart-wrenching journeys of parents fighting to heal their children who have been diagnosed with autism. Evolution is 31 stories of hope and healing (and even some autism recoveries!). If you read this blog, you know that I have a son, Christopher, who regressed into severe nonverbal autism. These stories are written by my sisters, my fellow warriors, and there is not a chapter I didn’t cry through.

When I started reading Evolution, I began highlighting relevant passages. But then I realized that I had more of what I had read highlighted than not. Each story had something that resonated deeply with me – an experience that was part of my personal autism journey too. If you are on the autism journey, this is another book that you need to have in your arsenal. The stories are touching and inspiring. They will give you strength to keep going, courage to keep questioning, comfort to keep hope alive.

What This Book is NOT

I would also like to point out what this book is NOT. It is NOT an “anti-vaccine” book. While autism is primarily environmental, it is believed that there are many contributing factors. Each parent details their personal stories and while many include a regression following vaccinations (which is what happened to my son), the very first chapter of the book says “vaccines are not the only evil contributing to this epidemic”  and that author has known many unvaccinated children diagnosed with autism in the last two years. I’m writing this paragraph because I am very tired of anything that shares parent accounts of regression into autism (observation is the foundation of science!), anything that questions medical authority, and anything that talks about autism’s medical issues, healing, and recovery is automatically labeled (and then dismissed) as anti-vaccine or anti-science. Our children are sick – the sickest generation of chronically ill children ever – and the medical community has no answers. This deserves immediate investigation and attention.

While the book is full of stories of hope, healing, and recovery, Evolution is also NOT a roadmap to recovery. I mention this because that is exactly what I was looking for when my son was first diagnosed. I wanted a step-by-step guide to get him better, something that held all the answers. But that book, my friends, does not exist. All of our kids are different – they have different symptoms, different needs, and different medical issues. They respond differently to different treatments. There is no one right path for healing every child.

That doesn’t mean that the book doesn’t have practical information as well as personal accounts. You’ll definitely come away with treatment ideas to research and try. Ideas to get started on your healing journey or to jump start you and get you out of your current slump. I know I did – I have a whole page of things jotted down to look into for my son Christopher.

Recommendation: Everyone Needs to Read This!

I don’t just recommend Evolution for autism moms. I hope the rest of the world reads this, so that they can really understand what autism parents go through. So they can see that we were once just regular people, going through life and parenting like most people, only to have the rug ripped out from under us. This book really shows the human side of families affected by autism.

But I think it is especially important for would-be parents to read this book. As crucial as it is to know that there is hope – that autism is medical and treatable, and that recovery is possible, people need to understand that is also environmental and preventable. Every parent in this book shares what they wish they had known before the autism diagnosis. Every parent has something they would have done differently. And every parent selflessly relives that trauma with one sole purpose – saving other children. So many young parents and would-be parents are terrified of the A word, and rightly so. The sooner they read this book, the sooner they can understand the real autism story. That doctors don’t know everything, especially when it comes to autism, and they aren’t always right in their treatment and advice. That parental instincts are real and important and they should trust them more than anything. That they have a choice when it comes to the health of their children.

The sooner they read this book, the sooner they will start THINKING … and join the revolution!

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