LONG ISLAND, New York – The global pandemic has average parents becoming teachers, referees, cooks, therapists, and so much more. One such mother took on the extra challenges of parenting three autistic boys while leaping into sobriety and writing a book about the experience.
Leaning On Mom: Letters to Roberta, How a Mom of Three with Autism Found Strength During the Pandemic provides a raw and humorous window into the world of author Melanie Donus, who could be viewed as the next Marvel superhero. In this collection of letters to her own mother, Roberta, Melanie shares what day-to-day life was like for her and her family during the first four months of the coronavirus pandemic.
Donus has “three boys who are quite different, but all who need their routine, structure, education, treatment, school, and therapists. Suddenly, Melanie had to be all those things,” says Ray Cepeda, Founder and Director of ABAskills, who wrote the Foreword for Leaning on Mom.
“Please be extra kind to an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) mom if you see her in the community over the next few months. Getting ‘back to normal’ is not in our vocabulary,” Donus says.
The scenes in Leaning on Mom move quickly and reveal the endless questions, epic meltdowns, musical Zoom calls, behavior challenges, and heart-wrenching moments that show Donus’ boys regressing before her eyes. Her journey through the decision process and arrangements for one of her boys to relocate to an out-of-state residential school is particularly moving.
Leaning on Mom is NOT, however all “doom and gloom.” Donus details her challenge unfriending “Donna” (code for chardonnay) and includes stories of miracles, heroes, and unexpected acts of kindness. Donus dedicates the book to herself not to reflect narcissism but as a way to shine a light on the enormous responsibilities of those who give 200 percent to their autistic children, leaving little time for themselves. She recognizes that this can result in isolation, loneliness, and a reliance on alcohol as a best friend; and shares her pandemic journey to sobriety, the second pivotal point in her life when she turned away from alcohol.
These un-sugarcoated scenes from the real life of a resilient and resourceful mom as she navigates unprecedented challenges will educate readers about Autism Spectrum Disorder and inspire them to find their own inner strength. This snapshot in time is one for the history books.
ABOUT MELANIE DONUS
Melanie Donus is the proud mother of three school-aged children, Dimitri (17), Michael (17), and Maxx (12), who all have Autism Spectrum Disorder and three very different profiles of abilities and challenges. She lives on Long Island, New York, with her husband Andrew. Leaning on Mom is Melanie’s first book and became a pre-sale Best Seller on Amazon.com