My Son's Not Rainman
‘This isn't a story about autism. It's a story about a young boy who happens to have autism, and there is a difference.’
My Son’s Not Rainman is the much anticipated book based on the popular blog of the same name by John Williams. John Williams is a stand-up comedian. He is also a single father and full-time carer for his son, who has autism and cerebral palsy.
We’ve followed John’s blog for some time and having had him along to perform at our annual staff conference this year, we were really excited to read his book.
My Son’s Not Rainman gives a wonderful insight into life with autism. It’s an honest and personal account of the difficulties and joy that parenting can bring. It’s beautifully written and heartfelt, striking the perfect balance between the tough times and moments of true happiness with a large dose of humour thrown in.
The book serves as a reminder that we should always take time to see the world as others see it, to understand and accept differences and individuality.
We want to share with you a favourite excerpt...
While in the supermarket, John had decided to try and set an example for his son by letting an old lady who only had one item go in front of them in the queue.
‘’BIT RUDE!’ he shouted at the top of his voice. Oh dear, no build up with this one. Whatever had upset him had gone straight into the danger zone. ‘YOU!’ he yelled, pointing at me, ‘HOW DARE YOU LET AN OLD WOMAN PUSH IN FRONT OF YOUR SON. HOW RUDE! RUDE MAN! SHE WAS BEHIND US! YOU LET HER PUSH IN!!!’’
Once outside, The Boy calmed down and John apologised.
‘I’d forgotten to see the world as he sees it. In his world I’d broken the rules. Rule No. 11,967 – filed in his head under Queuing – the rule that you never push in, I’d broken it.’
‘I imagine this is the way life is for The Boy. In his head there is a huge filing system, compartmentalised into the different categories of Rules for Living, the only way he can make sense of the world. Things you do and things you don’t do, learnt over the years with hundreds of new rules added each day. Every outburst comes when there’s a variant, when the rules suddenly change. That’s why routine gives him comfort. For years I tried to introduce the concept of a cooked breakfast once in a while. But he couldn’t cope with that. Because breakfast is a bowl and a spoon. It isn’t a plate and a knife and fork. That’s dinner. And for him to be able to cope with that seemingly small change in routine meant in his head he was rewriting and then re-learning the Dinner rule, the Breakfast rule, the Cutlery rule, the Days of the Week rule and so many other rules that he’d spent years mastering and now all of a sudden they had to be re-learnt and re-cross-references and filed.’
‘And now I’ve ruined the Queuing rule. Yes, he knows now that people can push in sometimes. But what is the rule? Did I let her in front of us because she’s old or because she has six eggs or because she was wearing a green coat? Was it because it was 4.06p.m., because it was a Wednesday or because it was raining outside? The Boy can’t be sure, so all he can do is write a rule to cover every possibility. Until something happens to change it. And then they can all be re-written again and so this confusing life goes on and on and on.’
My Son’s Not Rainman is published by Michael O’Mara Books. Available to purchase from Amazon, WHSmith, Waterstones and independent bookstores.