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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Choice and Structure for Children with Autism: Getting Through the Long Days of Quarantine by Colette McNeil is a timely non-fiction self-help guide for parents who find themselves at home with children that require a bit more energy and attention than others. McNeil offers readers suggestions on how to best manage the time and specific needs of home-bound children, circumventing issues that may be compounded by the boredom and isolation heightened during the unavoidable quarantine. This is a short but very concise book with coping recommendations ranging from the power of choice, wherein a child is given two or three options for play or stimulation to encourage a sense of agency, alternating options to avoid satiation and fixation, creating structured areas, and learning how to move between them, among other things.
Initially, when I picked up Choice and Structure for Children with Autism, I wasn't sure how much information I could really get from a book that is relatively compact. It was an unnecessary thought as Colette McNeil is the consummate pro at delivering the facts without any fluff. It was refreshing to feel like I was chatting with a friend, a narrative style that makes a reader immediately comfortable with the author. I also really liked how after each suggestion was made McNeil gives an example in the form of a story. Even though we all have children that relate in different ways, the similarities were close enough that every single case presented was one I could replicate with immediate effect. As a result, this is the first time I have read a book where I knew the author 'gets me'...or us, as a family. Very highly recommended.