Anne K. Ross is the pen name for an award-winning writer and school psychologist with three decades of experience working in public schools in Northern California. Her latest book, Beyond Rainman, has been endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors on autism-related topics including Temple Grandin, Graeme Simsion, and Tony Attwood, Ph.D. Anne lets the reader take a peek behind her professional side on a more personal journey about her own family’s autism experience.
Tell us about your book, “Beyond Rain Man.”
Although one child in 68 is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, as a psychologist I was stunned when I learned that my son had Asperger’s Syndrome. The diagnosis propelled me more deeply into my life’s work with children on the spectrum. The book covers my compelling and lyrical story of raising—and launching—my son as one of anguish as well as joy. What I learned along the way will hopefully help other families who are living this perplexing, remarkable, and humbling journey of parenthood.
What inspired you to write it?
I want to share our family’s journey through some tumultuous years in order to comfort other families who are going through tough times raising their kids. It’s also a story with humor and joy, and I wanted to share that, too. I am also frustrated as a parent and a professional working in the field by the continued lack of true understanding of the breadth of the spectrum by many professionals practicing now. My hope is that Beyond Rain Man will help educate them about the needs of children whose autism may not be obvious but who still need the correct diagnosis, therapies, and educational plans.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
In addition to the parents and professionals mentioned above, I think Beyond Rain Man is a perfect book for undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of education, special education, social work, psychology, psychiatry, and medicine.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading the book?
The autism spectrum is wide and wonderful. There is community and help for parents who are struggling. We have come a long way and are now beyond the notion that autism looks like the character in the movie, Rain Man. People with autism are positively contributing to the world in many ways every day.
Do you have moving fan feedback you’d like to share?
This Amazon review makes me happy: “Beyond Rain Main was a page-turner for me as a special educator and a parent to a child with emotional challenges. I could relate to Anne K. Ross’s trials and tribulations, both at home and at her job as a psychologist. This book shines a light on students at the ‘high functioning’ end of the autism spectrum, who are often overlooked and/or misdiagnosed. Beyond Rain Man will be enlightening reading for parents of children with compromised coping skills, who often feel isolated and hopeless. Educators working in the field of special education will also benefit from this insightful and thoughtful book. Beyond Rain Man should be on the required reading list for graduate students learning to diagnose and work with students on the spectrum. Highly recommended!”
When parents tell me they stayed up way too late to read Beyond Rain Man because they couldn’t put it down, I’m satisfied. I’ve found my people!
If our readers leave with only one message after reading this interview, what would you like it to be?
Beyond Rain Man will bring comfort and important information to parents and will educate professionals so that kids with autism will get what they need in school and in the community.