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Family & Relationships Autism Spectrum Disorders

Giaci and Me

A Mother's Journey of Loving and Raising an Autistic Child

by (author) Rita Miceli

Pownal Street Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2024
Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2024
    List Price

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With more than a half-million global followers on TikTok, Rita Miceli’s young adult son Giaci and his sisters are making a big impact. ​Surrounded by the unconditional love of his family, Giaci invites his fans to be privy to the rich tapestry of the life he leads, sharing everyday activities including housekeeping, finances, and the emotional health of his parents and siblings. In Giaci and Me, author and mother Rita Miceli shares her story to help parents of autistic children be inspired, feel better, and continue their journey knowing they are not alone.
A narrative of Rita’s innermost thoughts, realizations, and fears, this memoir of perseverance serves as a much-needed resource for caregivers and family members of people with autism. Rita wished for such a book at the beginning of her own journey as a mother of a child with autism, and now she offers to her readers a comprehensive framework that spans decades. From the early days of diagnosis through to the unusual, the exciting, and the uplifting, Giaci and Me shares an empathetic and compassionate perspective that can lead to better support for families living with autism.

About the author

Contributor Notes

A life-long educator of autism and a long-time advocate for autism awareness, Rita Miceli is a contributor in the international bestselling book Ambitious Women Rise : The Amazing Stories of Women Overcoming Obstacles and Creating the Life of Their Dreams . As an educator for over three decades, Miceli teaches in the Autism and Behavioral Science Graduate Program at St. Clair College. She and her family have beenfeatured in The Drive Magazine, on CTV news and on CBC National News, and Rita is the past president of Autism Ontario (Windsor/Essex Chapter). Miceli has published works on multiple platforms related to the topics of special needs and autism, including A Call to Action (Autism Matters) and Words that Connect Us (Canadian Authors Association). Rita lives in Windsor, Ontario, with the love of her life, John, and is the proud mother ofthree daughters and her autistic son. Rita Miceli won the Best New Canadian Manuscript award from the Word Guild for her manuscript entitled, Giaci and Me: Life Lessons on Raising an Autistic Child . Rita's short story called "Going to the Dance" has been published on Spillwords Press.

Editorial Reviews

“An emotionally charged journey through the peaks and valleys of parenting a child with autism. This raw and authentic narrative captures the struggles, heartbreaks and victories; highlighting the profound power of family love, community and acceptance.” Lynn McLaughlin, Educator, entrepreneur, podcast host and award-winning author

“Rita’s eventual reconciliation with herself, and her acceptance of autism, while still ensuring her (now grown) son’s abilities are maximized, can serve as a guide and a balm for other mothers (in particular), currently struggling with a child’s recent autism diagnosis. With the benefit of hindsight Rita is able to provide both perspective and guidance for families, not in “overcoming” autism, but in being able to live “with” autism and find joy.” Elizabeth M. Starr, Ph.D. Professor Emerita, Faculty of Education, University of Windsor

“A devoted mother who has worked hard to teach her autistic son many skills, Rita Miceli’s autistic son now lives a full life with a job he really likes. Through her practice of tolerance and patience, Rita teaches us that autism cannot be cured, but it can be worked with.” Temple Grandin, Distinguished Professor and Author of Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism

“A mother always knows when something isn’t right with their child. It is like an alarm ringing loudly in the core of their being. Rita recounts her journey in perfect detail, in her page turning narrative with courage and perseverance. This book is a first of its kind and a MUST READ for all autism families dealing with acceptance, spirituality, cultural dynamics and love of family.” Karen Simmons, CEO Founder of Autism Today Foundation, Author and mother of 7, two on the spectrum

Giaci and Me is a beautiful book that narrates a family’s many challenges to obtain proper treatments for Autism in the 1990’s Ontario. It is a highly readable story that makes us drink in the book’s chapters like glasses of fresh rejuvenating and surprising waters. Their search for effective treatments reads like a detective story, starting with Bettelheim’s blaming of “ice mothers” and Rimland’s anti-vaccine “biomedical’ confabulations. It makes you literally cry of happiness for unexpected triumphs and grabs your heart with fears of personal setbacks or lost opportunities. You cannot put the book down, eagerly waiting for the next resolution, the next victory, or the next battle loss. Will the newest intervention be a fad or a crash? The book reviews some of the many tips, tricks and schemes developed and used by parents to disguise foods rejected by their children’s unsurmountable autistic selectivity. It documents the slow rise of behaviour treatments, like starting with miniscule presentations of rejected activities, specific foods, baths, haircuts, and the gradual acceptance of necessary changes. It also speaks of the Ontario government’s false moves, or falsehoods, e.g., cancelling treatments for children who became older than 5 yrs. of age. On the positive side, the provincial government’s acceptance, and support of behaviour- based treatment was arrived at after a multi-year battle with the parents of children diagnosed with Autism. Finally, the book addresses the importance of parental counselling, support, and assistance to accept that Autism is not something that our children have or get like a headache or a cold; it is something that they are. I highly recommend Giaci and Me, it is a wonderful read! Congratulations to its author Rita Miceli!" Dr Francisco J Barrera, C. Psych., BCBA-D


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