This original and imaginative book has been created by five-year-old Heath. In it, Heath illustrates his understanding of his autistic mother Joanna, giving insight into the different ways in which autistic and neurotypical people understand language.
In his simple and uncomplicated style, accompanied by bright and colourful illustrations, Heath explains why his mother’s brain understands words at a different rate than his own, and how they communicate in spite of their differences. Heath’s work is accompanied by explanatory notes exploring Joanna’s own experience of autism and language.
Key features include:
- A Foreword by broadcaster, environmentalist and author Chris Packham, on acceptance, understanding, and expressing an autistic reality
- A unique exploration of language processing differences told through the eyes and mind of a child.
- Bright, colourful pictures and simple language, perfect for inspiring conversations about neurodiversity between people of all ages.
- Explanatory text that can be read alongside the story.
- Autism portrayed as a positive and permanent neurological difference, not deficit.
The combination of story and commentary makes this book a unique tool for all people seeking to explain and understand difference, regardless of age and experience. Although focusing on autism as an example of neural difference, it can be used to explain and celebrate neurodiversity in all its forms and will help to build relationships across the divide of neurological difference.
Heath Grace was born in an orchard in Germany and moved with his family to rural Cornwall when he was just nine weeks old. Growing up, Heath has played alongside children with neurological differences and physical disabilities. He has also worked as a facilitator on The Sensory-being Project. Although just five years old when he wrote this book, those five years represent five years of witnessing and responding to the reality of autism first-hand. Starting school gave Heath a wider repertoire of insight into people and the need to understand and explain difference, which motivated him to write this book during his first ever summer holiday.
Joanna Grace is the founder of The Sensory Projects and works as a sensory engagement and inclusion specialist. She has been a special school teacher, a foster carer and a support worker for people with disabilities and neurological differences. She grew up on a boat at sea and now lives in rural Cornwall close to the ocean that she loves. Joanna is autistic.
[T]here is a remarkable tenderness here, between mother and child, an acceptance which is both beautiful and charming and heart-warming. 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.
Chris Packham, Broadcaster, Environmentalist and Author