Leaning On Mom: Letters to Roberta,
How a Mom of Three Boys with Autism Found Strength During the Pandemic 

One Book, One Mom, Two Stories of Autism Parenting while Tackling Alcoholism During the Coronavirus Lockdown

The global pandemic has average parents becoming teachers, referees, cooks, and so much more...


One mother took on all the extra challenges of parenting three boys with autism while leaping into sobriety and writing a book about the experience.

View Book Trailer


#1 Amazon Best Seller in 5 Categories


& Amazon Pre-Sale Best Selling Author



Dear Roberta,

Motherhood, Addiction, and Autism - Inverview with Ray Cepeda, BCaBA, LBA, Autism Behavior Consultant

Leaning On Mom provides a raw and humorous window into the world of Melanie Donus.  In this collection of letters to her own mother, Roberta, Melanie shares what day-to-day life was like for her and her family during the first four months of the coronavirus pandemic.


The scenes in Leaning on Mom move quickly and reveal the endless questions, epic meltdowns, musical zoom calls, behavior challenges, and heart-wrenching moments that show Donus’ boys regressing before her eyes. Her journey through the decision process and arrangements for one of her boys to relocate to an out-of-state residential school is particularly moving.


Leaning on Mom is however not all doom and gloom. Donus describes her challenges to unfriend “Donna”—code for chardonnay—and includes stories of miracles, heroes, and unexpected acts of kindness.


These unsugarcoated scenes from the real life of a resilient and resourceful mom as she navigates unprecedented challenges will educate readers about autism spectrum disorder and inspire them to find their own inner strength. This snapshot in time is one for the history books.

Purchase Now!




Melanie Donus is the proud Mother of three school aged children, Dimitri (17), Michael (17), and Maxximus (12), who all have Autism Spectrum Disorder and three very different profiles of abilities and challenges. She lives on Long Island, NY with her husband, Andrew.

Throughout the course of parenthood, Melanie has held various philanthropic leadership roles including Co-President of Special Education PTA, Vice President of Parents Association, Founder of the Long Island Special Needs Facebook Group with over 1300 members , and Parent Mentor/Volunteer at Parent-to-Parent.  In addition, she frequently speaks at various local colleges and universities regarding the day-to-day impact of Autism on families and the new trends of neurodiversity inclusion in the workplace.

Outside of being the CEO of her boy’s busy lives, Melanie is a Vice President at Right Executive Search where she directs the Diversity Talent Acquisition division with a focus on career empowerment for women returning to the workforce and supporting diverse and minority candidates in the workplace.  She is the co-author of their eBook series on job search strategies for “Returners” and college students seeking an internship.

Melanie received her Bachelor of Science degree from West Virginia State University and holds various professional certifications.

Melanie, Andrew, and their three boys can frequently be found in their happy place, enjoying the beauty of Long Island beaches, where the water brings a much needed “calm” in their lives and provides an ability to integrate in the community where judgement seems to fall by the wayside.

Sign up here to receive a FREE excerpt, the April 8th letter.