Help Me Understand My Child is a compelling and inspirational journey about a mother who advocated for twelve years for her son who has autism. This story takes you from the beginning of his diagnosis and highlights grades K-12 to a successful graduation from high school with a diploma. Ms. Bracy takes you behind the scenes on what it took to successfully raise her son and how she overcame many obstacles. She presents strategies on how to navigate this complex system of securing services. Additionally, the book includes her husband’s feelings about raising a son with autism and her daughter’s experiences with having a sibling with autism. As a bonus, you will find local, national and international resources in her book.
This book is a unique memoir. It introduces the reader to the world of special needs while providing a fascinating reading experience. This book is of immense value to families who have children or adults with autism, professionals and clinicians in the field and the community at large who have an interest in this population.
Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S. Approximately 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
Available in English and Spanish.
About the Author
Florence Bracy has a passion for supporting the “voiceless children”. She has been advocating for the last twenty-two years for her son Brad who is thirty years old with autism and other families with children who have special needs. Her unyielding commitment to this cause for all children with “no voice” has led to those being heard.
Ms. Bracy has led many workshops for parents and professionals on navigating the world of special needs; working with teachers, connecting with community organizations and teaching about the IEP process. She has presented at both education and community organizations. Nationally, Ms. Bracy has presented to the US Congress House Ways and Means Committee on behalf of business education for youth.
Ms. Bracy facilitates an autism support group for families and caregivers of people with autism in the Los Angeles area.
She worked for thirty years in the corporate and nonprofit arenas in marketing, sales, grant writing and program management.
Her education includes studying at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, California State University at Los Angeles and UCLA. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and is certified in Public Relations, Special Needs Advocacy and Paralegal Studies.
Ms. Bracy currently serves as member of the Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention, a California state-wide group which advises on policy for the developmental disabled. Also, she is a member of the Autism Community Workgroup, a collaboration with the universities, regional centers and community organizations all dedicated to the research of autism and the underlying disparities of delivering services.
She has received Congressional Commendations from the city and county of Los Angeles for her work in the community.
Ms. Bracy lives with her husband, Charles, and her adult son, Brad. She has an adult daughter, Brittany, who is married and has three children. When Florence is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking in charity fundraisers, cooking and spending time with her family.
“Most parents are overwhelmed upon learning how to secure services and live with a child with autism,” Bracy said. “There are a lot of feelings and acceptance issues that come up.
This book provides strategies on how to cope through this process.
Can Mom Come Out to Play: Understanding the Game of Self Care for Parents of Special Needs Children?
Department of Mental Health, December 2022
The Workplace and Autism
Wilmington Rotary, May 2022
The New Dynamic Workforce; Equality or Equal Access
NBC My Abilities Speaker's Group, April 2022
DV Enduring Turbulent Times
Links, Inc., June 2021
The New Dynamic Workforce
Galen and Cathy Reeves Foundation, April 2021
NBC Universal, My Abilities Speaker's Bureau, October 2020
Where Do We Go From Here
South Bay Maternal County Collaborative, September 2020
Ms. Bracy's story is one family's quest to seek moments of "normalcy" as members of the family learn to navigate the complex world of autism diagnosis, services and treatment. An easy read that should be required for special education teachers and teacher candidates, Help Me Understand My Child provides a personal account of the importance of professional language and conduct when interacting with families of children with autism and provides a glimpse into the different perspectives of family members who interact and advocate in a variety of different ways.
Jolan Smith, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow UCLA Center for Autism Research & Treatment Special Education
I have witnessed Ms. Bracy live out her advocacy for her son. She is a champion for all children. This book is a must read for all parents who desire to understand and be able to help their child.
Darin Early, Ed.D., Director of Family of Schools, Loyola Marymount
An invaluable read for parents, educators and anyone trying to garner a better understanding of the often enigmatic world of special needs. Ms. Bracy has contributed to this category of education that’s often ignored or overlooked. There is a strong connection between mother and son evident in this book which is the driving force behind their heroic journey. This is a great book for the disenchanted parents seeking to find a “normal” path. Thank you for shining a light where light needed to be shined.
Melinda Levy, Education Specialist
As an elementary school principal, with the Los Angeles Unified School District, I recommend this book to administrators and teachers. The book is a "quick read" for those who don't have much time. The author provides a true perspective of what parents of special needs children experience in their efforts to acquire much needed services. We should all "walk in their shoes."
Pamela Williams, Principal
I am reading your book (probably better tell you I am devouring it). We met at the Autism Symposium last Friday. You are changing my life. I also have lots of questions. I feel so blessed and lucky I found you in my scary and unknowing journey. I look forward to being in touch with you.
Lissa Gussoni, Parent of a seven year old with autism
Ms. Bracy's book is an honest and heartfelt journey of a mother's unconditional love and quest to giving her autistic son what every child deserves: a chance in life. Through her narrative, she helps caregivers of the special needs community, particularly recently diagnosed ones such as myself, navigate the unpredictable and overwhelming roads that lie ahead.
Susan Ear, parent of a three year old with autism
The book gave me a wake up call about all the resources I have access to and legal rights my daughter is entitled to. I had no idea so many organizations are available to support my child. The book is worth the resources alone.
Simone Taylor, parent of a ten year old with autism
Ms. Bracy provided a clear and precise account of her son’s journey and her incredible diligence. I especially enjoyed the side notes at the end of each chapter. The book reiterates the importance of advocacy, treating your child as normal as possible and being organized with all paperwork pertaining to the child. I truly enjoyed reading this book. She did an incredible job at being honest about the entire process involved when dealing with a child on the spectrum.
Arnentta Erlington, parent of a three year old with autism
A MUST READ for professionals, caretakers, family and friends of persons with special needs, especially autism.
Debra Moody, MA
Language and Speech Pathologist
I am glad that my feelings of sadness, shock, guilt and dejection are not just my feelings. Ms. Bracy reveals her feelings of being a parent of a special needs child.
Liz Fontelera, parent of a 25 year old son with autism
This is an easy to read story with resources on how to get what you need for your child.
Ernie Troupe, a mother with an adult child with special needs.
All I can say is WOW! Your persistence and resilience is admired. Thank you for being a voice and an advocate not just for your son but for the autism community.
Suzanna Kazanchyan, Disabilities Manager
Bugle Horn Support Group
We are warriors. Parents of special needs children are exponentially rated. We are there as parents, lawyers, doctors, advocates, psychologists, pharmacists, researchers, dietitians and friends for our children. We have learned how to be courageous, persistent and patient in getting what our children need to be successful.
The support group's mission is to take care of the caregiver by providing a place to come and mentally lay down their swords amongst those of us who have been on the journey, getting ready to start the journey or in the midst of it. The support group is a safe space for parents to share their feelings and concerns. We share resources and strategies on raising our children and adult children. We have dads, moms, grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers who come to our meetings.
No matter what the diagnosis is, we will embrace you. Feel free to come and join us. We meet the second Monday of each month, January-November from 5:00-6:45PM.
Please sign up and join our email list below.
OUR CHILDREN DO GET BETTER.
For information about the book, the Support Group or Florence's latest projects, sign up on the email list.
You'll be part of a growing community in support of the cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder awareness.