A friend’s book launch (23.04.2018)
On Saturday night, a friend of mine launched a book. That’s not something I’ve been able to say before! There was a book launch party, with balloons, celebration, and speeches. It was also a fundraiser for a school for children with special needs. And Sazini did a reading from her book. I don’t want to write about the balloons, though, I want to write about the book!
But first a bit about the author. She has dedicated her life to helping families with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); to helping parents move past the diagnosis, to help them focus on the beautiful child within that spectrum. Her name is Sazini Nzula. She has a doctorate (PhD) in medical microbiology, and works at McGill University, within the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. And as a second career, she’s become an expert on ASD.
When she started doing more work with parents – with families – trying to adapt to a diagnosis of ASD, she changed her approach from “Dr. Nzula” to the much less intimidating “Dr. Sazini”. Sazini put her heart into writing this book, about taking a positive approach to parenting children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to help the families she can’t reach one-on-one. She knows first-hand how difficult such a diagnosis can be; in terms of uncertainty, conflicting suggestions, and even the time it takes to get any assistance. She knows this first hand because she experienced it herself; she & her husband have two children, both of whom have been diagnosed with ASD.
So it might surprise you to hear that both of her sons were at the book launch; despite the balloons, crowd, lights, and noise. This was possible because of what she writes about. Her positive approach to parenting covers more than staying positive, it’s the process of imagining the best life that a family can have – the best for that family – while fully including an individual with ASD. In some ways it’s about not giving up on a child, on a person, simply because of a diagnosis.
Her book isn’t on her experiences as a parent of children with ASD, it’s a much broader approach. Sazini has been involved with preschools and schools for children with ASD and other special needs, and has advocated for better services and support for families of these children. She became a certified Qigong Sensory Treatment (QST) therapist, because this treatment has shown some potential benefit for children with ASD.
She has also spoken out on the topic of how different cultures view ASD; sometimes even as a curse or witchcraft. Her course “Calm Autism Parenting Coaching” is
available on-line, and Sazini also gives motivational “Embrace the Challenges” presentations for parents of children with special needs. She has always focused on seeing past the diagnosis – to seeing the child within the diagnosis. To help children with ASD – or any special needs – to attain as many goals as possible; developmental, educational, and social.
Over the past few years, “Dr. Sazini” has been published in magazines ranging from Autism Parenting Magazine to Break the Parenting Mold to The Mighty. Her interviews have appeared in shows from the Breakfast Television (BT TV) network, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CJAD Radio, Global Television Network, and other media (radio and television) outlets. See “A friend’s TV interview!” for links to some of Sazini’s interviews and articles.
I’ve already read “Beautiful Inside and Out”, and highly recommend it. Not only for parents and loved ones of individuals who function within the autism spectrum, but for anyone facing a difficult diagnosis. Much of what Dr. Sazini writes about also applied to me; for example the turmoil I experienced when I was diagnosed with a rare neuro-inflammatory disease.
So it’s really a book about challenges. About not only accepting them, but also about tackling them head on. Of doing more than what’s expected, of not limiting oneself to the predictably low expectations of others – including educational and healthcare professionals.
Dr. Sazini’s book is about reaching potential despite challenges, whatever that potential – or the challenges – may be for any given individual. And for that alone, her book is well worth a read: