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Intimate, bold, and inspiring, Autism Heroes provides a compelling and sensitive account of the experiences of 38 families from different walks of life confronting the challenges of autism with courage, tenacity and love. With empathy and expertise gained from her three decades of leadership of The Help Group and commitment to children with special needs, Dr. Barbara Firestone engages the families in candid, powerful and deeply affecting conversations about their lives. Each family narrative is set against the backdrop of her insightful essays about dignity, hope, opportunity and love, which are fundamentally important to all families living with autism. The families offer their experiences openly and honestly, sharing their challenges, triumphs, and hopes. Their candor helps demystify and destigmatize autism and embraces other parents just beginning or already on the journey. Their reflections chart the course through the many stages of coping with autism and seeking solutions for their children, and they offer a lifeline of support, insight and encouragement and hope. Fully illustrated with stunning photographs by Joe Buissink, Autism Heroes is an invaluable resource for families as well as educators, clinicians, researchers and policy makers.
Barbara Firestone, PhD is President, CEO and founder of The Help Group, the largest and most comprehensive non-profit organization of its kind in the U.S. serving children with autism spectrum disorders and other special needs. Widely recognized for her leadership, vision and innovation, Dr. Firestone was appointed Vice Chair of the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism, and The Help Group - UCLA Autism Research Alliance was recently launched in conjunction with UCLA's Semel Institute. At state and national levels, she actively promotes autism awareness, early identification and intervention and the expansion of education and treatment opportunities for children, adolescents and young adults. Joe Buissink is an internationally acclaimed photographer and world-renowned teacher and lecturer. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the International Leadership Award in Photography by the International Photographic Council at the United Nations. He is part of Canon's distinguished group of Explorers of Light, has been featured on Good Morning America and many other programs, and his work has appeared in numerous publications. As the parent of a child with an autism spectrum disorder, Joe brings a special sensitivity and artistry to portraying the families in Autism Heroes and has generously donated his time and talent to this project.