The Best Kind of Different

I’m not a fan of celebrities; I don’t really think they are “just like the rest of us.”  Shonda Schilling’s book might actually change my mind.  Ends up Shonda and Curt Schilling (Major league pitcher, now retired?) are raising 4 children, and various combinations of these children have ADHD, Anorexia Nervosa, and Asperger’s/Anxiety.  And she admits to having some self-described embarrassing parenting skills prior to understanding her children and what they actually needed.  (Actually, some of her ideas were sound, but just don’t work well with children who are on the spectrum.)  So, she’s human, and her portrayal of her family and her emotional journey is actually pretty riveting.

To be fair, Schilling’s book The Best Kind of Different was published in 2010, old news for some of you.  I think to myself, what was I doing in 2010?  Oh, right, buying a house, renting out our original house, renovating the house we just bought, running an unsupported marathon with my husband, launching my business immediately after the run, and sending my child off to Kindergarten.  Small wonder I missed this book!

Lucky for us, I found the book this week!!  Schilling shares her journey of marriage and parenting, highlighting her successes, and really digging into the areas for growth.  Generously, she also shares her reactions to the doctors in her life, and her horror that doctors suggested that she get support (What?!  She isn’t weak!!  Followed years later by the realization that parenting is HARD and parenting on the spectrum is really, really hard.)  She shares outstanding insights by professionals including approaches to sensory diets, the use of schedules, giving kids choices, and the use of charts to explore the emotional impacts of behaviors and subsequent consequences.

I love reading about people.  I love it even more when I learn a new thing that I immediately want to share with my clients!  Schilling wrote a great book that shares the human side of raising a child on the Autism Spectrum.  People said mean things to her (your child is disrespectful/spoiled/out of control), and prevented her child from accessing childhood events.  She cried.  (I cried.)  And she found some outstanding support people to help her family navigate the journey with her son.  She notes that her entire family had to change how they interacted with her son.  Sound familiar??


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