Book Review: Constructive campaigning

Book Cover - Constructive campaigning Constructive Campaigning for Autism Services: The Pace Parents’ Handbook
 Armorer Wason, Jessica Kingsley Publishers
 ISBN 1843103877, £11.99

 STAR RATING: £11.99

As if it were not difficult enough having an autistic child, the parents often find themselves having to struggle to obtain appropriate schooling and social support, writes Michael Fitzpatrick.

In this useful guide to campaigning, Armorer Wason quotes one parent who described having to cope with “a triad of impairments” – health, education and social services – as well as “challenging behaviour” from professionals.

Dealing with local service officials and professionals, not to mention journalists and politicians, are daunting tasks for parents and Wason provides much constructive and helpful advice.
“We never meant to lobby or campaign, any more than we meant to have children with autism”, write Virginia Bovell and Su Thomas, founders of the Parents Autism Campaign for Education, now incorporated in the Tree House school trust, in their foreword. But parents have had campaigning thrust upon them.

From the earliest days of special educational provision for children with autism in the 1960s, parents – often working in collaboration with professionals – have provided the crucial impetus.
It is clear that, despite all the current waffle about inclusion and joint working, seamless and family-centred services, national service frameworks and child development centres, parents will still need a campaigning handbook for some time to come.

Michael Fitzpatrick is a GP, parent of an autistic child and the author of MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Know

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