Outside Looking In

High-functioning autism from one mother's perspective

Non-Fiction - Parenting
192 Pages
Reviewed on 09/01/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Outside Looking In: High-functioning autism from one mother's perspective is a work of non-fiction which focuses specifically on the parenting of children on the autistic spectrum, and was penned by author Vivian M. Lumbard. An emotive and informative account of a unique journey through raising twins with high-functioning autism, this book gives us a close look at how to truly understand and support a child as an individual, rather than just glossing over the condition itself. What results is a powerful account of breaking down stereotypes, homing in and focusing on what matters, and exploring totally up to date techniques and strategies to cope when you have to stay at home.

Author Vivian M. Lumbard writes with a deep passion for her family and her children, but also with a vigor to make sure that any person on the autistic spectrum is not simply noticed, but truly seen, heard and understood. The organization of the book takes you through a memoir-style of episodes, but each one has a clear purpose with regard to tips on parenting and sharing the real experience of what it has been like in her family life. There are some really funny moments that any family can relate to, but also well-explained hardships and triumphant moments of strength to work out ways to thrive. Overall, I would highly recommend Outside Looking In for anyone who not only wants to understand autism in greater detail but also to learn how to think critically beyond stereotypes for all types of people they might meet in the future.

Vincent Dublado

Autism Spectrum Disorder has no cure, but treatment can bring hope. As a developmental disorder, it can be challenging to interact with a child with ASD, as each family’s experience may vary. Vivian M. Lumbard is a mother who shares her journey on parenting her special children and hopes that her experience will add value to your own life if you happen to tread the same path. Her book, Outside Looking In: High-functioning Autism from One Mother’s Perspective, is not the holy grail of all issues concerning special care for children with ASD. It can be read as reinforcement in handling challenges that may arise in living with autism, and how parents can give their special child the wonders of childhood like any other children experience.

Though she is no expert on ASD, Ms. Lumbard is well-suited to write this book when it comes to giving encouragement to parents dealing with children with ASD. She has successfully raised her children with her husband, John, through a consistent plan of action and immersive involvement in the formation of their children. The best part of Outside Looking In is that it demonstrates a clear distinction between autism “awareness” and “understanding.” While the world continues to espouse ASD awareness, the reality for people dealing with autism bear concerns that extend far beyond awareness. Part of understanding is that we should all aim to see every person with autism for the person as they are and not for what we think their diagnosis means. From a parent who has been there and still continues with her journey, we can all learn to make choices in dealing with the social and communicative impairments of the complex people we hold dear and lead them to a life they rightfully deserve.

Sefina Hawke

Outside Looking In (High-functioning autism from one mother's perspective) by Vivian M. Lumbard is a non-fiction parenting book that would appeal most to a mixed audience of parents, teachers, and those who work with special needs children. The author shares her own experiences with her high-functioning autistic twins while teaching on how to think about autism differently. There is quite a big difference between autism awareness and autism understanding; this difference can lead to stereotypes, which can hinder a person or child with autism from getting the care and help they need for their own unique version of autism. Are you ready to join the author on a journey that will help you to obtain a new understanding of autism?

Outside Looking In by Vivian M. Lumbard is a very well written book, which I found to be most educational. My job as an after school counselor often involves working with children with autism, yet the advice I was given on how to work with these children only ever succeeded with a few of them. This book really opened my eyes to the fact that even though the children I work with all have the same condition, it does not mean that they should all receive the exact same type of help. This book helped me not just to have an awareness of autism, but also an understanding of it that I plan to employ at work to better assist each individual child that I work with. Overall, I am very pleased with the knowledge I gained from this book and I especially liked the way the author talked about how to apply her tips during COVID-19.