Understanding and Dealing with the challenges of Autism

"No Matter What" recognises a need to project awareness of autism and it's complexities and explains the true meaning of autism through the author's story


This book gives parents facing the difficulties of caring for an autistic child, hope, courage and the knowledge that there are ways of helping your child. To be positive for you are facing a great challenge but to know you are doing your best for your child. I would definitely recommend this book for all the advice: medical and educational. Helene Lavenir

I have just finished reading “No Matter What”. I could not stop reading it – it was truly absorbing reading. What an amazing lady Sandy Howarth is. Steven is very lucky to have a mum like her, who wants to help him reach is full potential. I realise how ignorant I was about what parents go through when they find out their child has a disability. It is hard to even imagine actually. I did know that it would be a very difficult and emotional time for parents, but reading Sandy’s book made me really see how much they have had to give up of what we call our “normal life” and take on the full time care-giving of a person with Steven’s challenges. They have my absolute admiration. The books full of information that will help parents encourage their child to communicate with others, and I am sure that parents with autistic children will find it an enormous help. Sandy has kept a very good record of all her challenges with Steven and this will give parents facing similar circumstances huge confidence to start on the road to helping their child. Gaille Hopkinson

This is a passionate book outlining the frustrations, difficulties and, ultimately, the joys of having an Autistic child. It illustrates the trials and tribulations that parents unexpectedly have to face. On a practical note, it gives a step guide to the UK statementing process and gives good guidance to help ensure that a child's needs are fully described and met. On the human side, it demonstrates the sacrifices, love and care that the author has lavished to get the best possible future for her son, Steven. As the parent of an Autistic child, I wish that a book like this had been available to help guide my family. It is, at times, a very moving book and is one that I would highly recommend to any parent of an Autistic child. Patrick Weston

"No Matter What by Sandy Howarth gives a vivid account of the journey a mother makes from the time when she recognises her child is different from others of the same age, through to him being diagnosed with autism - and her love, courage and determination as she battles through the bureaucratic minefield and overcomes hurdles." No Matter What mixes practical advice with recognised research - but overall its inspiration comes from Sandy herself as she honestly portrays her drive to ensure the best possible support for her son Steven. Andrea Riding

Reading Sandy Howarth's book No Matter What really highlighted the need for research into Autism and help and support for those whose children are diagnosed with Autism. The struggle Sandy had to initially get a definitive diagnosis and then to get the information and support to help her cope with a child with Autism is heartbreaking. Then the battle to get good schooling and care for Steven simply continued, which goes to show how under equipped the system is to deal with anyone who deviates from what we call normal. This book, I think will be a Godsend for anyone whose child is diagnosed with autism. It has the story of how Sandy and her family have battled and survived Autism and not just survived but come out victorious in many ways and learned to be a happy family with an autistic child. As well as that though it has years of research carefully recorded so that anyone starting this journey has a ready made guide to help them navigate the many different theories, diets and teaching tools that can be used to open up the world of an autistic child and make life easier for their families. I would recommend that everyone should read this book so that we can all gain a bit more understanding of the enigma that is Autism.  Tammy Wright

Loads of insights on the medical aspects of autism and on how to help an autistic child develop to their full potential. The highlight is the section describing Sandy's own experiences with her son Steven - the traumas, the hopes, the frustrations the love and the fun. Simon Whittaker

"No Matter What" is a very moving and educative account of a mother's on-going efforts to assist her austistic child to lead a life as normal as she can possibly provide.  Sandy has made a complex topic easier to understand for the many who are not knowledgeable on the subject of autism.  This book is a must for physicians, researchers, students and carers of austistic children. Bill Henries 


“No Matter What” is an owner's manual to autism. You get the medical and scientific definition and probable cause. You get all the aid and support that the system has available; sadly this will never be enough. Most importantly, you get a whole bunch of good advice and encouragement from a mother who is fiercely determined and focused to help and teach her autistic son to reach his full potential. Sandy's determination and resolve are steadfast. She is a mother with great courage. She loves Steven as only a mother can love a child who is helpless without her. Autism is becoming more recognised to the world now. It is a problem that needs assistance and understanding. “No Matter What” is well worth reading. Bruce Daly

It’s instructive and a good insight into living with young people who don’t communicate in the conventional ways and I think the professionals have a great deal to learn from parents and parents should be involved in professional development of all professionals. David Williams (Former Deputy of Education)


I am a mother of a fifteen year old Autistic boy. My child Steven was diagnosed as being severely Autistic with a severe receptive language disorder at two and a half years of age. My book outlines the first hand experience that has been gained from my son Steven. The book has been written to assist and offer support to families, to create awareness of the subject of Autism and to demonstrate the complexities in brain development by comparing ‘typical’ development with ‘Autistic’ development.

The book covers the diagnostic process, concerns of parents, coping strategies, teaching methods, behaviour strategies, research being carried out on the subject, recognising educational needs, my child's developmental history and my approach to Autism. It also talks of finding an appropriate educational environment and offers practical guidance in this area. It offers guidance in teaching body awareness, developing life skills, building an understanding of the environment and everyday situations.

I gave up my career as an Interior Designer in Dubai to devote my time to Steven and used my creative skills to produce materials to further encourage his learning. I educated myself on the various strategies and the subject of Autism. Seeing some progress in Steven’s abilities, I returned to the UK hoping it was the correct decision for him. Unfortunately, I have found that what I had hoped for Steven from the UK educational system wasn’t what it turned out to be. I battled with the Local Education Authority to obtain the provision that Steven needed and felt frustrated at the lack of educational support that he received. Steven has been in an educational setting provided by the LEA for the past eight years and made no progress. Therefore, I have decided to teach him at home myself again on a full time basis. This is not an easy option for me but I feel that the system has failed him and I wish to provide Steven a chance to live and to show how much he is capable of achieving.

We will be picking up from where we left off when he was taught at home at the age of seven and through this book I want to help other parents to appreciate what they can achieve with their children through perseverance and love.

Sandy Howarth


This has been written to enlighten the public of the immense struggles that individuals and families of Autism and related disorders are faced with. In explaining mental development Autism is observed alongside typical development to further demonstrate the bizarre nature of the condition. Research suggests that the human mind and nervous system remain plastic for a longer period than previously believed and that individuals with Autism are known to develop cognitively throughout their lives.

Autism is not an easy subject to explain to people as the Autistic thinking would seem almost incomprehensible to people who have not come into contact with an Autistic person. It takes time to understand it fully as it is a spectrum disorder where the individual with Autism could fit in anywhere within the spectrum.

This book offers support and guidance to families in recognising the expected challenges and suggests ways on how to help our children achieve their true potential. Advice is offered in dealing with typical day to day situations, dealing with education and developing skills, while gaining an insight into the subject of Autism. In recognising a need to project awareness of Autism and it’s complexities, I have explained the true meaning of Autism and included effective strategies used in coping and dealing with the condition.

Realising my son Steven’s needs I taught myself the skills required to teach him. These included Speech & Language Therapy, Physical Therapy, Play Therapy and Behaviour Therapy. To manage Autism, learn to first accept Autism, think positively and act positively. Learn to love your child unconditionally, "No matter what’' the diagnosis is. This is your child. A positive outlook will gain you the strength, to assist your child in every way. In recognising your acceptance your child will seek assurance from you, which will in turn help create a greater bond between you and your child

Suggestions are offered to parent(s) who need to find time for themselves too. This will be a hard task at first which can be achieved through patience and perseverance. To bring about achieving any form of progress it is essential to make every obstacle a challenge and treat each step forward as a milestone. Your efforts will offer you the comfort of knowing that you have given your child a chance to reach their maximum potential. Autistic children vary in their behaviour, their level of intelligence and their ability to communicate. Nevertheless, they all fit into the broad Autistic spectrum and they all need help and support.

In the event that your child does not reach the level that you had expected, you can still be assured that you have done the best for your child. It is extremely difficult, almost impossible to predict the future of our children, but what you can do is to work on it now. It is never too late.