|I Love You Because I Love You Book by Sharon Joyce and Hector Martin Valdez published by Ukiyoto|
Living with a family member with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may be difficult. If you’re a parent, discovering that something (a special condition) may stand in the way of your child’s success can be unsettling and difficult. I have met people who feel differently about their special children—those who feel angry, ashamed or embarrassed—who treat their special kids as if they were a curse or a burden to the family.
So each time I would encounter parents with kids with special needs such as autism and seeing their child healthy, thriving, coping, and even excelling in mainstream or special school, it made me feel happy as prayers are being answered. Special kids in my own opinion are differently wired, they may be psychologically challenged but they had geniuses as well. It is true, it takes a village to raise a child, more so if he is a special one. But with an excellent caring environment, a loving family to support them, and kind and understanding people—they can live as normal as possible. The book I Love You Because I Love You showed how parents of an autistic child became a steady force in their corner, the wind beneath their child’s wings—how their invaluable support made their child with ASD strive for excellence.
Sharon Joyce Valdez is a licensed professional teacher, digital content creator/blogger, entrepreneur and a Master of Arts in Special Education candidate. Her husband, Hector Martin Valdez is also a licensed professional teacher and has been teaching professionally in the past 20 years. In this book called “I Love You Because I Love You” [The Story of Love and Creative Perspective On Parenting A Child With Autism], published by Ukiyoto in 2021, the loving Valdez couple has put their personal experiences, writing, and research skills to excellent use, providing us with a comprehensive and progressive account of parenting an autistic child. I highly recommend the book (It is a must-read!) for any parents struggling to understand and support their child following an autism diagnosis.
I have known one of the authors, Sharon Joyce, whom I call SJ since 2018 because we were both part of the group behind the now-defunct lifestyle-magazine website called Psst.ph. But although I personally know her and consider her as my friend, I know very little about her family until I was able to read this book which she co-authors with her husband Hector.
|L-R: Purple Plum Fairy, fellow digital content writer Berlin Maynigo and author Sharon Joyce Valdez|
|A book dedication from book authors Hector and Sharon Valdez|
The book also takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the practical issues a parent may have to confront: mental health, support in education, playdates, and holidays. The couple had shown that it is indeed possible to “create an autism friendly home.” Sharon as mom, discussed sleep, eating and other habits of their son with ASD, in each case giving clear and practical advice. Her writing is enriched by frequent evidence of her own doubts as a parent—it’s comforting as a reader because I’m also able to relate well with the situation if I were in her shoes. The Valdezes don’t have all the answers but both have found real strength as parents as shown in the book.
|I Love YOu Because I Love You is a must-read for parents with autism child|
Hector and Sharon don’t just cite from academic papers alone, but they also shared their own personal experiences which clearly and effectively engages their readers. I couldn’t imagine someone eating chicken barbecue for years because it was the only viand that their Bunso wanted to eat. Or during that time when words such as libot, surprise, pasalubong were totally banned in their house. Then, there’s also a chapter that deals with sensory differences, reflecting the fact that these have a profound impact on daily life though they have been under-recognized in academic theory. Likewise, the Valdez couple covers the experience of having an autistic child which has a lot of practical information to offer to any parent of a young autistic child, and could also be very useful to any practitioners who work closely with families.
The book necessarily focused on the early years of their son Bunso. It doesn’t cover issues that arise later, such as puberty, transition to secondary school, and the more general challenges of adolescence. So parents of older children might not be right for this book.
Final verdict: I really enjoyed reading this book. Sharon and Hector have an open and chatty style that is extremely easy to read. In fact, it felt like I was part of the Valdez home already after finishing the book. The book is littered with the couple’s personal reflections, as well as accounts from other parents and educators with experience in autism. They frequently provided lists of practical tips, while also drawing on research evidence effectively. All in all, the book I Love You Because I Love You published by Ukiyoto is a great read for parents of autistic children and even those who’d just like to understand autism as a whole. It is a book that educates and problem-solves, but best of all, it also uplifts and inspires any reader.
The book is as candid and honest as possible. It is written in layman’s terms and provides relevant analogies. It is by no means a complete guide for early intervention—just as every child with autism is different, every treatment plan for autism is different. But it should be used to acquire knowledge, particularly if your child manifests real, validated medical symptoms. The Valdezes has proven that armed with the right information, parents can have an open and honest dialogue with a knowledgeable health care provider—one that is qualified and supports independent research—knowledge is power, it is with this knowledge that hope is derived. This book provides real success stories of things that did make a difference in the world of autistic children through both Sharon and Hector. It is these success stories that provide the HOPE that every parent with autism is searching for.
Many parents experience this very feeling of loss and confusion about the future after realizing their child had autism. While it is true that nowhere in this book promises cure, there is mention of “recovery” and proper treatment plan. Every parent must decide what is best for their child. This is a private and individual decision. Hector and Sharon have provided a “guide” for consideration that MAY make a difference in your child’s life as it did to their Bunso. I highly recommend this book as you will walk away with more knowledge. It is with this transformation that you can start putting the pieces of a puzzle together for your child’s behavioral, neurological and biological health so he can somehow learn to be independent and to grow a happier kid.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.