Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is about a young, passionate girl named Libby who was raised in the 1950s before people knew about the range of challenges for children who fell on the autism spectrum. During this era, the mother of a child with autism was referred to as a “refrigerator mom,” because it was thought autism was a result of being parented by a cold, unfeeling mother. Ouch! I can’t imagine how hurtful that must have been to moms of autistic children.
In Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, Walter and Maggie debate what would help and what would hurt their daughter Libby. Walter wants Libby to face her fears while Maggie wants to protect her daughter from the world and the children who tease her. They both feel helpless at times as they seek to understand Libby’s heart and mind.
Our family has both friends and loved ones on the autism spectrum, and we are grateful for the medical advances and education about autism today. However, even with more understanding, children with autism, Asperger’s, or sensory processing issues are still sometimes rejected by adults and other children. The children on this spectrum are often incredibly bright and creative kids who look “normal” but struggle to communicate well or become easily frustrated or awkward in social settings.
Even with a diagnosis, guilt haunts many parents who are raising a child like Libby, and as I wrote Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, my desire was to encourage moms and dads who are doing everything they can to love and instruct their children.
One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” If you are a mom or dad of a struggling child, I pray God’s grace and peace would saturate every moment you spend with your son or daughter. That His strength would prevail in weakness.
Our family found an occupational therapist who was invaluable in helping us. There is an overwhelming amount of information online about the autism spectrum online, but here are some great resources that I hope will help your family on your journey as well.
Your Child - by Jennifer Shaw
"Melanie Dobson's new book skillfully weaves together past and present as she takes the reader on a fascinating journey to a shocking secret held for generations. A book about choices, consequences, and ultimately redemption, this beautiful story highlights the love of family, and the sacrifices we make and secrets we keep for better or for worse."
—Jennifer Shaw, author, songwriter, Telly Award winning speaker, five time Top 40 Billboard artist, and mom of a child with SPD