We’ve shared many stories about parents whose children have autism, but for Heath Grace of Cornwall, England, it’s the other way around.
His mom Joanna was diagnosed with autism four years ago. While he’s only 6 years old, he understands her struggles so well that he’s sharing his insight with other children!
In Joanna’s case, autism makes her process language more slowly. So if someone is talking too fast, it can cause misunderstandings.
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It made a lot of sense to Heath when, during a shopping trip, his mom accidentally ran over his foot with the cart. He’d been chatting up a storm, and she didn’t hear him say “stop” in time. Joanna apologized and explained the issue to her son.
When she asked the then 5-year-old if he understood the next day, he blew her away.
“He got a pen and drew me a picture of the words lining up to prove he understood,” she explained. “I told him the picture was really good and he could probably explain my brain to other people who do not understand as well as he does.”
That got her thinking. As an author and teacher, Joanna saw Heath’s potential to help other families. So she suggested that he create more drawings and put them together in a book!
Her publisher, Routledge, loved the idea. That’s how Heath became Britain’s youngest published author! His book, “My Mummy is Autistic,” came out on October 22 and illustrates what it’s like to live with a parent who has autism.
One of the most powerful insights he shared takes just four words: “Our brains work differently.” They’re already resonating with countless people online — and celebrities too!
In fact, Chris Packham of the BBC’s “The Really Wild Show” agreed to write the foreword in exchange for a birdhouse built by the young author himself.
“There is a remarkable tenderness here, between mother and child, an acceptance which is both beautiful and charming and heartwarming,” Packham wrote. “The drawings offer a clarity, the voice of the child a purity, uncomplicated and direct. But of course what seals its success is the equally honest and pragmatic replies from the adult.”
While the little boy is not currently interested in writing another book, there’s no doubt his unique perspective will help bring families closer together! Congratulations, Heath!
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