I met writer Christina Adams while living in Orange County, Calif. I had started a creative nonfiction writers group, and she was one of several who faithfully attended. In our meetings, I came to know Christina as a beautiful person: a writer who is whip-crack smart and not afraid to confront reality.
“Adams, a commentator for NPR’s Day to Day, offers an affecting personal narrative about her son Jonah’s diagnosis with autism at age two. She conveys the impact of this diagnosis on herself and her family, especially in the months immediately following, providing excellent accounts of how she
responded to teachers’ and family members’ suggestions that Jonah had autism. She also candidly discusses issues that have put pressure on her marriage, e.g., guilt and blame (she took the controversial drug Pitocin during delivery)…this book clearly illustrates autism’s impact on a family
and is recommended for academic and public libraries with autism collections.”
“Adams’s son, Jonah, was two years and eight months old when he was diagnosed as autistic. Eighteen months later, child development specialists evaluating Jonah couldn’t believe he’d had a history of autism. What made the difference? Adams–with the help of her lawyer husband–devoted herself completely to Jonah’s treatment, starting immediately with a rigorous gluten and casein-free diet. They enrolled the young boy in a 40-hour a week, one-on-one ABA (“applied behavioral analysis”) program for autistic children, supplemented with individual speech therapy and physical therapy….Adams, a self-described “Autism Mommy,” worked full-time on the intervention process, advocating for Jonah’s needs with the school system so they’d cover his high bills, cooking Jonah’s special foods and interfacing with each therapist privately and then collectively to help Jonah integrate the lessons into real-world situations. It’s pleasing to see Jonah make such a dramatic improvement….With the number of children on the autism spectrum growing, Adams’s upbeat, inspirational account has a ready-made market….”
“Fast-paced, riveting and often humorous… clearly reveals how parental determination can enable a child to grow and prosper.”
“Wonderful… shows the importance of looking at the whole child, not just applying the autism ‘label.’”
“The inspiring story of a devoted mother’s struggle….emotional and moving, A Real Boy will strike a chord with all parents who have fought against the odds….Christina Adams writes straight from the heart.”
A Real Boy is a real book. Honest. Touching. Inspiring.
This is a story about determination in the face of despair, and selflessness in the face of sorrow leading to success. It is a story about a family getting to reclaim their beloved son. But most of all, it is the story of a real boy: A boy who is important and valuable, who comes to have a sense of self because of parental selflessness…and who is able to reclaim the ability to develop skills and accentuate talents, which had been temporarily interrupted or deemphasized by autism.
For every mom who has dealt with a swinging door letting in therapists and disrupting privacy – and then felt guilty for wanting to take a shower, agonized at her child having to endure blood tests, held her breath for one professional’s report after another – this book would make a logical Mother’s Day present. And for every relative and neighbor who has no idea…they could use a copy, too.
When Christina Adams wrote and asked me to mention her book, ‘A Real Boy’, on the SV site, and I offered to actually read it, I never suspected that this book would be a page turner!
‘A Real Boy’ is a personal and poetic account of her son’s recovery from autism, a devestating disorder which affects one in 166 children in this country, an unimaginable number when you understand autism, and what it does to children and their families! .
The story follows Jonah’s progress from suspicion through diagnosis to normalcy. Christine and her husband devoted every particle of their beings, every scrap of their considerable intelligence, all of their resources, singlemindedly to Jonah’s recovery. And miraculously succeeded.
Among “the best of the writers and authors that I’ve discovered on the Web and whose work I would recommend.”
Regardless of whether readers have an autistic child or a child “on the spectrum” with a diagnosis ranging from attention deficit disorder to Asperger’s syndrome, they should enjoy Adams’ fast-paced tale. We learn the language of autism, explore its manifestations and gain an understanding of the world inhabited by an increasing number of families.