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A national report released in October 2009 in the journal Pediatrics reveals that one in every 91 children has an autism spectrum disorder. Most everyone knows a family that has been affected. What is the role that faith plays in helping families cope? In this series of slice-of-life vignettes, God' grace glimmers through as Joel, an intellectually challenged young adult with autism, teaches those who love him that life requires:
• childlike faith• humility• trust• compassion• forgiveness• openness to all of God' gifts
For more information about disability ministries and disability resources, visit the American Baptist Home Mission Societies' website. You can also listen to a podcast with Ginny Thornburgh, Director of the Interfaith Initiative, discussing the importance of the 'Statement of Solidarity' for people with disabilities.
"Autism and Alleluias reminded me of my journey as parent of a child with a disability and how all consuming it was. In my Friendship program, an inclusive Bible Study for people with intellectual disabilities, I know several parents who have walked the same journey as Kathy and will be encouraged by reading this book. I plan to pass it on to them, hoping and praying it will encourage them in their spiritual journey." Nella Uitvlugt, Executive Director, Friendship Ministries
"Kathleen is very open and honest about some of her struggles in this book. That is refreshing and is to be commended. I appreciated each prayer at the end of the chapter. Most importantly, I appreciated her teachable spirit when it came to living with her son and meeting his needs. I would recommend any of Kathleen's books to a family who is just setting out on their own path with autism or those who have been waling that path for some time."Christian Book Notes
"[This book] would give someone who isn't very experienced about life with a child with autism many insights into the challenges that parents and families face." Jeff McNair, Disabled Christianity blog
"This book was likely written for those who are autistic or have a loved one with autism. Yet as a woman who does not fit in either category, I found myself moved again and again by these poems and stories." Annie A. Lockhart, YouthWorker Journal, May 26, 2010
"Readers caring for a loved one with autism or other developmental disability will find much to identify with in Bolduc's engaging and thoughtful stories and the prayers that follow each one.""Connections" newsletter, Anabaptist Disabilities Network
"Kathy's story is deeply rooted in her Presbyterian faith, but her message - the importance of valuing, honoring, and enjoying the unexpected gifts of children with special needs - is universal. I laughed, cried and related (as someone who works with children who have autism on a daily basis) while reading." Rachel Rambach, MM, MT-BC, Board-Certified Music Therapist
"For those who share Bolduc's Christian faith, Autism & Alleluias will be a great source of reflection, perspective, and comfort. Those who don't may still enjoy the short slice-of-life stories that run between the opening verse and closing prayer in each several-page chapter. As most parents learn as we raise our children with special needs, inspiration can come from all sorts of sources, and you wouldn't want to turn any of it down." Terri Maura, About.com: Special Needs Children
"This book provides a glimpse of the precious love God holds for children with special needs, and for those who care for them" Kelly Langston, author of Autism's Hidden Blessings
"This handheld, personal treasure is a godsend of hopeful, gutsy true grit that lets me know I am still not alone on this road through adolescent autism to glory. My copy is already circled, starred, underlined and dogeared. I don't think there has ever been a book that scratched so many of my itches." as reviewed on Autism Unplugged
"Autism and Alleluias by Kathleen Deyer Bolduc is one of those rare gems that spoke to my heart, made me laugh, made me cry, and showed me that someone does, indeed, understand." as reviewed on Heritage Homestead and Homeschool Academy blog
"This book is not inspirational in the conventional sense that the Bolduc family's faith yields to Joel's healing or over the top miraculous deeds. It is inspirational in that in times of struggle or fear, moments of beauty and clarity appear (perhaps little mini miracles), often from Joel himself." from All Things Possible
"Never before have I read a book that so reached the depths of my heart and mirrored my sorrows and joys with such eloquent expressions. In some divine way, I experienced a kind of emotional healing in my heart as I read the stories, poems, and authentic prayers [Kathy] offered out of the depths of her despair that turned to inspiration." Cheri Blair, as reviewed in her column "Perspectives of a Christian Mom," Metro Family Magazine
"If asked for a suggestion for a book to use for a parents' support group, I would suggest Autism & Alleluias. Autism & Alleluias will encourage parents of children with disabilities, help parents without children with disabilities know what the experience is like, and help people who work with them have better insights." Jim Pierson, CCFH Ministries
"Each chapter and poem have become like little drops of peace in my day. It's not that Kathleen is peace personified, or has all of the answers. She doesn't. But she does seem to have an incredible way of finding the right perspective and communicating with God through the difficulties of daily life." from Muse Mama blog
"While written from the Christian perspective, parents of children with special needs labels of all faiths will find the book helpful in reminding us there are always alleluias or blessings in every difficult moment of parenting a child with a label, if we expect them." from "Broken Alleluias," on the blog Embracing the Spirit of the Child
"An honest and candid glimpse at life with an autistic child, Autism & Alleluias is not a run-of-the-mill 'woe-is-me' saga. Bolduc bravely exposes her deepest fears and feelings, disappointments and delights. Readers with autistic children of any age will identify immediately with her stories, as well as the heartfelt prayers that close each chapter." CBA Retailers + Resources, March 2010
"As I went through Autism & Alleluias, I was able to see how despite differences in spiritual beliefs, autism parents are more alike than unalike. We all love our kids. We all struggle. We all shine brilliantly sometimes." from Full Soul Ahead
"Kathy Deyer Bolduc offers a moving and inspiring account of life with Joel. She is courageous and honest in sharing the love and anger provoked by life with an autistic son. Kathy shares with us the reality of Joel's surprising giftedness and her reliance upon the love of Jesus for her and for Joel." Jean Vanier, founder, L'Arche Communities
"I was deeply moved by Kathleen Deyer Bolduc's book about her journey with Joel, her son. Most autism resources are either clinical in nature, or deceptively upbeat and sugary sweet. While Kathy acknowledges 'slogging through the wet cement' of her days, her extraordinary book is about valuing, honoring, and enjoying the unexpected gifts of her son." Ginny Thornburgh, Program Director, Interfaith Initiative, American Association of People with Disabilities
"I work at a kiosk at the mall as a seasonal employee and took the book to read on my down times. I had to put it away because every chapter would make me cry, it hits so close to home. I am enjoying the book immensely." Nancy Bernotaitis
"This is a moving and inspiring account of a precious life that uplifts the reader and draws her/him closer to the source of Mrs. Bolduc's strength, her Lord and Savior." Christian Library Journal, December 2010 (Rated 5 out of 5 stars: "Excellent Well written, among the very best")
"Autism & Alleluias is a tremendous book. For those desiring to better understand the family life of those with autism, Autism & Alleluias is an excellent book. Those with a new diagnosis will be encouraged as they consider that God has His hand on their child. As you read these pages, you will be refreshed and renewed. This is a journey that includes beautiful blessings, with mountains and molehills along the way." The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, September 2010
"The thing I appreciate most about Kathy's book is the way she lets us into her life. She does not add a high-gloss sheen to her story. Her candor draws the reader in, especially those who walk in a similar path." as reviewed on the Many Hats Mommy blog
"Kathy is a guiding light to us in how to walk through this world with faith that God's peace and blessings do endure despite life's struggles and challenges. Parents and caregivers will find a spiritual connection and divine treasures in reading Autism and Alleluias." Jackie Marquette, educator, author, and parent of adult son with autism
"Grounded by her faith, Kathy Bolduc engages important matters all too often avoided -- from accepting Joel's distinctly un-Presbyterian worship style to appreciating his sexual identity as a young man. It's a candid book about a Christian response to those devalued by the larger world. Belonging is rooted in listening and understanding; it's not about "fixing," or finding a missing piece of the puzzle." Milton Tyree, Consultant, Presbyterians for Disability Concerns
"Kathy Bolduc masterfully weaves together her stories of living life with her son Joel while holding the hand of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The challenges, joys, and learning that have filled her life because of Joel's presence are artfully presented in a way that will inform and encourage the reader. I see this book not only as a valuable resource for family members living with autism, but a necessary part of our church libraries as we all learn to better understand and include our brothers and sisters in Christ." Barbara J. Newman, CLC Network church consultant, and author of Autism and Your Church
"Story by story, Kathy Bolduc leads us through the plunging despair and soaring joy that will resonate with others who have the awesome responsibility of raising a child with significant developmental challenges. Her stories, interspersed with prayers and poems, are instructive at a deep level. She does not presume to provide recipes for conquering the constant challenges of daily life. Instead, she provides us with her deeply personal journal as a mother of a son with autism. We learn, with her, that by drawing on the deep wellsprings of faith, laments transform to alleluias." Diana Garland, Ph.D., Dean, Baylor School of Social Work
"Kathy Bolduc invites us into the concrete, messy, detailed, and often colorful experiences of life with Joel, her son with autism. She shares her stories, and then lets us see the ways her questions, faith, hopes, and, finally, love, left her open to finding and seeing God in the places, events, and relationships where she, and we the readers, might least expect."Bill Gaventa, MDiv, Editor, Journal of Religion, Disability and Health
Kathleen Deyer Bolduc is a nationally recognized author and speaker in the field of disability ministry. The mother of a young adult son with autism and moderate intellectual disability, she has shared her inspiring story in His Name is Joel: Searching for God in a Son's Disability (1999), A Place Called Acceptance: Ministry with Families of Children with Disabilities (2001), and Autism & Alleluias(2010).
If you are interested in having Kathy speak to your church or organization, visit her website at www.kathleenbolduc.com
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