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Shonda Schilling 's Frank Account Of Son With Asperger's Syndrome

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Kid Companions- Chewelry: Shonda Schilling 's Frank Account Of Son With Asperger's Syndrome

May 4, 2010

Shonda Schilling 's Frank Account Of Son With Asperger's Syndrome

Just found another book to help families coping with Autism to shoulder the weight of their added responsibilities and challenges. “The Best Kind of Different: Our Family’s Journey with Asperger’s Syndrome” is written by Shonda Schilling. In more than 200 pages, Shonda tells us about their third child, Grant, now 10 yrs old, and how their family struggled while learning to cope with his Aspergers.

Baseball fans will know Shanda’s husband, Curt Schilling. Wkiipedia tells us that Curt is a former American Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher. He helped lead the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series in 1993 and has won World Series championships in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and in 2004 and 2007 with the Boston Red Sox. Curt retired in 2008 because of injuries.

Shonda, who graduated from Towson State College majoring in journalism, writes it exactly how it is. Even though they had all the comforts of life to raise their four children, the overwhelming hardship of raising a child with Aspergers and the struggle to keep their family intact was just the same as everybody else.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) gives the following description for Asperger syndrome (AS). “It is a developmental disorder. It is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The most distinguishing symptom of AS is a child’s obsessive interest in a single object or topic to the exclusion of any other. Their expertise, high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem like little professors. Other characteristics of AS include repetitive routines or rituals; peculiarities in speech and language; socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers; problems with non-verbal communication; and clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements.”

Grant was only diagnosed at the age of 7. “You go through different stages,” Shonda Schilling told “You mourn the child that you thought you would have. You’re sad because you’re afraid of the future and you feel guilty. You feel guilty because you’ve just spent the first seven years of his life yelling at him when he had no idea why you were yelling at him.”

All of the Schillings’ children, including Grant, are enrolled in the public school system in a Massachusetts town. Their lives have all been affected. Shonda revealed that her son Gehrig became anorexic while the family was dealing with Grant’s Asperger’s diagnosis; that she and Grant both wound up on medication, one for depression and the other for ADHD; and that she and Curt got counseling to save their marriage.

Shonda said:“This book shares our story and admiration for any parent faced with a diagnosis within the autism spectrum. Through our family’s story, I want other families to know that they’re not alone or isolated. The book is a celebration of children, and how wonderful they are, no matter their differences.”

What do you think must be the most challenging aspect of raising a Special Needs child?

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