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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book Review: The Best Kind of Different by Shonda Schilling

This time, I am going to provide you with some favorite quotes from a book written by the mom of a boy with Asperger's Syndrome, as well as three other children. See what you can learn from Shonda Schilling, and maybe you'll read the whole book as well. The title is: The Best Kind of Different.

The speech [about Grant's Asperger's Syndrome] was emotional, funny, and thankful. When you speak from the heart, you can never go wrong.

The goal was to help Grant understand when to talk, when to stop talking, and that it was rude to dominate the conversation.

On the "social consequences map," there are four columns: My Action, How I Felt, How Others Felt, and Consequences.

One time, as a boy was telling him a story, Grant started walking in circles. . . . He didn't know what his body language said - that his behavior was rude.

In drama class, they would put on plays with themes relating to social interaction. . . . they needed to know how to work as a team, letting each person say his or her lines without being interrupted. . . .  Grant was "Jack" in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk. . . . Grant did a magnificent job. He knew all his lines and was totally comfortable and confident on stage. I felt so proud, watching him.

[W]e moved too much, so I never felt I wanted to expose myself to people I might not be around for too long. It's not easy to build a lifelong friendship with someone who might be gone the next week. Baseball [Schilling's husband's job] is so transient, it's hard to let down your guard and find true friendship.

[Christina, Grant's therapist] would write out a [social] story, mapping out what was going to happen [at Grant's next ball game]. He would understand the changes and be ready for all the transitions.

One of Grant's funnier characteristics is his penchant for blurting out painfully honest statements. . . . Other people just think [things that Aspies say], but keep to themselves for fear of hurting someone's feelings.

[Grant's third grade teacher] was quickly bowled over by the story [Grant] had written. He'd made every kid in the class a heroic character in a fantasy tale. And he'd done it all for the sake of making his classmates smile, which he did!

Grand was recently the star of the week at his school, which meant that each child had to write him a note. Almost all the kids wrote, "You are always nice to me." It filled my heart!

[Christina:] Grant doesn't realize that other people might have different thoughts or opinions that he does on any given subject.

I had this idea that I had control over whether or not I got depressed, which couldn't have been further from the truth. . . . I was vain, rigid, and uptight. That drew me away from experiencing and appreciating the pure joy that life can bring.

Asperger's doesn't go away. This is who Grant is, and we need to accept him and love him, in all his quirky, emotional, adorable oddness.



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