"As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected
and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever
~Clarence Darrow

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Picture Cookbook: Independent Cooking for People with Special Needs

In one of those strange twists of fate, I just came across this picture cookbook, co-authored by a former colleague, Joyce Dassonville. You might recall me speaking of Joyce taking on the Department of Community Services, and just about anyone else you can think of, in her fight to get services for daughter with autism.

At any rate, it appears that Joyce, along with her son, has now authored a cookbook for the special needs community. I can't critique it because there's not much information given on the site and I haven't spoke to Joyce in a long time, not since she moved back to British Columbia. But I do know that, as the site states, her daughter has low-functioning autism and I assume the book was written as a tool for Dominique.

So should you ever be passing be passing through a bookstore and see the title, you might just want to check it out. And if you ever do, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Update: I see that Joyce is also working on a second book, The Other Side of Pandemonium (The Hidden Face of Autism). So you might want to check that out too. A brief biography on Joyce can be found here.

1 comment:

Joyce Dassonville said...

What a pleasant surprise, to receive an email from Michelle Morgan-Coole this morning, linking me back to her BLOG. Michelle was so very helpful with my 2004 law suit against the Nova Scotia government on behalf of my daughter Dominique. Michelle and Blair Mitchell, the lawyer who appeared on my behalf at the Court of Appeal, achieved a decision that ultimately resulted in a cash settlement with the Department of Community Services. Although the decision itself did not allude to the cash settlement, I strongly encourage any family who feels that they have been treated unfairly to push and push until the issues are resolved in their favour. If my years of fighting on behalf of my daughter taught me anything they taught me that "It is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease every time!"

So squeak, squawk, howl, and do whatever you have to do on behalf of your family member with Special Needs. Even after our move to British Columbia, where services for autistic children are somewhat easier to find than in Nova Scotia, it is still “squeaky wheel that gets the grease”. I have no doubt whatsoever that my daughter receives more services than many other children in similar situations, solely because I would not take no for an answer.

One of the terms of the settlement is that I am not allowed to disclose the amount of the cash settlement. (The Department would not want other families asking for a similar amount after all!) Yet, even with no dollar amount quoted in the decision from the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, the successful decision remains relevant to many situations that we with children with Special Needs face on a daily basis. Quote it wherever you can. I like to think that my efforts have made a difference to other families as well as my own.

The other thing that my years of fighting governments (Nova Scotia and British Columbia) on behalf of my daughter taught me was that the life of a court room lawyer was simply not compatible with the life of a mother of a special needs child. However, seeing that I can be very determined and obstinate in just about everything I do, it did take me a long time to learn when to put on the breaks.

Now I no longer practice law in any capacity. Instead I have become an author and publisher of cookbooks for people with Special Needs. The first volume, No-Cook Recipes for Special Chefs will be on the market in a few weeks. It is ready for printing as I write this note to your BLOG. My cookbook writing came about as a direct result of finding innovative ways to teach my daughter to cook and bake. After a long futile search for an appropriate cookbook, I finally had to become a cookbook author myself. I have heard the saying that “Necessity is the mother of all invention”. That is certainly true for the case of The Picture Cookbook series. I guess I have not really changed much after all. When the tools I needed to teach my daughter functional independence in the kitchen, simply did not exist, I just when out and made them exist. I am still as determined and obstinate as I was when I was suing governments; I just turned my energy into writing cookbooks instead. The second cookbook of The Picture Cookbook series is also well underway.

It is my hope that The Picture Cookbook series can help many people with Special Needs become functionally independent in the kitchen, or at least with a few recipes, if not all their nutritional needs.

Joyce Dassonville GN LLB, Author
The Picture Cookbook
Recipes for the Special Chef