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Why I Wrote These Books

When I say that my published work spans genres, I'm not kidding. I have been asked "how" my name turns up on an encylopedia of rock & roll, "serious" books about subjects like divorce, celebrity autobios, books on paranormal phenomena and--autism. More than once, the parent of a child I've treated or a professional colleague has said something like, "So, I looked you up online, and are you the same Patricia Romanowski who wrote [fill in the blank]?"  Here's how it happened.


When our son was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age six, everything about it and autism spectrum disorders generally was new. When I cowrote the first edition of what was then titled The OASIS Guide to Asperger Syndrome, with Barbara Kirby, I was a full-time journalist and author. Shortly after the diagnosis, I was blessed to find Barb, an amazing mother who, in 1995, when there were literally two papers to be found on the baby internet, created, launched, and grew the Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support site--OASIS. It quickly became the international "town square" for parents, professionals of all stripes, and individuals with the diagnosis. The book we cowrote was not a "mommy memoir" about us. It was instead the book we wished we had had, full of research, facts, insights, and solid information. We even conducted our own surveys of parents and of individuals with AS; we were the first to discover that as people with AS grow older, sensitivity to certain noises tends to become more manageable.


Time rolls on. By the time we finished the first edition, I was fighting a riptide of questions, decisions, and, worry. And going down fast. What was going to happen? What would be better: Option A, or B, or C, or D, or E? Which professional knew what they were talking about? Researching constantly, I tried every alternative intervention out there; 90 percent failed, of course. We were told by someone we trusted early on to "revise our expectations." Desperate to help our son and to master this new universe, I did what any irrational mother would: I stopped my successful writing and cowriting career, got a master's degree in special education specializing in autism, and became an early intervention provider, state-certified teacher, and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. 


The fact is, no one can tell you for sure where your child will be in five, ten, fifteen, twenty years. No one can predict where you will be as a parent, family member, concerned friend, or professional in terms of how you see the autism spectrum and what it all means for that one special child. At first glance, that seems like bad news. But in fact, it's also the good news, because we know that individuals with ASD are nothing if not true individuals, unique in their ideas, their values, and their priorities. The best most of us can do is to learn, to understand, and to keep moving. Every child with an ASD will spend most of their lifetime living as adults--out of school, without the protected free services of an IEP, perhaps beyond watchful eyes. Teaching your child self-help and social skills is every bit as important as making sure they succeed academically. Having the skills and knowledge you need to advocate, even fight, for the interventions, services, therapies, and opportunities that will enrich a child's life is critical. And, if you are a parent, learning to manage the daily routines, the challenging behaviors, and the world of demands this diagnosis seems to impose on everyone whose life it touches is essential.


That's what these two books are about.   

Since 2001, The OASIS Guide has been the reliable, comprehensive, authoritative guide to Asperger syndrome. This fully revised, updated, and expanded edition captures the latest in research, strategies, and parenting wisdom, and delivers it all in the empathetic, practical, and hope-filled style The OASIS Guide is famous for. Author Patricia Romanowski Bashe has revised this edition of Asperger Syndrome to reflect the latest in:


  • Working with Professionals: building a team, negotiating for your child, and keeping everyone's focus on high expectations for academic, social, and emotional success.
  • Special Education: from early intervention through transition, college, and other postsecondary options, including how special education works and steps to take when it does not.
  •  Health and Safety: sexuality education, health care, and insurance coverage, as well as understanding the real-life health and safety risks children with AS face and learning the steps that only parents can take to protect them.
  • Options and Interventions: with an emphasis on established guidelines for evidence-based treatments, including medication, applied behavior analysis, cognitive-behavior therapy, Social Stories, Comic Strip Conversations, and much more.
  • Planning for the Future: Teaching today for independence tomorrow.

For anyone else with a life touched by AS, Asperger Syndrome: The OASIS Guide is packed with resources to handle any situation, from understanding a diagnosis, realistically evaluating options and interventions, and nurturing the whole child with an eye to emotional health, happiness, and independence in school, at home, and among friends. Raising young people with AS to grow up successful, safe, independent, and happy is the goal. Asperger Syndrome: The OASIS Guide is your map.

The definitive resource for teaching kids with Asperger syndrome the life skills that build independence, confidence, and self-esteem.

Children with autism spectrum disorders learn differently. Our kids' choices are too often limited and their paths to success restricted, not by a lack of intellectual ability but by deficits in acquiring, applying, and generalizing basic life skills. Success in school, at home, on the playground, and beyond depends on mastering countless basic living skills that most other kids just "pick up" almost by osmosis.


This book shows parents how to teach these so-called easy skills to complex learners. This is the first book for parents and caregivers of kids with Asperger syndrome and similar learning profiles that features strategies based on applied behavior analysis--the most widely accepted, evidence-based, and effective teaching method for learners with ASDs--including how to:


  • Identify critical skills appropriate for your child's age--how to teach them and why
  • Implement new techniques that can replace, mimic, prompt, override, or impose missing order on your child's learning style
  • Design a curriculum for your child that reduces reliance on prompts (including parents) and promotes new learning, new behaviors, and independence
  • Track your child's success, so you know not only what works but when to fade prompts and supports for independence. You will also learn what kinds of supports might be needed for a longer time and how to use them effectively.
  • Understand how applied behavior analysis (ABA) really works and how using them to teach your child critical independence skills--at any age--can change their lives
  • Analyze, organize, and streamline daily routines--from getting ready for school to lights out--for a happy household and a happy child. 


"Bookstore shelves are lined with tomes on the history, symptomology and manifestations of this puzzling disorder. Concerned parents have appreciated and devoured these books. They now understand the scope and complexity of the syndrome. And they collectively ask, 'Now what?'

"Enter Patricia Romanowski Bashe.

"Patty uses her decades of experience as a parent and professional to design a book that meets the needs of the 'second generation' of parents who understand the disorder . . . and are searching for solutions, ideas, techniques, and strategies. She expands on her groundbreaking classic, The OASIS Guide, by providing parents and caregivers with practical, field-tested advice aimed at teaching kids the basic life skills that will enhance their independence and their ability to face and solve everyday social and interactional problems.

"Patty's new Parents' Guide makes a significant and valuable contribution to our field. It holds an honored spot on the ever-expanding 'Bashe Shelf' in my office. It provides information and inspiration to parents who desperately need both."

—Richard D. Lavoie, M.A., M.Ed., author of It's So Much Work to Be Your Friend