Autism in the Family: Caring and Coping Together


How can parents provide the best support for their child with autism—and ensure that the whole family's needs are met? It's a question faced by every parent of a child on the autism spectrum, and this book answers it with keen insight, reassuring honesty, and practical guidance. A psychologist and father of an adult son with autism, Dr. Robert Naseef has both personal and professional expertise to share with overwhelmed families. Weaving wisdom from years of clinical practice with candid first-hand insights on ...
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How can parents provide the best support for their child with autism—and ensure that the whole family's needs are met? It's a question faced by every parent of a child on the autism spectrum, and this book answers it with keen insight, reassuring honesty, and practical guidance. A psychologist and father of an adult son with autism, Dr. Robert Naseef has both personal and professional expertise to share with overwhelmed families. Weaving wisdom from years of clinical practice with candid first-hand insights on parenting a child from birth through adulthood, Naseef helps parents
  • navigate the complex emotional journey to acceptance
  • guide their child's behavior and development at every age
  • maintain a strong and mutually supportive marriage
  • understand the needs of siblings and provide sensitive support
  • collaborate effectively with professionals
  • address specific issues like meltdowns, food sensitivities, sleeping, and toileting
  • manage stress
  • build a strong circle of support with family and friends

Using Naseef's popular Special Children, Challenged Parents as a starting point, this completely reworked and revised new book reflects 10 years of change, both in the author's life and in the autism field. Parents will benefit from new chapters on navigating their child's adolescence and adulthood, expanded and updated information on autism, and rare in-depth coverage of the needs, emotions, and parenting experiences of fathers. A warm, down-to-earth, and practical guide for parents—and an enlightening read for the professionals who work with them—this book will be a valuable companion as families love and support their child with autism.

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Editorial Reviews

V. Mark Durand

"Eloquently translate[s] the latest research into terms understandable to all . . . the author walks you through the field of autism spectrum disorders in a way that is unmatched. I highly recommend it!"
award-winning author, educator, parent, and advocate; President of the Autism Society of Los Angeles - Emily Iland
"A comprehensive view of autism across the lifespan . . . Naseef encourages readers to understand and accept those with ASD, and to ultimately connect, adapt, cope, hope, and flourish."
Parent to an adolescent with autism and moderator for Moms Fighting Autism - Nancy Bernotaitis
"Helps families move beyond grief and into acceptance where the new normal lives. From managing stress and toilet training to adulthood, Dr. Naseef guides you along this complex and difficult journey, shedding guilt and anxiety as you go, until you find yourself in a place where you can celebrate your unique child and all the wonderful things he or she is."
Autism Services Manager, Ontario ARC - Maggi Sullivan
"Robert Naseef has the highly valuable ability to combine personal experience with clinical knowledge in a way that creates hope, strength and peace for parents and families of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder."
Professor of Special Education, Temple University - Kenneth Thurman
"Insightful, accurate and very personal . . . should be helpful to any parent whose journey includes a child with autism. Naseef has provided important information in a caring and compassionate manner."
co-author, Raising Resilient Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder - Sam Goldstein
"Touching, caring, and compassionate . . . offers readers reasoned and reasonable guidance to negotiate parents' greatest challenges in raising a child with serious disabilities and making very difficult choices as [the child] reaches adulthood."
(retired) Director, National Father's Network - James May
"A powerful exploration of the impact autism has on the entire family . . . Naseef's personal story and pictures are compelling and add depth and honesty to the subject matter. Highly recommended."
Shana Nichols

"Naseef has found that elusive balance between writing a book that is informative and insightful and also warm and inviting . . . Every family who receives a diagnosis of autism for their child should be given this book with a hot cup of tea and a warm blanket. Autism in the Family is an indispensable read, bound to be read again and again throughout a child's life. A truly wonderful resource."
Founder & Director of Kuwait Center for Autism, Vice-President of World Autism Organisation - Dr. Samira Al-Saad
"This book is one of the best for new parents . . . Dr. Naseef's book reflects his dedication to learn more about his son; teach him; face stress, denial, and anger; and reach acceptance."
Associate Professor, Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Helen McCabe
"An excellent resource for families and professionals alike. I am moved and inspired by the stories of Naseef and others that are woven in, and will be sharing this [book] with students, families and colleagues!"
author of You're Going to Love This Kid: Teaching Students with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom - Paula Kluth
"I literally laughed and cried . . . This is one of the most honest books I have ever read on the subject. It is direct, warm, compelling, and ever so helpful."
author, Thinking in Pictures - Temple Grandin
"Autism in the Family presents a father's perspective on coping with a child who has severe autism. Fathers often have difficulty expressing their feelings and this book should be required reading for all fathers who have a child with a disability."
co-founder and former Editor in Chief, Exceptional Parent magazine; co-editor, Reflections from a Different Journey: - Stanley D. Klein
"Will enable parents, family members, and professionals to appreciate what they can and cannot do to address the lifelong challenges of loving and caring for a child or adult on the autism spectrum."
University of Kansas - Ann Turnbull
"Rarely does a book deliver both breadth and depth. In a single volume, you can explore the breadth of the full family lifespan and the depth of every family relationship-parental, marital, sibling, and extended family. Excellent investment."
Adjunct Professor, Center for the Study of Human Development, Brown University; Director, Childhood Communication Servic - Barry M. Prizant
"Beautifully written by Dr. Naseef, both a parent and professional, Autism in the Family explores the depths of the experience of autism, with practical guidance for a true holistic approach that is essential reading for family members and professionals."
father of a son with autism and special education teacher of children with autism - Joe Villalobos
"Dr. Naseef genuinely shares his family's journey with autism. He also provides valuable information for all families with children who have autism to understand that although our situations are as different as our children, we must make this journey together."
founder of and father of a son with autism - Kent Potter
"Rarely does an author speak to the darkest moments while so eloquently providing hope and reason to celebrate. Dr. Naseef shows us how to connect with our children where they are. He encourages us through his stories and experiences that together we can live an abundantly beautiful new life with our children."
Executive Director, Autism Society, Central VA - Bradford Hulcher
"Provides insight and guidance for maintaining a balanced marriage and family when a child with special needs is part of the family. For families just receiving a diagnosis to families beginning the journey through adolescence, Dr. Naseef offers wisdom and hope."
Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics; Director, Pediatric Neuropsychiatry Program, Children's Hospital of Phi - Lawrence W. Brown
"Combining the skills of an experienced therapist, the talents of an inspired teacher, and the courage to share the wisdom gained from often painful personal experience, Dr. Naseef is the consummate advocate not only for the child but also for the entire family."
Early Childhood Coordinator, PACER Center - Judy Swett
"A wonderful resource . . . It recognizes the fact that having a child diagnosed with autism is indeed life-changing but it can take you on a powerful journey of discovery about yourself and those around you. I wish I had had this book to read as I was raising my own (now adult) child with autism."
University of Southern California - Lars Perner
"Very comprehensive, yet very readable . . . provides thoughtful ideas both on how to address specific challenges and on the bigger picture of caring for the whole family's emotional health during the journey."
Barbara Firestone

"A lifeline of support, guidance, research, and practice. With his firsthand experience as a parent, psychologist and advocate , Dr. Naseef has created an invaluable resource for families as well as for educators and clinicians."
Professor of Special Education, Adelphi University; internationally known author, consultant, and presenter on issues re - Stephen Shore
"Brimming with helpful hints, understanding of family dynamics, and insight this book is a must read for anyone desiring to support individuals with autism and their families."
Not New to Autism blog
"Naseef addresses both the emotions and the day-to-day challenges of parenting a child on the autism spectrum . . . I don't remember encountering this [unique] combination in all of the books I have read along the way . . . His story touches me, reaches my heart, and I relate to his experience in a way I didn't expect."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598572414
  • Publisher: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 12/1/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 808,448
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert A. Naseef, Ph.D., along with his wife Cindy N. Ariel, Ph.D., has a full-time independent practice in psychology that specializes in working with families of children with special needs. Dr. Naseef has a foot in each world because he himself is the father of a child with autism. He is a family consultant at Specare Pediatric Center, which provides a medical home for children with special health care needs in the Delaware Valley, and serves as a consultant to school districts, special education parent groups, and human services organizations. He writes regular columns at,, and

A native of Philadelphia who received his doctoral degree in psychological studies from Temple University, Dr. Naseef has a broad background in both education and psychology, with special interest and expertise in the psychology of men and fatherhood. He was instrumental in developing a training package to foster parent-professional collaboration for the New Jersey Department of Education, Division of Special Education, and taught graduate courses at Antioch University in Philadelphia and Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He held clinical privileges in psychology at the Pennsylvania Hospital's Department of Psychiatry and serves on the board of directors of the Center for Autistic children, the professional advisory board of the Pathway School, and the parent steering committee of the Interdisciplinary Council on Learning and Developmental Disorders.

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Table of Contents

About the Author vi

Foreword Susan Levy vii

Preface Cindy Ariel ix

Acknowledgments xi

Prologue: A Letter to My Son xiii

1 My Story 1

2 The Emotional Journey: From Lost Dreams and Chronic Stress to Acceptance 9

3 Understanding Autism 31

4 Starting Over and Falling in Love Again 47

5 Understanding and Guiding Your Child's Behavior 63

6 Surfing Your Stress: One Wave at a Time 83

7 Parents and Professionals: A Partnership in Child Development 101

8 Big Boys Don't Cry: The Secret Life of Men 121

9 Ordinary Couples, Challenged Relationships: Another Developmental Process 137

10 A Different Perspective: Understanding Siblings 155

11 Family and Friends: Finding and Building Circles of Support 175

12 Adolescence 195

13 Adulthood 213

14 Reflections on Peace of Mind and Happiness 233

References 239

Resources 249

Index 259

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