A Different Kind of Boy: A Father's Memoir about Raising a Gifted Child with Autism

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Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2002 - Education - 256 pages
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A little nine-year-old boy looks down at the gymnasium floor. The room is filled with children who like and respect him, but he has no real friends. He can barely name anyone in his class, and has trouble with the simplest things - recognizing people, pretending, and knowing when people are happy or angry or sad. Much of his life has been filled with anxiety. He is out of step with the world, which to him is mostly a whirlwind that must be actively decoded and put into order. And yet he was only one of seven fourth graders in the United States to ace the National Math Olympiad. In fifth grade he finished second in a national math talent search.

That boy is autistic. He is also loving, brilliant and resilient. In this book, his father writes about the joys, fears, frustration, exhilaration, and exhaustion involved in raising his son. He writes about the impact on his family, the travails of navigating the educational system, and the lessons he has learned about life, what it means to connect with other people, and how one builds a life that suits oneself. And, oh, yes, math. Lots about math.

 

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Contents

1 A FairHaired Boy
9
2 Youre a Father Now Damn it
13
3 The Wild Goose Chase
20
4 A Different Sort of Boy
23
5 Daycare
29
6 An Addition to the Family
33
7 Doors Opened and Closed
36
8 You Want to Do It
46
25 Off to School
136
26 Such a Bright Boy
140
27 Mathematical Marvel
147
28 Simon
151
29 Careers
157
30 Daddy Look What I Can Do
160
31 Dont Mourn for Us
166
32 Moving to DC
177

9 Taki ng Turns
53
10 I Know Mom I Know
57
11 My Parents
62
12 A Team
66
13 Off the Charts
72
14 The Evaluation
75
15 My Son the Doctor
85
16 Believe Me Theyd Have a Schedule
88
17 An Integrated Classroom
92
18 Crazy Incomprehensible Rules
97
19 Exhausted
105
20 On the Town
112
21 Thats Just Backwards Multiplication
120
22 Frame of Reference
126
23 Spreadable Fruit
130
24 Diabetes
134
33 New Kid on the Block
185
34 Such Sensitive Children
189
35 A Blessing
196
36 Stamping Out Ambiguity
199
37 Going Hazy
203
38 Learning to Cope
205
39 Black History Month
209
40 Mr Hustle
213
41 Front Page News
217
42 Life
224
43 Math Camp
227
44 Connections Gained and Lost
234
45 Graduation
241
46 Becoming SelfAware
245
Epilogue
249
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About the author (2002)

Daniel Mont is the father of Alex and Simon Mont. Alex, who is autistic, is now a fully mainstreamed ninth grader. An economist specializing in disability and welfare issues by day, Daniel has been an Assistant Professor at Cornell University, a Principal Analyst for the Congressional Budget Office, and is now with the National Academy of Social Insurance. By night, he is an actor and a writer. Several of his plays have been produced in the Washington, D.C. area and in New York City. He is presently working on a novel.

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