Jane Asher, President of the National Autistic Society
“This wonderfully honest book tells us a great deal, not only about autism, but also about the extraordinary tolerance and unselfishness that is borne out of unequivocal love. At the same time, it reveals some uncomfortable truths about the struggle it takes to access the rights of those with disabilities in our so-called civilised society”
The Sun, February 15 2008
Daily Mail, February 26, 2008
“Christopher Stevens writes poignantly about life with his autistic son. It's a moving account of the boy's struggle to cope with a world that confuses him – and the extraordinary leap forward that gave them all hope”
Bournemouth Daily Echo, June 27 2008
“By turns harrowing, humorous and inspirational”
A REAL BOY, by Christopher Stevens and Nicola Stevens
We feel like parents in a fairytale turned to stone by a curse and condemned to stand like statues with our hearts thudding in our chests as our son plays wild games, all alone in the palace. He sees us he knows us, he expects us always to be in our right places – but he has no idea that we are human too.
David is eleven years old. He is happy, healthy and affectionate. He loves school, climbing trees and Disney songs. But he's also profoundly autistic.
Imagine being, like David, unable to speak more than a few words and unable to express your most basic needs. He is oblivious to danger and blind to other people's emotions, including the pleas of his parents. He is unaware of the chaos that he creates and is completely unmoved by the heartbreak that he causes.
This extraordinarily moving account describes the heartbreak, and the unexpected joy, of autism. With raw honesty, Christopher and Nicola Stevens lay bare their experiences, which are by turns harrowing, hilarious, and inspirational.
Autism is often depicted as a lonely affliction but, as David's story unfolds, his parents reveal how the condition has given them an unbreakable togetherness; an insight into prejudice, as well as kindness; an understanding of life without words or language; and an intense appreciation of their children.
Caring for David is an all-consuming experience...and through it they have learned, most of all, the meaning of unconditional love.