The Gifts of Autism and Alzheimer’s

Nancy RederWhile taking care of his mother with Alzheimer’s, Ken Routson noticed in her characteristics and behaviors similar to those in people with autism. He was very familiar with autism, as he has worked in a variety of positions in the field of developmental disabilities for over 35 years. He saw within those shared characteristics and behaviors the value of sharing stories that gave new insight to both disabilities – not the negative ones we so often associate with them, but the hope, possibilities and the gifts that come with them.

Ken approached his friend Nancy Reder, RN, who, like him, had years of service in support of children and adults with developmental disabilities, and together they have authored The Gifts of Autism and Alzheimer’s: Stories of Unconditional Love & Self-Determination. The authors are the first to acknowledge that the title might seem at odds with the way we usually view autism and Alzheimer’s, but that the stories within the book will indeed open eyes and hearts to see that even within these challenges there can be gifts.

In a ringing endorsement of the book, renowned Alzheimer’s expert Dr. Peter Whitehouse shared these words, “a revolution is underway and this book is an exciting part of it. Positive human stories are a powerful response to the negative words that our unhealthy medicine and unthinking science try to label us with as our brains and bodies age. True hope lies in community and caring, not in the hype of and false hope of molecules and money.”

Ken Ritchey, senior partner of Public Policy Impacts of Washington D.C. and former director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, says this of the book. “I wish that this book had been available when I was first learning that my daughter had a disability. I loved the personal comments, as they made the reading both interesting and well worth the time.”

Both of the authors are from the Dayton area and dedicated their professional careers to individuals and families throughout this region. Their book is available at Tulip Press by calling 937-3009 or by email at It is also available on and from Ken Routson at 513-594-5489 or by email at

The forward to the book was written by Raun Kaufman, whose family was depicted in the award-winning NBC TV movie “Son Rise: A Miracle of Love.”¬† He said this of the book. “It is a spectacular marriage of psychology and physiology – of attitude and emotion – of biology. One of the most moving and indispensable aspects of the book is the beautiful collection of first-person stories. You will get so much from these people!”

Note: Nancy is one of our most dedicated Partners volunteers.



We are launched!

We welcome the newest addition to Partners For Community Living, our new and updated website, with much thanks to Rachel and Greg at Omnispear!

We welcome you to visit us frequently on our new site to see what is happening at Choices In Community Living and Resident Home Association and to be a part of celebrating and supporting people with autism, Down Syndrome and other developmental/intellectual disabilities.

Join us as advocates and friends in our partnership as together we build more accessible, open and caring communities for all of us.