Book Club and Parent Exchange Network get under way

By William K. Alcorn


The Autism Society of Ohio Mahoning Valley has launched two new programs, the Autism Family Book Club and the Parent Exchange Network, to help area families facing an autism diagnosis.

Participants in the book club can read reviews of books about autism-spectrum disorders and the families who share their diagnosis as well as offer commentary, said Aundrea Cika, office director of the Autism Society of Ohio Mahoning Valley.

The group will communicate online, and participants are invited to participate in monthly one-hour discussions about autism-themed books, films and issues in the news, particularly those with personal stories of living and loving someone on the autism disorder spectrum, she said.

The inaugural selection is “There’s a Boy in Here” by local author Judy Barron and her son, Sean Barron.

Participants are invited to discuss the book at the Autism Society Family Resource Center in the Ohio One Building, 25 E. Boardman St., Suite 230 in Youngstown at 7 p.m. April 9, May 14 and June 4. They are welcome to bring their own standard or digital copy or call and sign out one from the ASO Lending Library.

Preregistration is requested. Light refreshments will be served. For information, call 330-743-9184 or go to

The Parent Exchange Network is a series of workshops at which parents with autistic children can exchange ideas and information, offer friendship and learn from experts about autism topics, Cika said.

On consecutive Wednesday evenings parents can gather in the community rooms in each of the region’s three counties’ centrally located regional libraries to meet, share and hear a speaker on a topic identified in the survey. The schedule is established quarterly and posted on the ASO Mahoning Valley Office website and other social-media outlets.

The PEN workshops are free and open to interested families. Parents who preregister and attend an event will be entered into a prize drawing to take place at the three-month session. For information, call 330-743-9184.

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