Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grace, Under Pressure : A Girl with Asperger's & Her Marathon Mom authored by Sophie Walker (Book Review)

Disclosure: I was given a copy of Sophie Walker's book and information by New World Library in order to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed by me in the review are my own! Honesty is important!

Sophie has a daughter named Grace. Grace did not like doing her homework for school, "with more than your average nine-year-old's passion." She'd understand it, and would do it in less than 5 minutes, but would argue with her mother Sophie about it for more time than it would take her to do it! Grace had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome the previous year, after 5 years of waiting lists,  inconclusive assessments,  and repeated questioning. (Barb's note: I can't even begin to imagine what she went through, other than what I read in this book. I could only empathize with Sophie.) The stress seems ed to be taking a toll on her, making her feel like she wasn't being a good parent and a good employee.

Sophie went to her doctor, and he wanted to put her on antidepressants. She didn't want to take them, so she went to a therapist, who specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy. She ended up going back to her doctor and took the prescription for the antidepressants. Sophie began to cry less, and she realized that she hadn't exercised in months. She had had Grace's sister Betty, and now Betty was two years old.
She began to start running, and even though she was discouraged by how fear she'd run, she pressed on.  (Barb's note: we are told in the following chapter about how Grace was when she was born, and how she wasn't the most responsive child as she grew older, as Sophie compared Betty to her.)

As time goes on,  Sophie and her husband get divorced, and she marries another man with sons. In between all of this, Grace has issues in school with other children in her classes, fighting with them and getting in trouble trying to defend herself. Sophie is constantly involved with the school, trying to get Grace what she needs, help with her classes, due to the Asperger's. She was trying to be her daughter's advocate!!As this is going on, you feel Sophie's frustration with "the system", and want to step in! Sophie continues to run, and she's running for Grace, all the while Sophie's talking about running races, like half marathons. Sophie's also talking with other parents throughout the book talking with other parents with Asperger's syndrome and autism online and on the phone and e-mail, getting advise on who to contact and what to do with the school district to get help for Grace. It sometimes conflicts with her work schedule, and she'd work around meetings and whatever she needed to do with her daughter. (Barb's note: we also are told about the dynamics of the family though the book, including how she was with her step-siblings, her step-dad, her little sister Betty, and her Dad's new family--after he remarried.)

The running continued, even with Sophie getting injured with her running and of needing to see a chiropractor, and of her coming down what I think was the flu at one point. She presses on, of course, and preserves, running for Grace, as she continues to fight for what her daughter needs within the school system. Grace was always at the half-marathons and at the London Marathon, cheering her mother on with the family! Sophie was raising money for Asperger's when she ran, if I forgot to mention it! Sophie did what she had to do, and she found the strength to battle for Grace, for her education, happiness and for her future!

I really enjoyed the book!! Though I don't have a child diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, I did learn alot about it, and I'm definitely beginning to understand it better. I do recommend this book to parents, whether they have a child with Asperger's Syndrome or not. I feel like I've been blessed to be given the opportunity to read and review this book!

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