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I do not have an autistic child or grandchild.

But,  I do frequently chat with parents whose children have autism.

Is that a child with autism or an autistic child?

Is that simply a semantics question?

I think not.

To say  ‘A child with autism’ is to focus first on the child, a person.

To say,  ‘An autistic child’,  is to first focus on their life challenge.

Lisa Genova’s compelling and insightful novel Love Anthony reveals the difference.

This book considers the parents’ perspective, who often find their child bewildering and frequently nearly impossible. They struggle to hug and to love their child who hates to be touched and almost never makes eye contact. But the longing to hug and to be loved is a struggle too for the child with autism who hears  that their brain doesn’t work right, yet ” it doesn’t feel broken to me”. Lisa Genova’s interpretation of Anthony’s autistic mind gifts us an authentic and memorable voice that is simultaneously heart-breaking and breath-taking.

While autism might be a life challenge, Love Anthony reminds us that all challenges in life can also be life-affirming. As we attend to the daily details of our lives, we all yearn to love and to be loved as we struggle with life’s challenges.  

To love and to be loved makes each of our lives worthwhile.

Those who live with autism yearn for no less than that.



Movie:Temple Grandin, as well as TED talk by Temple Grandin

Blog: Life with Greyson and Parker, an honest and insightful mother of two children with “Superpowers” blogs on her life with them.

Book: Love Anthony review from a mother of a child with autism. Reaching One Thousand, a memoir by Rachel’s son, who has autism, ( suggested by a reader).