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4.9 out of 5 stars174
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 16 June 2008
A very moving and interesting account of living with autism. I liked the way the vulnerability and the fragility of David's life was shown with such love and poignancy. Often (unintentionally) autistic children are protrayed as frightening destructive creatures because they don't understand the rules of life. This book showed us, as far as is possible, how the world looks from the point of view of the child.
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on 23 February 2009
This is the most true to life, well written book form a parents perspective that I have read. I am a mother of 2 autistic children and i can relate so well. This book has helped me & I have recommended it to countless others. If you have a child or are a carer a relative or even someone with just an interest, this is the book you should be reading.
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on 3 May 2010
I don't often take the time to write reviews but really wanted to write this as a thank you to the authors, David's parents. I work with families affected by autism and as such have read plenty of 'textbook' accounts. However, these don't capture the harsh realities that face many families. David's parents have taken the time to write about the difficulties they have faced but also about the joy and love they have for their child. This isn't a book with a cure or a happy ending but it still managed to make me smile as well as feel the despair of the David's parents when continuously faced with challenges and barriers. It is an account that will stay with me and I hope help me to work with a greater understanding. Thanks to Christopher and Nicky for sharing your story.
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on 10 February 2009
The extended title of this book suggests a depressing tale - not so! Certainly the reality of living with an autist is described but in the most upbeat way.

I absolutely loved this account. Since the diagnosis of our son in September, I have kept notes of his progress and it was absolutely fascinating to see how much of our experience mirrors this Chris and Nicky's.

My catch phrase is that autism is not an intuitive condition, so to read such vivid accounts of off the wall situations which we have lived through too was really uplifting.

I loved the style of this writing; I laughed out loud at the experience with the woman's skirt and slapping the bald man's head; incredibly we've experienced very similar. As parents of autists, we need to be able to laugh and get back into the (figurative) driving seat; this book helped me gain some perspective and put me back in control ... who wants to feel a victim?

I loved how A Real Boy brought to the fore thoughts I hadn't even realised; how I miss not hearing anything about school, how I too, hold my son by the wrist, how very powerful the words from the sibling about the condition are and the importance of participation in the school nativity, to list just a few.

One big difference between our experience with our son and the Steven's experience with David is that of DVDs. To use the Steven's metaphor; DVDs to our son are as heroin to an addict such is his obsession. So, whilst the introduction of DVDs worked well for the Nichols, in our case, I'm sure they have shaved years off my life! I can cope with hours, days ..weeks even ... of fast forwarding and rewinding Rosie and Jim and other favourites on video... but watching £14.99 DVDs shooting in and out of the DVD player for hours on end and then being used to sandpaper our walls or in place of ice skates is a direct route into orbit for me.

I loved being able to compare David's echolalia with my own son's and I appreciated the accompanying explanation - fascinating.

I thought it was extremely clever and very poignant how the parents' dreams for the future were touched upon.

I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in living with autism.
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on 31 May 2009
this book made me laugh out loud & cry when i least expected to. it certainly opened my eyes & made me think twice about how we as a society can at times be extremely judgemental when faced with children behaving in an unconventional way. would recommend this book.
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on 17 July 2009
What a fantastic book - I didn't want to put it down. It made me laugh and cry - but mostly cry. The lad in the story is called David and the book is written by his father - it charts the first 11 years of David's life and how the family come to terms with everything. It gives such an insight into autism.
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on 10 February 2013
What a fantastic account of this families experiences. I was drawn to this book for insight into family life with an autistic child as I work with special needs children and I wanted to get a glimpse into the day-to-day life that people go through.
At times I was shocked by the treatment the family recieved from services and how they had to fight to get support and other times I was in fits of laughter and cheering for the boys accomplishments and joy he shares with others.
A lot of respect for the Stevens' and hopefully now I will be more empathetic and understanding with the families and children I work with.
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on 12 June 2013
This book took me a while to read, there were so many happy parts but the sad truthful parts too (had to have breaks where parts hit home). My daughter is currently being assessed for autism (3 and non verbal) and part of you always wishes for miracles. David is a amazing boy with amazing family. There isn't many families that go through this so thanks for being so courageous to write your story as its personally meant so much to me especially as it was so truthful. It's a amazing book for people that have autism in there lives but also for people that don't, as stories like this will teach people the effects of autism (the bad but also the good and the victories). Thanks to my girl the smallest things can amaze me and makes my day and you just showed this so well. It's definitely a great read. I would love to know if he ever had that conversation?
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on 14 March 2015
What an amazing and beautiful story. I could not put it down it caused me to laugh and to cry, made me fearful for the family yet astounded at their constant patience, love and gratitude, for the gift of this gorgeous, precious, special, child. My admiration is boundless for the authors of a story that, I believe, should be read by everyone who is capable of doing so, and told to those who are unable to read. I have learned, in one day, what the word autism, really means, to the people of this world, in all of its horrible, frightening, wondrous, misunderstanding, uncaring and absolutely true, loving, ways. I was expecting to read, as I have any times, a tragic life tale of bullying and horror which would cause me to be angry and tearful. This book took me through a whole spectrum of feelings but overwhelmingly with admiration and love for a family I have never met.
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on 27 October 2014
This is an excellent account and should be compulsory reading for everybody! People are often easily sympathetic when a child has a physical disability but mental health issues are so misunderstood. It is so true that many of us judge parents as the cause of a child's behaviour, but it is clear in this instance that these parents couldn't have done more to be loving, tolerant and wise with their children. David has an older sibling, James and one's heart also goes out to him.
The other thing which was fabulous was the attitude Christopher Stevens had on occasion of giving onlookers a run for their money if he felt misjudged in public. Why die of embarrassment when he could have a giggle instead? Wonderful! A true insight into the immense challenges of raising a son who is severely autistic. Superbly written and leaves me with total admiration for the family.
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