Top positive review
A friend like Henry - and hopefully a life changing experience
on 5 June 2010
There are so many reviews that tell you what the story is about, that I wont repeat all the details but instead tell you why I think it's worth the five stars.
On a more personal note, I actually live about an hours drive from where this family live and that made the reading of the story that more personal.
I have four friends with autistic children (two that are very close friends) and the exceptional descriptions of Dale's behaviour that Nuala wrote, were like "eureka" moments for me when I was like "aha" I remember "x" doing that and so on (before they were diagnosed).
I found the book exceptionally educational (as well as emotional and humorous!). I came away at the end with enormous respect for Nuala and her husband Jamie. The reason I put in the title of this review as being hopefully life changing is because I now fully hope to actually approach the parent of a child having a tantrum and ask if they need help instead of immediately judging them and thinking the child just needs discipline. I know this will be exceptionally hard to do because even my friend with the autistic child says she still jumps to that conclusion when she sees bad behaviour in a child. But I did put some of my intentions into practise on holiday recently: As a family we were playing pool in the games room and this boy came up and started to tell us where to aim and what balls to go for. I started rolling my eyes and grimacing at my other half before I suddenly thought to myself that maybe he might be aspbergers and this was his obsession and I then was just content to let him get on with it. This could of course been nothing to do with it but if nothing else, if I've learnt to be a little more tolerant as a result of reading this book I'm happy with that positive outcome.
One of my friends is very much invovled with the school at Struan and could tell me that the picture Dale drew of Henry (shown in the book) is on display at the school (the book doesn't do it justice) and to this day Dale works with children with autism.
One of the things that this book screams is the lack of support for family with children who are not "normal" and I have realised only this second that I have been behaving in a different manner with my children since I read the book. I have one who has co-ordination problems, and one who is just a handful...the book made me realise "is that all I have to deal with?...You are incredibly blessed" Instead of being frustrated by their difficulties I have embraced their positives which are of course plentiful. The book has as well made me passionate about supporting autism fund raising. I'm not going to wait to be asked to support what they spend their life doing...I'm going to offer to help or attend events!
I picked this book up in WH Smith for £1.99. I have been back to buy two further copies! One is being sent to my sister in the states (she works with autistic children but is also a dog lover), one has gone to my mum and my original copy has been given (by request) to the deputy head at the school where I work for his summer reading. I can't wait to ask him in August what he thought!
Nuala, Dale, Jamie and Amy may you pray that you have made "a life changing experience" in my life.