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Until the summer of 2007, the word Asperger's, was not a part of Shonda Schilling's vocabulary, but that summer changed everything. By then, her household was in chaos as her son Grant spiraled out of control. His acting out and refusal to listen had grown to epic proportions, but even worse was his apparent inability to relate to the people around him. None of the Schillings' other three kids ever acted like Grant; his behavior wasn't just unruly, it was irrational.
Complicating matters was the fact that Shonda's husband, Curt, was constantly on the road pitching for the Boston Red Sox, so he wasn't always around to see Grant's behavior firsthand. Seemingly everyone Shonda encountered had an opinion--"he's too spoiled," "he needs a good spanking," "he needs more discipline"--but it was a disastrous first attempt at summer camp that told Shonda something was definitely wrong. It was then that a neurologist diagnosed Grant with Asperger's syndrome--a form of high-functioning autism that, in recent years, has been found in children who at first glance appear disruptive and difficult.
Now in The Best Kind of Different, Shonda details every step of her family's journey with Asperger's, offering a parent's perspective on this complicated and increasingly common condition. Looking back on Grant's early years, she describes the signals she missed in his behavior and confronts the guilt that engulfed her after she came to understand just how misguided her parenting had been before the diagnosis. In addition, she talks about the harsh judgment she's faced from people who don't buy into the diagnosis and how she's used passion and information to fight the ignorance of others.
Celebrating Grant's successes and learning from his setbacks, Shonda demonstrates how Asperger's forced her and her husband to reconsider everything they thought they knew about their son and each other, but in the end, it has made their marriage and their family stronger and happier. A tribute to Grant's strength and a candid glimpse into a family coming to terms with its differences, The Best Kind of Different is an intimate portrait of two parents struggling to understand the complex beauty of their son.
240 pages. 2010