Autism Behavior Checklist

My Box of Chocolates: How my child with autism learned to read, write, and more

This book is my memoir on educating my daughter,Teresa,who is living with autism spectrum disorder.


It tells our journey with autism from Teresa's birth through high school graduation.  

The book's focus is on how Teresa learned to read, write, speak, bathe, and do other life functions that we take for granted.


Among other things, the book also describes the autism behavior checklist and symptoms.


Teresa is now 29 and doing very well.  


My Box of Chocolates is also available  on Kindle, eBook

My purpose for writing the book is to share our experience with young families just beginning their walk with autism, with the hope of informing, encouraging, empowering, inspiring, and providing them practical tips for Autism Spectrum Disorder. 


My Box of Chocolates will appeal to any one who is seeking an interesting and inspiring  story that is sprinkled with humorous moments. 

I invite you to get a copy. 


So many things that we take for granted like dressing, bathing, counting and shopping for groceries are in fact complicated social interactions that we perform without thinking.


However, these are not trivial to teach, especially to someone with autism who processes information differently.


In that sense, this book was especially eye-opening, both in terms of how hard it must be to navigate the modern world with conditions like autism as well as to how complex many supposedly simple activities are.



 Another remarkable thing about the book is how engaging it is. We see the world through the eyes of both Teresa as well as Goretti Rerri.


We are able to feel their struggles and celebrate their victories…Reading this book was thus extremely easy and pleasurable. 

The willingness of the author to talk about the difficult moments… makes the book that much more engaging.


We are truly able to relate to the characters in the narrative.

This book is rated 4 out of 4 stars.


"A Most Helpful Handbook"
  • Goretti Rerri has written a most helpful handbook for parents/caregivers with children exhibiting any of the major symptoms of autism. Young families living with this condition will benefit from reading about the importance of Autism Early Intervention in the success of their children. Well done!

  • A Box of Chocolates presents to the reader a realistic and thought-provoking account of a mother’s gradual acceptance of the realities of autism.



  • Goretti Rerri’s candid account of Teresa’s autism, with its tear-jerking and occasionally funny episodes, commands our respect and admiration.

  • Parents with newborns, as well as teachers and daycare providers, would find the book a useful guide to the tell-tale signs of this disease,

  • and would benefit from the lessons learned by the author on ways to integrate an autistic child with family and friends.

Drs. Bitrus and Olabisi Gwamna, Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

Reader's Review

The author of this book did a very good job of illustrating the very real daily struggles (and triumphs) of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder from the parent's perspective.


I am a special education teacher and have learned through my education and experience in my career how to work with students with ASD and other disabilities, but to hear the other side of the story from a dedicated parent's viewpoint brought me to tears quite a few times throughout this book.


I felt like I was in the author's shoes and her daughter was my own child, and I cried my way through the painful moments as I empathized with her and imagined how she must have felt when faced with the sheer cruelty of strangers who misjudged and threatened the safety of her sweet and innocent child time and time again.


I also cheered Teresa (her daughter) on when she discovered her many talents and flourished in them and also when she bravely overcame difficult obstacles in her life and forged through until she accomplished her self-set goals.


This book opened my eyes and helped me to better understand how people with ASD process the world around them and how the rest of us should embrace their differences and accept them for who they are and where they are on their journey through the ASD puzzle of life rather than just ignoring them or shunning them because they seem "weird".


I plan to recommend this book to as many fellow teachers (of general or special education) and family members of people with ASD as I possibly can in order to increase awareness of this peculiar disorder so that more people will recognize their struggle and possibly be of assistance instead of looking away or passing unfair judgment.


5 stars!!!

Nancy J

Autism Behavior Checklist

The following are behaviors generally associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

  • Children with ASD might not respond to their names by 12 months.

  • They might not play "pretend" games by 18 months.

  • They might avoid eye contact and want to be alone.

  • They might have trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings.

  • They might have delayed speech and language skills.

  • They repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia).

  • They might give unrelated answers to questions.

  • They might get upset by minor changes.

  • They might have obsessive interests.

  • They might flap their hands, rock their bodies, or spin in   circles.

  • They might have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel.

Tips for Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Present important information slowly and deliberately on a one-on-one basis. If information were given to a group of people, your child included, do not always expect that the child will understand everything. Pull the child aside and repeat the information one-on-one.
  • Establish eye contact.

  • Be patient and repeat information as often as needed. Avoid saying “I told you five times already.”

  • Give short, precise, and clear directions.

  • Provide additional processing time.

  • Diffuse anxiety, confusion, or reduce pressure over misunderstandings, by observing body language and adjusting language as needed.

  • Provide frequent encouragement and reassurance.

  • Frequently check for understanding.

  • Use concrete language and avoid abstractions.

  • Break tasks into small chunks or steps.

  • Show pictures or videos or model an action to get new information across. Often, the child is not able to translate verbal directive into concrete action. They need to visually see the action you wish them to do. 

  • Above all, be compassionate, empathetic, and patient with the child.

Autism Early Intervention
If one suspects something is not right with an infant or toddler, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early intervention treatment services for children ranging in age from birth to three years can greatly improve a child’s development. 
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that children under the age of three years (or thirty-six months) who are at risk of having developmental delays may be eligible for early intervention services in their respective states.
A child does not need a diagnosis of ASD to receive needed services. One can find programs in any state for infants and toddlers with disabilities, from age birth through age five, by calling one’s state’s department of education.