No Map to This Country
Our society is riddled with vexing problems; bullying, drugs, and Internet safety are just a few of them. How do we cope with these problems? In a corporate environment solving problems would require an organizational leadership that would set rules and steer the company in an appropriate direction. At home, these same problems demand, more than anything, caring parents and community support.
Data from longitudinal studies on autistic patients who have improved enough so as to lose their original diagnosis show the importance of aggressive and tenacious parenting. These are parents who initiated interventions long before a diagnosis was obtained. Furthermore, the number of therapeutic interventions for recovered patients was large and intensive requiring many hours of parental involvement each week. Parents soon find that there are, and will be, many competing demands for their time; too many to be handled by any single individual.
Jennifer Noonan’s book, No Map to this Country, could be the story of a race, in this case a marathon rather than a sprint. Preparing for a marathon is not something to be taken lightly. You need to break down different aspects of the race in order to achieve your goal. You also need information on your state of health (physical check-up), what shoes to wear, hydration, weather conditions, diet, and a rigorous training schedule.
Jennifer Noonan picks up the gauntlet of Clara Claiborne Park and Bernard Rimland as devoted parents preparing for a marathon and finishing it. In No Map to this Country Jennifer talks about her lifetime goals, the hopes she has for her children, her struggles with coping and freely admits to her own personal shortcomings. It is also an educational book where Jennifer identifies autism related problems before they snowball uncontrollably. The book provides a guide path to those new to the world of autism, pioneers in their own right, as to what to expect and how best to proceed.
Maybe writing this book for Jennifer has been an exercise in grief shared is grief diminished; one where she narrates a journey of healing and redemption. Truthfully I had a feeling of despair in reading the first few chapters because I could readily identify with Jennifer’s plight and the problems she encountered. This feeling has been superseded by hope and confidence in knowing that the Noonan family is in good hands. I am looking forward to the postscript several years from now.