21 December 2017 – Ali Beasley lives in Nelson, New Zealand, with her husband Keith and their two teenage children, George and Emilia.
Hear Ali Beasley talk about parenting and family life with a special needs child
Part 1 and Part 2
A diagnosis of autism when Emilia was seven had a profound impact on the whole family, which Ali explores in this honest, intimate work.
Emilia’s Colours shares the highs and lows of living with a child with a major disability in words that are frank, touching and ultimately hopeful.
From her initial feelings of shock and grief, Ali gradually learns to develop resilience as she comes to accept and even embrace her daughter’s condition.
Through caring for Emilia, she discovers the importance of looking after herself as a parent, and restorative yoga becomes her ‘go-to’ place for inner healing.
The book’s opening chapters consider the many and varied challenges that Emilia faces, including stress, anxiety, anger and communication difficulties. Ali describes the hard reality for parents trying to cope with these challenges, which have an enormous impact on family relationships and activities, and childhood friendships.
She goes on to look at the ways she and Keith have learned to seek and find support on a parenting journey that began without a map—and at the gifts autism has provided them, by teaching values such as patience, gratitude, courage, compassion and humour.
Emilia’s Colours concludes with personal impressions by close family and friends of what Emilia means to them, and the effect she has had on their own lives.
Throughout the pages, heart-warming photographs capture Emilia in all her colours, together with the people who love and care for her most.
In writing her personal story, Ali hopes to support other parents who may be struggling to cope with the volatile, unpredictable nature of life with an autistic child.
She also aims to raise awareness and a better understanding of this ‘invisible’ disability among those who may not have encountered autism first-hand.
- Reviewed by Bev Sellers, an editor and professional writer.
Win: We have a copy of Emilia’s Colours, The Gift of Autism to give away to a lucky reader.
Congratulations to: Jodie Hickey-Smith (Porirua), Linda Stowers (Auckland) and Dorothy van den Hoven (Tauranga) who each won a copy of The Parents’ Practical Guide to Resilience for Children aged 2-10 on the Autism Spectrum.
This article first appeared in the Altogether Autism Journal Issue 1, 2018.