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, The Sandwich Arts Alliance, Two Feather’s Healing Arts Center and Eight Cousins Books in Falmouth MA https://www.eightcousins.com

Available online at:

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 on The Adventures in Autism Podcast, June 2021

Interview on Autism Live with fellow author, J.M. Crawford, May 2021

Interview on WCAI, The Point with Mindy Todd, April 2021 https://www.capeandislands.org/show/the-point/2021-04-14/the-joys-and-challenges-of-raising-a-child-with-autism

The podcasts listed below have links to the interviewer’s website as well as Spotify. These interviews are on additional platforms, such as iTunes.

Podcast Interview with Laurie Sullivan-Hellman on Living the Sky Life 1.13.21

Podcast Interview with Angela Lucier on Claim the Stage 12.1.20

Podcast Interview on Beautiful, BOLD and Juicy with Emily Johnson 11.10.20


Emotional Detox Radio with Sherianna Boyle interview on Healthylife.net radio 11/18/20

Praise for A Life Suspended:

“A Life Suspended is a guide that will help mother’s of children with autism, or a severe disability, navigate their complex emotions.” Temple Grandin, author Thinking in Pictures

“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  

“Nicole’s passion, commitment, and love for her son spills over to create a powerful narrative that resonates with any parents’ struggling to find a diagnosis for their child. Her story is not only familiar but   is able to depict the very essence of a mother’s unconditional love.  This book is a must read for any parents struggling to find answers for their child.” 

~ Dr. Kathleen M. Petillo

“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


“Raw. Honest. Written with love. While I’m not a mother, Nicole’s book made me feel—overwhelm, struggle, love, triumph—and gave me a deeper understanding of what it’s like to become your child’s strongest advocate. This is not merely a book about a child with autism, it is partly Nicole’s own becoming. A worthy read that will nourish those who have lived a journey similar to Nicole’s and her family and even those who haven’t.” ~ Ashley Asti (Amazon review)

“If you’d like a glorious Instagram-worthy filters-on highlights reel of the wonders of raising a child on the spectrum – this book probably isn’t for you. It’s so much better than that. It’s gritty. It’s messy. It has scary and sad moments. You can feel the uncertainty. And only when paired with realness like that, can we feel the joy, and can we feel the humor that can come even in the worst moments. Moms can really be such a judgmental group. I guess on a good day, one could say we’re so afraid to mess up our kids that it’s easy to poke at others as we highlight the best moment of our day and talk others down. What if we all just supported one another and saw the humanity and the messiness behind parenting? What if we not only admitted that our kids weren’t “perfect”… what if we CELEBRATED that? What if we acknowledged that is actually the best part?! That’s what this author has done. She’s expressed real vulnerability and real challenges and showed the REAL wins. It’s terrible that parents of kids feel embarrassed or even ashamed at the challenges they face with their kids. We can do better. This is a wonderful read – I wish more Moms were like her. I wish I was more like her. Highly recommended.” ~ Nancy Epstein (Amazon review)

“Nicole’s compelling account of her family navigating the education system following her son’s autism diagnosis is incredibly honest and inspiring. You can feel Nicole’s love for Jack emanating from the pages and I was so impressed with her vulnerability in sharing her family’s story. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down. I found myself rooting for both Jack and Nicole from the start – for Jack as he found his way to an appropriate educational placement where he could thrive and for Nicole as she learned to let go and accept what is with love and grace. As a special educator, this book provided me with incredible insight into the minds of parents and the love, fear, doubt, guilt, and determination that drives them to advocate for their children. A must read for all parents, but especially special educators!” ~Leah C. (Amazon review)

“As a young woman with Asperger’s Syndrome (high functioning autism), when I first learned about this book, I knew I had to purchase this! I definitely made the right decision because a lot stuff that takes place in the book I can relate to! I would encourage anyone living with some form of autism or disability or knows someone as such to read this book!” ~ Jessica (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)