Where books are chronicled from beginning to end, and never stop being read.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Coming Through The Fog

Coming Through the Fog by Tami A. Goldstein
Unless one is in direct conflict with such issues, no one can realize the heartache and worry a parent goes through when a daughter or son is diagnosed with any sort of disorder.

Coming Through The Fog is a triumphant memoir of Tami Goldstein's personal journey as a parent whose daughter was eventually diagnosed with High-Functioning Austism, Asperger's Syndrome. Heather, along with her daughter Tami, must take on a slow-moving medical institution with various diagnoses to weed out questionable "professional" opinions and useless medications.

"...Asperger's is a developmental disorder so I wanted to know if he had even looked at that possiblilty. Why wouldn't he look at that? His response was to dismiss us as patients and tell us to seek help elsewhere... At this point, we had three diagnoses... and none of the prescribed medications were working. I don't want to speak for this doctor but I think he was surprised when he saw Heather's decline."

The pain, anger and frustration in Tami's writing comes through loud and clear. Though she gives valuable advice as she continues to walk the reader through the tumultuous path of a decidedly set institution, it's absolutely astounding that the system continued to fail Heather.

"During these ten minutes, she didn't ask me a single question. She didn't look at or ask Heather a single question. This woman told me that I was a bad mother who was using Heather like a specimen and that she didn't have AS... I asked her if she had read the medical records which I had delivered from the Waisman Center. She informed me that she didn't have to read them... I received a letter from the Therapist/Social Worker terminating therapy 'due to the medical complexity of the case'."

This book is a glimpse at a deeply tangled and nightmarish process. Heather's education was also an uphill battle. Not being diagnosed properly, and having had very little supplemental data and progress, the school system was apt to grade Heather on a contradiction of information. Eventually, after being diagnosed properly and even given the proper paperwork and diagnosis, the administration refused to acknowledge Heather's issues; instead, opting to find loopholes in a medical professional's usage of certain terminology.

"Here's the semantics game: In the medical domain, a doctor writes a recommendation or a protocol to follow. The educational domain does not recognize these words as required for education... We could not have this undermined by a group of teachers unqualified in Autism and Sensory Processing Disorders... I had to protect the people who were helping us and still function through this crazy school system."

There is a sense of frantic scrambling as Tami and her husband try to find a way to navigate their way through an incredibly daunting learning curve.

I was amazed at the entire account of Tami's persistence and never-say-die attitude. No parent should feel that they are alone. There is a helpful list of tips and resources in the book for readers who must approach Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder in their own lives.

To be completely fair, the book cover looks like a mother-daughter photograph from the mantel. Even the font of the title would not have been my first choice. There were a few spelling errors throughout the book. But those things aside, it was a compelling and engrossing read.

Tami Goldstein's writing is straight-forward and informative. She is State and Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, Certified in CranioSacral Therapy, and continues to advocate for children and families.

Coming Through the Fog by Tami A. Goldstein, 2013 ISBN 978-1-4787-1413-2

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