I received this book from Goodreads' First Reads in exchange for an honest review.
Overall, this book was a very informative case study of a mother retelling her daughter's treatment for Autism, dyslexia, and ADD using Energy Medicine. As a person with a B.A. in Psychology who works with children on the Autism spectrum by utilizing Applied Behavioral Analysis, I would like to see more research done in regards to treating autism with Energy Medicine before it is considered the end-all-be-all treatment for Autism. I have no doubt that the treatment worked for Sarah, but still feel that hard evidence is needed across cases to determine the effectiveness and specific applications of the treatment.
I liked the explanations Evans gives for how certain foods affect children on the autism spectrum, especially in regards to gluten and casein. This was very informative and well done.
As far as the writing goes, some point gets a little dull as Evans recounts the first 50-ish treatments and symptoms in detail, which gets a little boring, but is very informative.
Now I'm going to rant a little. Most of the things I disliked about this book related to the author's view of autism. Evans refers to it as a "disease" and an "illness", which sets the stage for very negative views of autism. The author views it as something that needs to be "cured", which is problematic because it suggests there is something wrong with individuals on the autism spectrum and that they need to be "fixed". An offensive stance that makes sense given the fact that the author views autism as a digestive issue rather than neurological. I just could not get over this point every times she used the phrase "these special children". Furthermore, since Sarah is now a successful 20-something, I think it would have been beneficial to hear her voice at some point in the text.
I was also confused regarding Sarah's diagnosis. Evans says Sarah had hallucinations, which is not a symptom of autism (although Evans states multiple times that it is). She also says Sarah has "obsessive compulsive behaviors", but never elaborates so I'm not sure if Sarah also had diagnosable OCD or if Evans was basing these observation off of stereotypes of what OCD is.
Also Evans' explanations of the downsides of the treatment are not well developed, adding some bias to the text. She admits Sarah needed about 200 treatments at $50 a treatment plus $200 worth of supplements a month and all organic food during the food elimination and treatment phases. So, if my math is correct, that's a lot of money. While Evans admits this fact, she glosses over it quickly with no sympathy, suggesting if you love your child, then you will pay it. Truth is, some people really cannot afford that kind of treatment. I wish Evans' narrative was a little more sensitive to such families.
Another drawback that is not addressed at all is food tolerance. Evans talks about food elimination to prepare for the Energy Medicine treatments. Yet most of the children I have worked with have severe issues with food. Most of my cases have had to specifically work on expanding the children's diets, some children eating less than ten foods. Evans was lucky that Sarah seems a very compliant and tolerant eater (she's eating anchovies and swordfish, for crying out loud). Also, Evans notes how awful some of the supplements taste. Sarah is fine with it, but many children on the spectrum would have a difficult time with this (as would many neurological children). Evans does not suggest any ways to counteract these tolerance issues, which can be a huge battle for families with children on the spectrum. I think it is an important hole missing in the text, especially since Evans seems to be so against behavior modification, which would help in this area.
So overall, this is an informative book about one child getting treatment using Energy Medicine. It is an important book that will hopefully help to spark more research on this technique in regards to treating autism. While the author's view of autism is offensive and misguided, she obviously loves her daughter very much and I am glad she was able to connect with her. The book is a little dull, but easy to understand. Some big issues are left unaddressed, but it is a good starting point.