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Cleveland Plain Dealer Reviews Kim Stagliano's All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa

Kim's_book_review_006 Here's a review of my book from The Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Mia and Bella were born in Cleveland, we lived there twice over the course of ten years. Much of my book takes place there. The reivew is quite positive, despite a misrepresentation of me as staunchly anti-vaccination, which I explain clearly in the book why I am no such thing. If you have a chance to leave a comment at the PD please do.   You can purchase the book HERE.

Kim Stagliano makes laughter a salve for autism in 'All I Can Handle'

Kim Stagliano's first daughter, Mia, was 2 in 1997 when a family member had to point out the obvious: The little girl, barely verbal and oblivious to other children, had autism.

Her sister, Gianna, only 19 months old, was defiant and hyperactive. She did not speak. Gianna and Mia were diagnosed at the same time. And then the unthinkable. Bella, an unplanned baby born in 2000, received the family's third autism diagnosis.

Autism affects about one in 110 children in the United States. The Staglianos' triple dose of misfortune is all the more remarkable considering that the disorder is four times more common in boys.

What, you may ask, could possibly be funny about their lives? Just about everything, answers Stagliano, if you want to survive, stay married and not kill anyone along the way.

"All I Can Handle" chronicles the family's battles with the medical community (Stagliano is staunchly anti-vaccination), financial woes (the family's name was on a paper mitten on the church's giving tree two years in a row) and small victories as the girls age (the night when Bella finally waved back after Mom tucked her in ).

And some of it is laugh-out-loud funny.

Stagliano and her husband, Mark, raised the girls for five years in Hudson. The author, managing editor of the anti-vaccine blog Age of Autism, invented some vocabulary along the way:

"Stagtastrophe" is most memorably applied to her husband's second and third job losses and two house floods. And "crapisode," a term coined to describe her daughters' well-meaning attempts to change themselves, became an entry in the Urban Dictionary after Stagliano blogged on the topic for the Huffington Post in 2007.

For all the humor, Stagliano is determined to give an unvarnished look at "the dirty, smelly, poopy, angry, screaming, fear-inducing side of autism" that many shy from.

She fesses up to shutting herself in the bedroom while she gets herself under control, locking one daughter in the minivan to scream out a fit and sobbing in the shower after cleaning up a particularly bad "crapisode."

Much of the memoir (or "Kimoir," the only cringe-worthy neologism) is devoted to Stagliano's beliefs that vaccines like MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) can cause autism in susceptible children. Others argue that the best, most recent research finds zero causality.

Stagliano simply doesn't care. Her job is to use her admittedly loud voice to call attention to her daughters' plight.

"I don't ever want to be a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting in a white bowl of obscurity," she writes. "I'm going to ask Why, What, How, and Who until my voice is raspy and my fingertips bloodied from pounding the keyboard."

Brie Zeltner is a reporter who covers health for The Plain Dealer.


Elisa Chollet

Hi Kim,

I just got your book yesterday and cannot put it down. Our family also lives in Trumbull. We see you and your family in church on Sunday mornings sitting in the front pew. From the first time I saw you, I gave a silent "hurrah" that you had the courage to put autism right before everyone's eyes and show what living with autism looks like. I admire the strength and determination it takes for all of you to make it through a day. Praying for the time when autism is just a bad memory....


I finished this book in record time I just couldn't put it down unlike other autism books that I have read this was different it was written from the heart with a level of intimacy that resonated with me. Not a day goes by that I don't think about Kim and her family. When my daughter has a Crapisode I can actually laugh well usually what I am trying to say is I that I don't feel like I am on my autism journey alone. Thank you Kim and I can't wait to read your next book!


Kim's book is inspiring on so many levels but most of all it is a voice for the silent shower cries and loneliness. I can't imagine my life without my boys, but I can't imagine having three girls and advocating so mightily for other families. A huge THANK YOU KIM!!!!!!!!!
To address the "others" who argue that the best, most recent research finds zero causality is hllarious. I cannot get over how surprised I continue to be by the small and large pop journalists that continue to do NO research before they print these articles. Precisely why I do not read papers. The level of digging for truth is in a shallow sandbox. Can no one get their attention?

Kim Mack Rosenberg

Kim, Kudos on the review. My mom sent me a hard copy of the article clipped from the PD. She also called me to tell me about it the day it came out. Generally a great piece but I too took umbrage at the "anti-vaccine" label!


I agree with the above author. The first and still profoundest case of autism I ever encountered - in 1977 - was a girl, and today her sister would likewise be diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition (Asperger's). While I do believe that boys are somewhat more susceptible, I've long noticed what looks to me like a purposeful campaign to trivialize autism as it pertains to girls. Dr. Denayer's comments support that observation.

Marie-Anne Denayer, M.D.

Autism BEFORE the epidemic. The Autism present from birth that I studied in med school, was rare, affecting 1 in 10,000 to 50,000 births. It affected boys more often than girls in a 4:1 ratio. Mental retardation in general is more common in boys than girls. This gender difference was investigated back in the 70s, and "Fragile X syndrome",a genetic disorder, was found and thought to be in part the reason for the excess of boys in the MR group.

Textbooks and ""experts"" continue to quote that 4:1 male to female ratio, now that autism has become epifemic. IT IS WRONG, as more and more girls are being diagnosed with regressive autism.
Ms Stagliano has 3 daughters with autism, my daughter has severe autism whereas her sister and brother were spared, a neighbor has 3 kids one dauhjter with autism and 2 boys who are "normal". I have asked teachers in the school system, and they tell that they do not see that male predominance. My daughter, born in 1987 regressed into autism at the end of 1988. She entered preschool special Ed in our town in May 1990 on her 3rd birthdy: SHE WAS THE VERY FIRST AND ONLY CHILD WITH AUTISM in our town school system until 1991....since then, the number of kids with autism has increased steadily.

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