Autism Uncensored is a transparent account of the life of Whitney Ellenby, a lawyer by trade, mother by choice, advocate too many, a hero to Zack and ambassador to autism. Whitney and her husband, Keith, were blessed with a beautiful boy, Zack, early in their marriage. Shortly before Zack’s second birthday, he was diagnosed with Autism. Whitney gives insight into the life of Zack, before the diagnosis, when she knew he was not develop- ing typically. She recounts the grueling multidisciplinary evalua- tion that ultimately led to Zack’s diagnosis and the raw emotions that quickly followed. Whitney opens the door to her home and exposes the inner walls of the life of a child with autism and the effects it has on the entire family unit. Details of the countless hours of therapy Zack endured, the ever-changing, sometimes extremely violent behaviors Zack displayed, and the daring at- tempts to leave the comfort of their own home are shared with readers, not to frighten them, but to provide insight into such a mysterious condition that is becoming more and more prevalent in our communities today.
In the eyes of Zack, his mother is his superhero but was often the target of his violent outbursts. These outbursts were in no way premeditated or were they intended to harm anyone. Whitney’s perseverance during these trials and keen observa- tions to Zack’s behavior resulted in a non-traditional attempt to overcome the anxiety that was the root of all of Zack’s meltdowns. She brilliantly shares how she went with her gut and used a strat- egy that ultimately was a success in bringing down the many, many walls that surround a child with autism often preventing them from functioning in our societies.
The book is, at times, difficult to read, but even through the darkest chapters, the underlying love that is present between a mother and a child is what, I believe, Whitney wants all readers to feel. She is a mother, and she does what most mothers do, she loves! Whitney has taken the knowledge she has gained from her own personal experiences and is giving back to the autism community. Autism Uncensored ends with the story behind her priceless gift back to others in the form of service. Yes, not only was the curtain pulled back for Zack but read the book, and you will get the curtain pulled back for you as well!
Review by Allison C. Herrin, Owner of The Speech Clinic with offices in Waycross, Brunswick and Jesup.