A Life Suspended: A Mother and Son’s Story of Autism, Extinction Bursts, and Living a Resilient Life is NOW Available! Find the printed copy or ebook on Amazon (link below) or it can be purchased or ordered locally at Titcomb’s Bookshop in Sandwich MA www.titcombsbookshop.com and Eight Cousins Books in Falmouth MA https://www.eightcousins.com

Available online through Barns & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-life-suspended-nicole-donovan/1137475276?ean=9781734628609

Indie Bound https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781734628609

Nicole Hendrick Donovan, a mother of four, couldn’t have prepared for the events that led to her son’s removal from the public-school system. Behavioral spikes, depression, and anxiety were only symptoms of an underlying diagnosis, which had gone untreated for years. On a sunny afternoon, Jack eloped from first grade, creating chaos and leaving a trail of injured staff in his wake. Within the pages of her memoir, Donovan describes the path to her son’s autism diagnosis and her journey to acceptance and unconditional love, not only for Jack, but also for herself. 

In the family’s dedication to get to the bottom of their son’s issues, they enlist a group of professionals to help understand Jack’s educational rights, his academic needs and to aid in the creation of therapeutic supports. After becoming completely enmeshed in Jack’s well-being, Nicole loses herself in the process. She soon realizes her resentments at a failed system and the continuous fear around Jack’s future are sparking a series of panic attacks, which prompts her to look deeper within herself for answers. As Nicole surrenders to the ebb and flow of life, she opens her heart and sees what truly matters.

Interview with Shannon Penrod of Autism Live, Sept 2020.

Praise for A Life Suspended:

“Stories such as the one told in A Life Suspended are what good movies are made of. It has heart and soul while keeping you on the edge of your seat.”

Sherianna Boyle, author of Emotional Detox

“While this book is about motherhood, education and navigating many of life’s challenges and inequities, it’s actually a deep reflection on our interconnectedness and humanity. Nicole courageously walks us through her journey of advocacy with humor, love and grace. She brings a vulnerability and strength that is more than just inspiration and education – though there’s plenty of both – it’s a story of becoming.” 

Janell Burley Hofmann, Author of iRules, International Speaker, Facilitator and Consultant, Mother of 5

“This book is raw, vulnerable and relatable. Donovan’s use of descriptive language invites you into their unique world of autism. By telling her story she gives parents hope, and helps others understand the complexities families face in navigating the special education system. As a parent, an educator and special education advocate, this book is an essential read for any parent of a child learns differently.”

Tricia Moore, Educational Advocate, Mother of two

“Just as Temple Grandin provided us insight into living in a world as a person with autism, Nicole Donovan is now lending voice to families that have children with autism. In A Life Suspended, Ms. Donovan has given a gracious and generous invitation to experience the joys and heartache captured in this brilliant snapshot of her family album. As educators, as well as clinicians, we would be remiss not to accept her invitation and use it as an opportunity to gain insight from a family perspective. This should be required reading for all those entering the field. Jack’s story is a reminder to all who work with children in schools that we have a responsibility to be honest and forthcoming in our observations. Our words and actions devoid of empathy and compassion leave long lasting imprints.  As Ms. Donovan so poignantly captures in her story, whatever we do and whatever we say, every student is someone’s child and deserve to be treated as such. Thank you for sharing your journey as a parent and Jack’s journey as your son.”   

Debra Edgren, M. Ed., C.A.G.S., School Psychologist                                                                                                                  

“This is a tender story of love and awareness. I wondered as a child free woman if I would be able to resonate with a mother’s story of raising an Autistic son…As I read the last page, closed this book and held it to my heart to absorb its wisdom I found my heart so proud of Jack. He is the Hero of this story and it was an absolute honor to witness his unique road to freedom…I feel everyone will benefit from the universal nuggets of grace sprinkled throughout the telling of this beautiful story of resilience and surrender.” 
~ Sheree Asdot, Certified Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master

Interview with Cyndy Cotton of the Osterville Village Library, July 2020


“Following the recommendation of a close friend, I decided to order this book to read through during my free time. Unfortunately, I ended up reading the entire book in the span of two days because of how captivating Nicole Donovan’s storytelling/recounting of events was and falling in love with her family and support system. I’m not the biggest fan of nonfictional narratives, but it was almost too difficult for me to not continue onto the next chapter when every sentence just pulled me back in. She captured her experience as a mother of a child with ADHD and ASD, and delivered it in a beautiful, detailed package that managed to resonate with me almost too easily. I’ve never had the chance to educate myself on the many disorders that affect the people around me, because it was never something I had to worry about directly. After reading this book, I realized how quick I was to shrug off a loud child as a result of bad parenting or a neighbor who didn’t understand when the conversation was over because of their lack of social skills. Her writing allowed me to see from a whole new perspective and understand the ongoing battles that some families have to go through, such as the the lack of protocols or game-plans that the majority of schools have that might not prioritize all of the students in their care. Overall, this was an incredible read and I wish to see more work from this author in the near future!!” ~ Maricecilia Lopez (Amazon review)

“Such a raw and honest testimony about the unconditional love a mom has for her child and the absolutely infinite lengths she will travel to ensure he has the best possible care and opportunities to thrive as his own person. Interspersed throughout is humor, humility, and vulnerability. A must read for all parents.” ~ Mgaff (Amazon review)

“This was a heartwarming and eye opening story about a family’s journey with a child with autism. As an educator, I was enlightened about the nature of autism and the methods used to help a child be available for learning. I realize that many teachers and administrators, though well-meaning, need to be better trained to support these children. As a parent, I was filled with empathy for all involved and was in awe of the stamina of these parents who had to strongly advocate for their son’s needs. Jack’s story will give other families hope and encouragement on their own journeys with autism. I truly believe all educators and parents should read this book!” ~ MaryEllen G. (Amazon review)

“This is a beautifully written story about a mothers heartache and her journey to help her son Jack. Nicole takes you on her rollercoaster ride with the public school system and all the challenges that take place not only in Jacks life but the life of her entire family. This story will give other parents hope and inspiration!” ~ Noelle (Amazon review)

“Poignant, heart-breaking and hopeful.” ~ Tammy (goodreads)