I Am Me needed to be written. And it needs to be read by anyone trying to deal creatively with a family member or friend who is on the autism spectrum. I can think of dozens of families in the various churches I served over the last 55 years who would have benefited greatly from this resource. Dr. Ringler tells the story of her family’s journey with her autistic son in a compelling yet compassionate and loving way. In so doing she shares insights which will be helpful to anyone on a similar journey.
Dr. Donald E. Inlay
Former consultant to the United Nations in World Population; former Instructor in Evangelism, Northwest House of Theological Studies, Salem, Oregon
With the determination of a scientist and the finesse of an artist, Dr. Ringler simultaneously updates the reader on the state of research in autism expertly interwoven with a biography of her son from a mother’s point of view. Marlene has gifted the autism community with a guide that will be useful to parents and others wishing to understand autism from the autism community at large as well providing supports for an individual on the autism spectrum through the lifespan. Marlene shows us that parents are the experts on their children, and, commonality of being human that includes us all.
Stephen Mark Shore, Ed.D.
Internationally known educator, author, presenter, and individual on the autism spectrum
Dr. Ringler combines personal experience–experience of the most intimate kind–with wide ranging technical and professional knowledge. Readers will be touched by her story, and enriched by her knowledge. This personal narrative is accompanied by news of the latest research on Autism Spectrum emerging adults, embedded in humor touched with a light handed melancholy.
There is a political dimension to this tale as well: what should our society be doing to bring out the most creative potential in these wonderful people. What is the right thing to do for their families? Marlene Ringler’s story includes ideas about actions that are practical and ultimately nourishing to our sometimes aimless educational programs. Professionals in the field will want to read this book; and families touched by these circumstances will find solace and recommendations for action.
Rabbi William Cutter, PhD
Professor of Human Relations; Director Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health; Professor of Education and Hebrew Literature, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; Editor and Contributor MIDRASH & MEDICINE – Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition
What a wonderful book! It represents such a huge amount of research and soul searching around the topic of autism spectrum disorders including Asperger Disorder as well as your own roller coaster of learning and experiences as your son has grown up. It is so heartening to hear that the despair you experienced at so many points in your journey with your son has led to a more settled current life for you and him at present.
There are many parents and professionals who can benefit from your experience and your thinking around the many dilemmas parents face in making life decisions for and with their loved ones living with some degree of autism. Having got to know Dr Lorna Wing during several days of learning from her a few years before she died, I believe she would agree with me that this book will be very welcomed by people searching for help in supporting the adolescents and adults in their lives who are facing similar challenges.
Congratulations on a great book.
S.Wendy Roberts, MD, FRCPC
Developmental Pediatrician, Professor Emeriti, University of Toronto, Clinical Director, ISAND Integrated Services for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Dr. Marlene Ringler’s narrative of raising her son with high functioning autism, spanning his infancy until middle age, is a unique, bracingly honest and fascinating piece of writing. Unlike most other books written by mothers of children on the autism spectrum, Dr. Ringler does not focus on her son’s childhood alone and stop there, but instead asks tough, profound questions about what will happen to him as he approaches old age. In addition to describing her own individual journey, she provides the reader with invaluable guidance, for she is a meticulous and experienced researcher with a solid academic background.
Dr. Ringler takes an honest and comprehensive look at erroneous and unjust societal attitudes, legislation and institutions in need of reform, as she navigates through the history of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with a particular emphasis on aging. A gripping and highly enjoyable must-read for anyone who has a child (either young or old), sibling, relative, student, or patient, who has been diagnosed on the spectrum.
Hadas Marcus, M.A.
Instructor of English for Academic Purposes, Tel Aviv University, Associate Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics
Dr. Marlene Ringler presents an excellent guide for mental health professionals, educators and anyone interested in deepening their understanding of an autism spectrum disorder. In addition, this is a must-read for families facing the challenges of a child with special needs. I Am Me includes a comprehensive survey of the latest research and thinking related to autism as well as a revealing personal account of Dr. Ringler and her family.
She details the journey of advocacy, support and unconditional love as the family faces an autism spectrum diagnosis. The details about crafting a life for her son, a happy, productive, semi-independent adult are touching to read and a testimony to the commitment of one family to the promise of a better future for a child affected by autism. I Am Me is highly recommended for anyone who interacts with adults with an autism spectrum diagnosis.
Dr. Norman Enteen
National Director, Psychological and Counseling Services, Emeritus, Ministry of Education, Israel
Every mother who has a child on the spectrum has an Ah hah! Moment when it becomes clear that there is a unifying theory which explains why her child is different. For Marlene Ringler that moment occurred when her child was already an adult. Dr Ringler then set out to educate herself about Autistic Spectrum Disorder. She negotiated the change in classification and nomenclature and learned the neurological and psychological underpinning of this unique disorder. She became adept at navigating the various governmental, psychological, medical and educational systems in order to enable her son to achieve his potential. I Am Me, a labor of love, describes her odyssey. It is an excellent read.
Harvey Bennett, MD
Visiting Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Bar Ilan University, Safed Israel; Clinical Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Child Neurologist, Goryeb Children’s Hospital, Morristown Medical Center
I found this book very moving especially the personal parts describing Dr. Ringler’s experience and feelings about her son as he was growing up and also now that he is an adult, accepting him for who he is while at the same time, understanding that he has his specific needs which will require ongoing support from his family and community. I highly recommend I Am Me to parents with children and adults with autistic spectrum disorders, particularly intellectually high functioning individuals. I Am Me also contains a very readable and clear discussion of the history of autism and the current theories of the etiologies.
Peggy Lewin, MD
Developmental Pediatrician, Jerusalem, Israel
Marlene Ringler’s I Am Me presents both the inspiring story about a family coming to terms with an autism diagnosis and a well documented and researched professional overview of Asperger Syndrome and high functioning autism. Facing the challenges of dealing with authorities and service care providers, Dr. Ringler tells the often untold real life story of what it feels like to struggle against odds to support her son.
For me as a professional dealing with the challenges of adults on the spectrum, one of the most important aspects of her readable book is her call to consider and plan for the future of the aging autistic population once the parents and care givers are no longer around. I recommend I Am Me to anyone dealing with an autism diagnosis including family members and professionals. In addition, it would serve as a useful tool for policy and decision makers working to strengthen their support for the adult autistic population.
Arie Syvan, CEO
Asperger and High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder Organization of Israel
This is an exceptional book, blending scientific theory and fact with the moving personal experience of a mother who has raised a child—now adult—diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. It is a “must read” for other parents facing this difficult situation.
Irving Kirsch, PhD
Associate Director, Program in Placebo Studies, Harvard Medical School; Professor Emeritus of Psychology; Author, The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth
Dr. Marlene Ringler and her son and family’s odyssey in dealing with autism is a story of love, compassion, patience, and resourcefulness told through a mother’s voice. I Am Me is a story of courage and, in no small way, heroism as she intertwines research on the autism spectrum with their decades long personal journey. It is a story of organizations and professionals that hinder or mislead as well as those that do help as her son ages from childhood to his 40’s. It is also a story of how to think and create out of the box and never give up. Most of all it underlines two very important and critical actions at the heart of dealing with adversity: love and persistence. I Am Me is a must-read book.
Carol F. Edelman, PhD
Emeriti Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, California State University