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Forever Boy: A Mother's Memoir of Finding Joy Through Autism

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With her popular blog, Finding Cooper's Voice, Kate Swenson has provided hope and comfort for hundreds of thousands of parents of children with Autism. Now, Kate shares her inspiring story in this powerful memoir about motherhood and unconditional love When Kate Swenson's son Cooper was diagnosed with severe, nonverbal autism, her world stopped. She had always dreamed of h With her popular blog, Finding Cooper's Voice, Kate Swenson has provided hope and comfort for hundreds of thousands of parents of children with Autism. Now, Kate shares her inspiring story in this powerful memoir about motherhood and unconditional love When Kate Swenson's son Cooper was diagnosed with severe, nonverbal autism, her world stopped. She had always dreamed of having the perfect family life. She hadn't signed up for life as a mother raising a child with a disability. At first, Kate experienced the grief of broken dreams. Then she felt the frustration and exhaustion of having to fight for your child in a world that is stacked against them. But through hard work, resilience and personal growth, she would come to learn that Cooper wasn't the one who needed to change. She was. And it was this transformation that led Kate to acceptance--and ultimately joy. In Forever Boy, Kate shares her inspiring journey with honesty and compassion, offering solace and hope to others on this path and illuminating the strength and perseverance of mothers.


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With her popular blog, Finding Cooper's Voice, Kate Swenson has provided hope and comfort for hundreds of thousands of parents of children with Autism. Now, Kate shares her inspiring story in this powerful memoir about motherhood and unconditional love When Kate Swenson's son Cooper was diagnosed with severe, nonverbal autism, her world stopped. She had always dreamed of h With her popular blog, Finding Cooper's Voice, Kate Swenson has provided hope and comfort for hundreds of thousands of parents of children with Autism. Now, Kate shares her inspiring story in this powerful memoir about motherhood and unconditional love When Kate Swenson's son Cooper was diagnosed with severe, nonverbal autism, her world stopped. She had always dreamed of having the perfect family life. She hadn't signed up for life as a mother raising a child with a disability. At first, Kate experienced the grief of broken dreams. Then she felt the frustration and exhaustion of having to fight for your child in a world that is stacked against them. But through hard work, resilience and personal growth, she would come to learn that Cooper wasn't the one who needed to change. She was. And it was this transformation that led Kate to acceptance--and ultimately joy. In Forever Boy, Kate shares her inspiring journey with honesty and compassion, offering solace and hope to others on this path and illuminating the strength and perseverance of mothers.

30 review for Forever Boy: A Mother's Memoir of Finding Joy Through Autism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    ♾ Autism Appreciation Month - Book Feature and Review ♾ There is so much to say about this book- I laughed, I cried and I was instantly taken back to the early days of receiving an autism diagnosis for our son. Kate is an amazing writer and captures the struggles and joys that come with being a special needs parent. If you already follow Kate @findingcoopersvoice you know about her autistic son Cooper and you’ve been given a quick glimpse of her beautiful family, but this book takes a deep dive i ♾ Autism Appreciation Month - Book Feature and Review ♾ There is so much to say about this book- I laughed, I cried and I was instantly taken back to the early days of receiving an autism diagnosis for our son. Kate is an amazing writer and captures the struggles and joys that come with being a special needs parent. If you already follow Kate @findingcoopersvoice you know about her autistic son Cooper and you’ve been given a quick glimpse of her beautiful family, but this book takes a deep dive into their story from the very beginning. We learn about how Kate met her husband, about the challenges they faced as they sought a diagnosis for their firstborn son and about how they healed as a family after hitting their lowest point. I shed so many tears reading these pages and found so many similarities between their story and our own with our nonverbal/autistic son Jack. Kate is a mother I truly look up to, and her son Cooper is a child I always root for from afar. I’ve seen him achieve so many things with the support of his family and his growth goes to show that our children are lifelong learners and capable of so much more than we give them credit for. And seeing Cooper reach new milestones is a testament to how hard his family fights for him by advocating and educating others about autism. April is autism appreciation month and it is the perfect time to pick up Forever Boy. You don’t have to be on the same journey as a parent to appreciate this story and the exceptional woman and child behind it. I’m truly blown away by Kate- she continues to amaze me with her strength and vulnerability. Thank you for this book Kate- this is a must read for all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I follow Kate’s page on Facebook and I’m so glad I was able to get an advanced copy of her book, thanks NetGalley! This was a great read, an important read. There are many people in our world who are like Cooper but they don’t have someone to fight with them and we need to hear more of their stories. #netgalleyarc

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Wallace

    Kate Swenson is a phenomenal writer. I honestly have never read a book that I could relate to as much as I did Forever Boy. I laughed, I cried, and I relived through her words some of the most painful and beautiful times in my life as a mother to a special needs child. This is a must read friends.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This book was great! It really helped me understand more about disabilities. I work in a Special Education classroom and I hope what I've read will help me be more understanding to students and their families. This book was great! It really helped me understand more about disabilities. I work in a Special Education classroom and I hope what I've read will help me be more understanding to students and their families.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vickie

    This is a poignant look at a mother’s love for her special needs child who has non-verbal autism. The author was very honest in portraying the challenges that she faced, including problems with going out in public or to any crowded space. Her descriptions of Cooper’s meltdowns were vivid and heart-tugging. With a sincere desire to tell others about her journey down this difficult road, the author wrote without holding back any punches. She was honest about her marital difficulties and her troubl This is a poignant look at a mother’s love for her special needs child who has non-verbal autism. The author was very honest in portraying the challenges that she faced, including problems with going out in public or to any crowded space. Her descriptions of Cooper’s meltdowns were vivid and heart-tugging. With a sincere desire to tell others about her journey down this difficult road, the author wrote without holding back any punches. She was honest about her marital difficulties and her trouble relating to other parents who did not understand that her greatest desire was to see Cooper be all that he could be. Beginning with a normal pregnancy and describing the birth of little Cooper, Kate Swenson gives detailed insight into her path into the unknown. After all, no one expects to have a special needs child and her innate desire to be a mother with a child who could relate to other children was understandable as well as heartbreaking. Ms. Swenson describes her journey from denial to acceptance in a way that was realistic and forthright, compelling me to think about the repercussions that come in waves once a child is diagnosed with ASD. As the grandparent of a non-verbal autistic granddaughter, I could relate to many scenes that she was describing, most notably the ones in which Cooper was frustrated and withdrew into the world of his screen. This was a book that was hard to read at times because of my own experiences, but it is also a story that needs to be told and shared so that other parents of these very lovable children can feel the hope that comes from its pages. There were a lot of “aha” moments as I read and discovered new methods of dealing with ASD by the trial and error that the author and Cooper had to endure. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the perspective of the author in her dedicated quest on Cooper’s behalf. Teachers, parents and even siblings of children diagnosed with ASD should read this book and take to heart the lessons that the author learned. There is hope after the diagnosis, not for normal, but for a new normal and all kinds of love that come from the heart of a special needs child. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I won a copy of this book from Bookish First. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bruin Mccon

    But the gift of acceptance was still elusive. Some days, even weeks, I would walk around thinking I had made it and then something would happen. [A relative], just four months younger, would sing me a song, and I would be leveled, blindsided by the grief that seemed to lie dormant and then resurfaced when I least expected it. It’s hard to know where to start with this review. Forever Boy is about being the mother of an autistic child. The author writes early in the book, “Finding others who under But the gift of acceptance was still elusive. Some days, even weeks, I would walk around thinking I had made it and then something would happen. [A relative], just four months younger, would sing me a song, and I would be leveled, blindsided by the grief that seemed to lie dormant and then resurfaced when I least expected it. It’s hard to know where to start with this review. Forever Boy is about being the mother of an autistic child. The author writes early in the book, “Finding others who understand is life-changing.” She’s right. Her Facebook page was recommended to me a few months after my son’s diagnosis and I couldn’t even hazard a guess at how many times I’ve cried reading her posts. While all of our stories are different, there are a lot of common elements in how a parent processes this difference. I’ve felt doubly different, being neurodivergent myself, understanding my son in a less common way, but feeling too different than other autism moms who say things that unintentionally become personally insulting to me. Kate is the exception. I became his person and he became mine. But in time I learned not to let these people limit my child’s future. Professionals are here to help us and often they do. But they don’t have a crystal ball or the ability to predict a child’s future. Regardless of whether they end up being right or wrong, the one thing we can’t let them do is destroy our hope. Like Kate, my son has apraxia and started talking after he got an Assistive Tech iPad. The inability to communicate seems ten times worse for autistic kids who process the world differently than NTs. Until they can tell us their basic needs, we have to guess. And the supposed experts don’t know much. It’s frustrating being neurodiverse and having to deal with medical professionals who act like authorities they aren’t. I’ve had my own diagnosis man-splained to me (and he got it wrong—shocker) by a doctor who should have known better. I’ve been told sensory processing disorder is a “theory” in response to me telling a self-described expert that I have it. And when my son got his diagnosis, I asked which therapies (e.g., music, play, speech) were shown to be the most effective in research and was told that those making the diagnosis couldn’t possibly have read all the literature to know that. I’m lucky to have an economist friend who reviewed the literature for me. Turns out it’s remarkably easy to make a recommendation, even if that rec is a subject of massive contention in the autism community. What’s difficult is determining why autism is more frequently diagnosed now than ever before and yet there’s still no great system for determining what sorts of supports any individual needs. It’s frustrating that we don’t get to hear more #actuallyautistic voices and instead have to listen to NT people basically guessing. If I were to describe Cooper’s toddler years with one word, it would be lonely, a word that I didn’t know before having a baby could be associated with motherhood. And opening up and being honest about our day-to-day struggles and my heartache didn’t come easily to me. So I had pulled away from most people. My friendships were suffering. I sugarcoated the challenges with family. I wanted to believe if I just kept going, and kept doing more for Cooper, that one day, he would get better. But it wasn’t happening. Autism had woven its way into every aspect of my life and had consumed me. It’s still lonely, five years in. Your best friends may not know what to say and say nothing/ghost you. You feel ashamed or in my case ready to put anyone who says anything shitty about your kid on blast. The world is such a cruel place to anyone who is different. And there is nothing I could do to change that. Grief. It comes out of nowhere. I don’t think it ever goes away. It couldn’t possibly. But grief is love. Grief is help. Grief is acceptance. And I will carry the weight of grief with me forever. It’s hard not to question why. Why the eff didn’t anyone notice this earlier? Why are there so many hoops to access early intervention and later supports. Why does it become another full-time job to navigate this system? And the worry: Should I be doing more? Is he happy? I was a smart, strong, devoted, capable person and I could make this better. I had the power to make this better. And now that we had a diagnosis, it should be easy. Someone, I wasn’t sure who exactly, will tell me what to do. Like a prescription of sorts. Cooper wasn’t the first autistic kid diagnosed, nor would he be the last. I would just help him. Simple as that. By my calculations, he could be fine by kindergarten. That was the goal I set for myself. I realized in that moment it takes a strong person to have a child in special education. There are no bells and no whistles. This was his first year in kindergarten and I wanted to celebrate it, but it felt like the public education system was telling me it wasn’t going to be special. It was going to be sad and dark. But the special education families, our stuff is always during the workday. Every meeting for an individualized education program or IEP, every conference, they are always during the week at a time that is difficult for any working parent. Stepping off the path that every other child follows is crushing, and one of the hardest steps you’ll ever take as a special-needs parent. There are some heartbreaking stories in this memoir about Cooper being left alone in a classroom while all the other kindergarteners are off at a Christmas party, put in the audience while the rest of the kids sang in a holiday carol-type situation and punished by taking away his recess. As we walked out, the chatter of five year old voices leveled me. I cried the whole drive home again. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. This was supposed to be such a fun day. Over the years I’ve talked about the linear nature of childhood development. Babies, infants, and toddlers typically learn skills and hit milestones on a prescribed timeline. It’s so predictable that you can buy books or subscribe to emails that will tell you what your child should be doing at any given time, give or take a few months. Most parents just have to follow that plan that the system lays out for them. But for Cooper and kids like him, there is no clear development plan. When you have a child with special needs, you have to pick and choose what’s worth fighting for and focus your energies on that. Because if you try to fight everything, you will get burned out. It’s hard to understand whether the focus on milestones really does jack s*%t. Seems like there is funding for putting up posters and freaking out parents, but no extra funding for support services for all the kids who need it. We paid out of pocket for a lot of services that would’ve taken at least a year to get through the bureaucracy. And we apparently live in a “good” state for disability. It is hard to think about all the kids who could communicate with an iPad if only they had the opportunity to have one at school. Self-care. It’s a buzzword that makes most special-needs parents cringe. We don’t have time for extras in our world. Once I counted Cooper had on average seven additional appointments a week on top of school and being a kid. Think of a combination of speech therapy, occupational therapy, play therapy, feeding therapy, medical appointments, and appointments with his social worker. I also had another son to care for, and a house to manage, and a job to work. Self-care was not a priority. I thought about autism. His autism. No one told me it would all be so challenging, that every day would feel like climbing a mountain. They also didn’t tell me it would be so emotional. That seeing other children his age speaking and playing would almost drop me to my knees. It felt as if the world had long passed us by and forgotten about my beautiful boy. My six-year-old son had severe, nonverbal autism. It’s the kind of autism that no one talks about. The kind that isolates families. The kind that doesn’t sleep. The kind that forces a person to fight for every possible service and basic right. The kind that is completely and utterly depleting. The kind that feels hopeless at times.. My son’s autism is different than Cooper’s, not severe but not mild. Functioning labels are not only horrifying but simplified so much that they are useless. Please, if your friend tells you her kid has autism, please don’t ask if he’s high-functioning. Please don’t buy into this false idea that autism is screaming meltdowns or Rain Man. Please. Take the help. Your life is difficult and it’s OK to acknowledge that it is hard. Take respite, take the offer from a friend to make dinner. Take financial help. There are no metals given out at the end of this life for the person who suffered the most. Always try one more thing. Celebrate everything. Every small, tiny, huge-to-you victory. Speak your truth. Choose joy. The advice at the end was a nice bonus. She’s been through some things. Can’t think of another book on autism that mentions the literal sweat. This book was so hard and made me cry so much. But I’m glad I read it. You can’t hold your grief in forever. Sometimes that is the hardest thing. Those awful days where you feel all alone. Questioning how you will make it through. Hating that everyone calls you strong. Friends and family may fail you. Things look bleak. You feel your feelings and then you go give your kid a hug. And start all over again. **I received a review copy of this book from Bookish First. (I also pre-ordered it months ago so I will have two copies on April 5.)**

  7. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

    As someone who has no personal experience with and limited knowledge of autism, I found this book to be informative, engaging and beautifully written. I feel it would appeal both to parents looking for guidance if this is something they are trying to navigate, as well as to those who would like to learn more about a subject they know little about. Many thanks to Harlequin Trade Publishing and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Fantastic first novel. Great representation of what it can be like living in a house with a child on the spectrum. Kate opened her heart and shared her life, her family and her son with us all.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly McEneny

    Thank you NetGalley for this ARC!! Beautiful story of choosing and find joy and the growth of a family. Highly recommended anyone needing support or trying to understand a family or child w a disability.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    AMAZING. This book captured what it is like living with a child on the spectrum perfectly. My son is on the spectrum, verbal, HF but has so many of the same qualities as Cooper. We went through a stage where he would hit me multiple times a day. People who don't live it just don't understand. Kate did such a fantastic job sharing Cooper's and her family's story. I hope people will read it and learn and become more aware. Thank you for sharing your story. #findingcoopersvoice AMAZING. This book captured what it is like living with a child on the spectrum perfectly. My son is on the spectrum, verbal, HF but has so many of the same qualities as Cooper. We went through a stage where he would hit me multiple times a day. People who don't live it just don't understand. Kate did such a fantastic job sharing Cooper's and her family's story. I hope people will read it and learn and become more aware. Thank you for sharing your story. #findingcoopersvoice

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Decker

    This book is just what I needed. A story of a mom’s journey and a family healing through an autism diagnosis. I laughed, I cried, and I felt every injustice. In the end you see the beauty that is special needs parenting. This book is great for special needs parents, caregivers, teachers, therapists and anyone who would like to learn more about Autism.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    This book is wonderful I laughed and I cried. It's a story of hope and never giving up. Pick up a copy you won't regret it. This book is wonderful I laughed and I cried. It's a story of hope and never giving up. Pick up a copy you won't regret it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marisa McLeod

    I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book. Kate Swenson is an amazingly talented writer. I’ve followed her and her family for years through her blog and social media pages. Her wit and wisdom got me through some of our family’s hardest moments during the early days of my son’s autism diagnosis. This book is truly a gift. There is so much valuable information and insight in it— especially for those with newly diagnosed children or loved ones.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    In Forever Boy, Kate Swenson eloquently takes us with her on her journey into a joyful life with her son Cooper. Cooper has autism. As a parent, Kate struggled to find the reality of who her son was and to not relinquish all the dreams she had for Cooper. Kate dealt with the heartbreak of not being able to communicate with Cooper and watching behaviors escalate, all the while grasping for any opportunity to turn Cooper's story around. Because Kate emerged into joy with the family intact that she In Forever Boy, Kate Swenson eloquently takes us with her on her journey into a joyful life with her son Cooper. Cooper has autism. As a parent, Kate struggled to find the reality of who her son was and to not relinquish all the dreams she had for Cooper. Kate dealt with the heartbreak of not being able to communicate with Cooper and watching behaviors escalate, all the while grasping for any opportunity to turn Cooper's story around. Because Kate emerged into joy with the family intact that she dreamed of from early childhood, her message is meant for those who like her are isolated and feel no option but to believe the doomsday predictions for their child. Though I do not directly care for anyone on the autism spectrum my long running interest in the journey such families take was born in part because of my experience as a Pediatric nurse and due to my involvement with a close family member with a daughter with autism. I recommend this book as an excellent read for everyone because Kate's story grabs your heart and her desire to educate those of us on the sidelines is intense. Kate encourages me to reach out with a smile and a kind word and to set an example and interact with those whose behaviors we might not always understand. Whether you read Kate’s story because you are travelling the same path or for more insight into the journey, you will come away uplifted. I would like to say thank you to Net Galley and Park Row books for making this copy available for me to enjoy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Thanks to BookishFirst and Park Row for a gifted copy of this book. Throughout Forever Boy, Kate Swenson tells readers about the journey her family has taken through the years with her oldest child, who has autism and is nonverbal. Kate's journey hasn't been linear and it's never been easy- from uprooting her family and moving to another city to find better assistance programs to marital issues and a host of other struggles. One thing that remains clear throughout the story is her love for her fa Thanks to BookishFirst and Park Row for a gifted copy of this book. Throughout Forever Boy, Kate Swenson tells readers about the journey her family has taken through the years with her oldest child, who has autism and is nonverbal. Kate's journey hasn't been linear and it's never been easy- from uprooting her family and moving to another city to find better assistance programs to marital issues and a host of other struggles. One thing that remains clear throughout the story is her love for her family. If there's one word to describe her as portrayed in her book, Kate is relentless- a constant pursuer of the help her child or family needs, and entirely honest about the missteps and feelings she's had while navigating a complicated system. As I was unfamiliar with Kate and her blog, I don't know how much of this book was recycled content and what the reading experience would be for those who are already followers.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leslie McKee

    Odds are good you know someone with autism, or someone who has a loved on with autism. This book is one mother's story. It's a memoir that takes the reader from pregnancy to birth to diagnosis and beyond. Swenson is open and raw in sharing her story, the highs and the lows. The reader will laugh and cry along with the author, and they'll also come to understand a bit more about what it's like when someone you love is diagnosed with autism. I'm a former special education teacher, and I believe th Odds are good you know someone with autism, or someone who has a loved on with autism. This book is one mother's story. It's a memoir that takes the reader from pregnancy to birth to diagnosis and beyond. Swenson is open and raw in sharing her story, the highs and the lows. The reader will laugh and cry along with the author, and they'll also come to understand a bit more about what it's like when someone you love is diagnosed with autism. I'm a former special education teacher, and I believe this would be a beneficial read for anyone, but especially for teachers, speech pathologists, etc (those who work with children with autism). It's also beneficial for other parents, as it will remind them they're not alone on their journey. The book is written in a way that is relatable and easy to understand. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline H Haack

    If you want a better understanding of autism, I would highly recommend this book. Five our of five stars. And here's why... As a parent of a son with autism, I found Kate's story real. Really real. It is peppered with humor and truth. I laughed out loud. I read in shock. I cried tears for her son, my son, her family, and ours. But most of all, I love that she wrapped it in hope. Our family's autism journey is very similar, yet very different. But "Forever Boy" made me feel seen, understood, and no If you want a better understanding of autism, I would highly recommend this book. Five our of five stars. And here's why... As a parent of a son with autism, I found Kate's story real. Really real. It is peppered with humor and truth. I laughed out loud. I read in shock. I cried tears for her son, my son, her family, and ours. But most of all, I love that she wrapped it in hope. Our family's autism journey is very similar, yet very different. But "Forever Boy" made me feel seen, understood, and not alone on our journey. Parents of children with autism can read this book and be seen. Kate sits with you. You are not alone. Teachers, family members, friends, caregivers, neighbors...um, anyone can read this book and have a better understanding of what autism can be like for parents, siblings, and families. If you think you don't know anyone with autism, you are probably wrong and you are missing out on a beautiful gift.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Val

    A wonderfully written memoir! It is look inside their family, the raw truth of what many families go through and how tough and isolating it can be while raising a child with Autism. It is a great read and would be wonderful for families, friends and teachers to see a side that lots of families rarely talk about!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Russell

    I was able to read an advanced copy prior to the release date and I am so thankful! This book is nothing short of amazing! Kate writes about her journey with autism, from a parents perspective, and it paints a picture for the reader as to what families go through when someone they love is diagnosed with autism. You will laugh, you will cry, but most of all, you will understand, even just a little bit more, what this life is like from a parent's view. As a fellow parent to a child with special ne I was able to read an advanced copy prior to the release date and I am so thankful! This book is nothing short of amazing! Kate writes about her journey with autism, from a parents perspective, and it paints a picture for the reader as to what families go through when someone they love is diagnosed with autism. You will laugh, you will cry, but most of all, you will understand, even just a little bit more, what this life is like from a parent's view. As a fellow parent to a child with special needs, I found this book very relatable and honest. Kate writes so eloquently and the book is so easy to read. I highly recommend!!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book. It is so good. I could not put it down. While it is about Kate’s journey with her son Cooper and autism it is a book of hope and joy and acceptance. I could actually feel Kate going from despair and grief to finding the joy . The love is always there . The frustration at trying to find services and the appalling lack of help from some professionals is disturbing and yet Kate and her hubby persevered. A book written from the heart and a mus I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book. It is so good. I could not put it down. While it is about Kate’s journey with her son Cooper and autism it is a book of hope and joy and acceptance. I could actually feel Kate going from despair and grief to finding the joy . The love is always there . The frustration at trying to find services and the appalling lack of help from some professionals is disturbing and yet Kate and her hubby persevered. A book written from the heart and a must read for anyone. I myself do not have anyone I’m close to with autism and yet this book has made me aware of how I can help even when I’m just out and about! A joy to read!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kari Kendrick

    This is an amazing story of hope, struggles, sadness, acceptance and finding joy in the little things. Kate details how she was able to grieve and eventually find joy in all things autism. I do not have a child with special needs but this book is so relatable to all the struggles of motherhood and marriage! Kate beautifully detailed all the ups and downs of navigating the hard! This is a must read!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Althaus

    This book needs to be given to every parent whose child receives an Autism diagnosis. It’s an incredible reminder that you are not alone. Kate brings you into the incredible world of Cooper and teaches parents how to navigate the world of advocacy. You will not be disappointed when you read this book. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll close the book a better person for getting to know the world of Autism.

  23. 5 out of 5

    callie Yeater

    A true story of love, hope and joy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Robyn DeMars

    I’ve never related so closely to a book as this one. As a parent to 2 Autistic boys, I feel validated in all the emotions I have been feeling for 10 years. I’d recommend this to everyone, especially those personally affected by Autism.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. Two and a half stars. The first of half of Swenson's memoir of parenting a child who is severely autistic is told in a linear and straight-forward manner. It was interesting, if dry at points. As the book progresses, Swenson becomes very repetitive and loses focus on her target audience. At times, she wants those unfamiliar with autism to understand her "secret world." I've been extremely familiar with autism for decades, and while Swenson wa I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. Two and a half stars. The first of half of Swenson's memoir of parenting a child who is severely autistic is told in a linear and straight-forward manner. It was interesting, if dry at points. As the book progresses, Swenson becomes very repetitive and loses focus on her target audience. At times, she wants those unfamiliar with autism to understand her "secret world." I've been extremely familiar with autism for decades, and while Swenson wasn't familiar with autism until after 2011, when her son was born, I think she does not give enough credit to this portion of her audience. Given the extremely high rate of diagnosis today (some estimates as high as 1 in 49) many, maybe most, people have at least a passing familiarity with autism. At other points in the memoir, Swenson addresses parents of the newly diagnosed child and shares advice and encouragement. The second half of the memoir feels poorly edited - I'm not sure if Swenson copied blog posts for these chapters or rushed through them - she repeats her thoughts and philosophies, defines the same terms multiple times, and no longer follows a linear progression. She sweeps past major milestone moments and contradicts herself at times. As interested as I am in autism, and her son's story is compelling, I lost interest as the memoir progressed. I don't follow her blog so I can't say if this will be a good read for that audience or not, but in general this memoir lacks a clear focus. Swenson is most likely used to writing short-form articles/blogs, and I think a professional co-author would have been really beneficial here.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Oard

    I laughed, I cried, I said “yes!!!! exactly, someone gets it!” in my head over and over again. This book is for anyone; the special needs mom, the caretakers, a teacher or para in a special education classroom, admin and gen ed teachers, family members, community members, any mom, any dad, any advocate - this book will touch each and every person who reads it in some way. Kate shares her families story of finding the joy in the midst of despair and focusing on that joy each day. Kate’s story is I laughed, I cried, I said “yes!!!! exactly, someone gets it!” in my head over and over again. This book is for anyone; the special needs mom, the caretakers, a teacher or para in a special education classroom, admin and gen ed teachers, family members, community members, any mom, any dad, any advocate - this book will touch each and every person who reads it in some way. Kate shares her families story of finding the joy in the midst of despair and focusing on that joy each day. Kate’s story is not just about her son Cooper’s severe non-verbal Autism, but also a story of marriage, heartache, advocacy, family, joy. A beautifully written memoir of a Mom who fights each and every day for her beautiful boy and his non-verbal Autism, who despite having no physical words, his families journey to find those words and joy along with him will touch you to the core.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    In Forever Boy KT Swenson makes her debut with a moving memoir about how Autism changed a whole family dynamic. This is a not to miss read. Ms. Swenson did not shy away from the hard topics that a child with dynamic needs can bring into a family. From divorce, specialists blowing Cooper off, to a broken educational system you have a rare window into the lives of what thousands of families go through on a day to day basis. But the overarching theme of the book is the author's ability to choose jo In Forever Boy KT Swenson makes her debut with a moving memoir about how Autism changed a whole family dynamic. This is a not to miss read. Ms. Swenson did not shy away from the hard topics that a child with dynamic needs can bring into a family. From divorce, specialists blowing Cooper off, to a broken educational system you have a rare window into the lives of what thousands of families go through on a day to day basis. But the overarching theme of the book is the author's ability to choose joy. She could have quit. But she never stopped looking for resources, support, and people who walked alongside of the family cheering them on. So pick up a copy of Forever Boy and be prepared to laugh, cry, and learn about a very special little boy and an amazing mother who never took no for an answer. Happy Reading!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tasha Nicholson

    This book is full of the raw roller coaster of emotions parents take during a journey to diagnosis. Even though there are sad moments and grieving the childhood memories you might not have Kate is inspiring to prove if you work hard and have patience progress will happen. Grab some tissues as this real life journey takes you through the grief cycle. And be ready to feel HOPE at the end of the book. Hope your child can make progress. Hope this world will understand autism better. And HOPE your fa This book is full of the raw roller coaster of emotions parents take during a journey to diagnosis. Even though there are sad moments and grieving the childhood memories you might not have Kate is inspiring to prove if you work hard and have patience progress will happen. Grab some tissues as this real life journey takes you through the grief cycle. And be ready to feel HOPE at the end of the book. Hope your child can make progress. Hope this world will understand autism better. And HOPE your family is whole.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sam Hughes

    I am not a mother, but I do long to have kids one day with my husband. I do believe that an expecting mother experiences a lot of anxieties throughout the duration of her carrying term, and even after the birth. Will my baby be healthy? Will they grow up to be happy? Will everything be okay? And then to find out that your child has this debilitating disease that affects the way they perceive and construct things can be deafening. My husband and I have several family members and friends who have c I am not a mother, but I do long to have kids one day with my husband. I do believe that an expecting mother experiences a lot of anxieties throughout the duration of her carrying term, and even after the birth. Will my baby be healthy? Will they grow up to be happy? Will everything be okay? And then to find out that your child has this debilitating disease that affects the way they perceive and construct things can be deafening. My husband and I have several family members and friends who have children on the spectrum and they've learned to live with the implications of this diagnosis. They have altered their parenting to be less reactive in nature, as to not scold their children, but to go through their experience with them as a unit. I was very humbled by the way Kate Swenson talked about her family's background and the love they all hold for their son and I was very inspired to refer to this book in the event that we would carry and care for a child with a disability like this one. I did really enjoy this book and hope more people have the opportunity to pick up a copy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Kate brings you into her family and show's you what she's learned about being a mother of a child with autism. She takes you into the joy, pain, heartache, and acceptance that she went through as she journeyed motherhood. While reading this book, I felt seen and not alone for the first time as a mother myself of a child with autism. I couldn't put the book down. Thank you Kate for pouring your heart and soul into this book. I believe everyone should read this book even if you aren't directly aff Kate brings you into her family and show's you what she's learned about being a mother of a child with autism. She takes you into the joy, pain, heartache, and acceptance that she went through as she journeyed motherhood. While reading this book, I felt seen and not alone for the first time as a mother myself of a child with autism. I couldn't put the book down. Thank you Kate for pouring your heart and soul into this book. I believe everyone should read this book even if you aren't directly affected by autism.

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