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A Real Boy: How Autism Shattered Our Lives and Made a Family from the Pieces

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David is a happy, healthy, and affectionate child, but he is also profoundly autistic. He is unable to speak more than a few words, barely capable of expressing his most basic needs, oblivious to danger and blind to other people’s emotions. This is the heart-wrenching story of bringing up a child who will always be a little boy and an account of both the heartbreak and the David is a happy, healthy, and affectionate child, but he is also profoundly autistic. He is unable to speak more than a few words, barely capable of expressing his most basic needs, oblivious to danger and blind to other people’s emotions. This is the heart-wrenching story of bringing up a child who will always be a little boy and an account of both the heartbreak and the unexpected joy of autism. With raw and sometimes brutal honesty, Christopher and Nicola Stevens lay bare their experiences, which are by turns harrowing, funny, and inspirational. As David’s story unfolds, his parents reveal how the condition has both tested their limits, and helped to forge an unbreakable bond of love.


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David is a happy, healthy, and affectionate child, but he is also profoundly autistic. He is unable to speak more than a few words, barely capable of expressing his most basic needs, oblivious to danger and blind to other people’s emotions. This is the heart-wrenching story of bringing up a child who will always be a little boy and an account of both the heartbreak and the David is a happy, healthy, and affectionate child, but he is also profoundly autistic. He is unable to speak more than a few words, barely capable of expressing his most basic needs, oblivious to danger and blind to other people’s emotions. This is the heart-wrenching story of bringing up a child who will always be a little boy and an account of both the heartbreak and the unexpected joy of autism. With raw and sometimes brutal honesty, Christopher and Nicola Stevens lay bare their experiences, which are by turns harrowing, funny, and inspirational. As David’s story unfolds, his parents reveal how the condition has both tested their limits, and helped to forge an unbreakable bond of love.

30 review for A Real Boy: How Autism Shattered Our Lives and Made a Family from the Pieces

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Revill

    This is a book that I believe everyone should read to give them a better understanding of autism. I felt like someone was writing about my child at that age and the story expressed so many of the emotions that I went through. After listening to this audiobook I am filled with admiration for what wonderful parents Christopher and Nicola are, especially with dealing with the challenges that autism brings each day. You can feel the love that they have for their son when listening to their story. Very w This is a book that I believe everyone should read to give them a better understanding of autism. I felt like someone was writing about my child at that age and the story expressed so many of the emotions that I went through. After listening to this audiobook I am filled with admiration for what wonderful parents Christopher and Nicola are, especially with dealing with the challenges that autism brings each day. You can feel the love that they have for their son when listening to their story. Very well written and narrated. Truly inspirational. Very highly recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    Touching story about a family who struggles with the care for their son/brother. A realistic, heartbreaking and at times funny story about how they deal with the fact that David has his own view of the world. When you read about his tantrums, vanishing acts, his wish to destroy almost everything in his path and the multiple times he almost killed himself without knowing it, it makes you realize just how hard it can be to have a child with his form of autism. There is still so much to learn about Touching story about a family who struggles with the care for their son/brother. A realistic, heartbreaking and at times funny story about how they deal with the fact that David has his own view of the world. When you read about his tantrums, vanishing acts, his wish to destroy almost everything in his path and the multiple times he almost killed himself without knowing it, it makes you realize just how hard it can be to have a child with his form of autism. There is still so much to learn about autism and for someone who works in psychiatry (me) it is very frustrating to read about the reactions that people give when they see David and his parents and the way they handle him. I understand it can be really hard to tell people why, for instance, you have your 10-year old son on a leash and I hope that in the future people will be more considerate of and interested in autism. The biggest problem with autism and other mental ilnesses is that you can't see it. A broken leg is easy to explain, but how can you explain a random woman on the street why your child is eating a plastic toycar or why your child is destroying winebottles in a supermarket?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ione Stella

    When I picked this book,I guess I expected to learn about Autism in a way in which I could truely understand and this book delivered that.The first hand account from Davids(who suffers from autism) parents was touching and imformative,but I would also say that many of there views on Autism is rather subjective and does not educate the reader fully, there is definately more to autism which could have been expressed.I felt they only told the reader what they felt they should know and therefore it When I picked this book,I guess I expected to learn about Autism in a way in which I could truely understand and this book delivered that.The first hand account from Davids(who suffers from autism) parents was touching and imformative,but I would also say that many of there views on Autism is rather subjective and does not educate the reader fully, there is definately more to autism which could have been expressed.I felt they only told the reader what they felt they should know and therefore it lacked depth and sincerity. The title: "autism shattered their lives and made a pieces of the family" although there are parts where the story narrates how the parents feel there is not alot about how the family members dealth with autism, the title can be bit misleading. Although it is very humourous and I would recommend it for anyone who desires a basic understanding on autism

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lulu Rutter

    A lot of people could benefit from reading this This Bristol dad writes with humour and eloquence, giving an honest account of the early years of his family's life with a severely autistic son. The style of writing is very clear, simple and direct so anyone can enjoy this even if they have absolutely no experience of autism. As somebody who works with children who are similar to David I can highly recommend this book to practitioners as well . The author gives a really clear insight into the mind A lot of people could benefit from reading this This Bristol dad writes with humour and eloquence, giving an honest account of the early years of his family's life with a severely autistic son. The style of writing is very clear, simple and direct so anyone can enjoy this even if they have absolutely no experience of autism. As somebody who works with children who are similar to David I can highly recommend this book to practitioners as well . The author gives a really clear insight into the mind of his son, and the impact that his needs and behaviours have on all the family. This is well written, honest, and not over sentimental . Love and resilience shines throughout and I do hope that this book can bring a better understanding of autism to a wider audience.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tess

    A truly wonderful book. At first I was surprised that the author, Christopher Stevens, was able to write in such a humorous way about a topic that I had always thought of as deadly serious. What I hadn't realised is that families with autistic children don't need to be looked upon with somber, pitying faces, they need to be better understood. Of course, I'm still fairly ignorant about autism, but this book opened my eyes to a world I previously knew hardly anything about and consequently it's th A truly wonderful book. At first I was surprised that the author, Christopher Stevens, was able to write in such a humorous way about a topic that I had always thought of as deadly serious. What I hadn't realised is that families with autistic children don't need to be looked upon with somber, pitying faces, they need to be better understood. Of course, I'm still fairly ignorant about autism, but this book opened my eyes to a world I previously knew hardly anything about and consequently it's the most valuable book I've read all year.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A true story about life with a profoundly autistic son. I read this as my friend actually helped look after this lad , but even without that specific interest the book was a great read. Insightful and a real eye opener into life with a disabled son. I read it in a day

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Trenbath

    It wasn't bad, although I was often frustrated with with the writer's attitude towards people who don't have a connection with his son. It wasn't bad, although I was often frustrated with with the writer's attitude towards people who don't have a connection with his son.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Foxon

    excellent read, felt like I was reading about my family and our life with a autistic daughter. I cried tears and I also laughed as it brought back so many memories both painfully and happy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Gascoigne

    Wow. Such an amazing and inspirational book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gillian

    This is a light read with plenty of funny moments. It gives insight into the autistic mind although I thought the author made rather a lot of assumptions about what his son was thinking.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Spence

    I believe everyone should read this book to have a better understanding of what the families of severely autistic children may have to cope with.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marbeth Lynch

    Heartfelt and uplifting This book was truly inspirational and helped me to come to terms with the news that my youngest is on the spectrum. This book gave me hope, knowledge and insight to realise that my son will be OK. I loved the humour in this book, and there were some really heartfelt, emotional parts. I found the history of autism fascinating but more than anything I loved that this family worked with their son to ensure he was happy, whilst safe, to go with the flow and not let other's rea Heartfelt and uplifting This book was truly inspirational and helped me to come to terms with the news that my youngest is on the spectrum. This book gave me hope, knowledge and insight to realise that my son will be OK. I loved the humour in this book, and there were some really heartfelt, emotional parts. I found the history of autism fascinating but more than anything I loved that this family worked with their son to ensure he was happy, whilst safe, to go with the flow and not let other's reactions keep them from going out and doing what family's do. I've avoided shops with my youngest for a while now, the tantrums were too painful. I know better now, thanks to the attitude of the author, and won't let the judgement of strangers stop me taking my son anywhere he wants to go or I need to be.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Helene Jones

    Awesome book! I have 5 children (8 altogether) on the spectrum. They are all high functioning but our struggles have been the same with some professionals and definitely Social Services. I too have found the perfect school for my one Son, The Island Project in Meridan, Westmidlands. They practise ABA but not in a controlling way and it has brought about many positive changes whilst maintaining my Son's personality and quirks. My Grandson is very much like David, non verbal and in his own little w Awesome book! I have 5 children (8 altogether) on the spectrum. They are all high functioning but our struggles have been the same with some professionals and definitely Social Services. I too have found the perfect school for my one Son, The Island Project in Meridan, Westmidlands. They practise ABA but not in a controlling way and it has brought about many positive changes whilst maintaining my Son's personality and quirks. My Grandson is very much like David, non verbal and in his own little world but we wouldn't change him! Your book has given me a great insight as to why he might do certain things and how he might perceive life! Thank you for a great read and I wish your family all the best!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lynette

    Heart-breaking but beautiful at the same time. How on earth could anyone possibly cope with a child so disabled no matter how much you loved him, ? but cope somehow they did. What wonderful people Christopher and Nicola Stevens must be. He truly was a lucky little boy to be born into this family. Very thought provoking, humerous at times, and just so unimaginably hard. The lack of support they had for David in the early days was nothing short of disgusting. This is a book I wanted to race through Heart-breaking but beautiful at the same time. How on earth could anyone possibly cope with a child so disabled no matter how much you loved him, ? but cope somehow they did. What wonderful people Christopher and Nicola Stevens must be. He truly was a lucky little boy to be born into this family. Very thought provoking, humerous at times, and just so unimaginably hard. The lack of support they had for David in the early days was nothing short of disgusting. This is a book I wanted to race through to see what would happen next, yet also didn't want it to end. Would dearly love to know how David and his family are doing now that he is older. I hope the progress is still happening and they are managing to have a better family life than in the early days.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    This book is absolutely fantastic. I have read a large number of books on autism including a number from the parents perspective but this is the only book I have read which has given such a clear and honest picture of what it is like to live with a child who is profoundly autistic. It is clearly written from the start of David's life to the present. It gives a real insight into the struggles parents have gaining the support they need but also the difference proper support can make. A great read, This book is absolutely fantastic. I have read a large number of books on autism including a number from the parents perspective but this is the only book I have read which has given such a clear and honest picture of what it is like to live with a child who is profoundly autistic. It is clearly written from the start of David's life to the present. It gives a real insight into the struggles parents have gaining the support they need but also the difference proper support can make. A great read, thoroughly enjoyable.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Very interesting book about the lives of the parents of an Autistic child. The father wrote the book with the daily trials and tribulations of having a child with Autism. I currently have three students in my classroom with Autism. The child in the book mirrors one of my students. I would recommend it to those that are curious about living/working with a child with Autism. It is very true to life as I can say this from my own experiences working with children with Autism in group homes and in th Very interesting book about the lives of the parents of an Autistic child. The father wrote the book with the daily trials and tribulations of having a child with Autism. I currently have three students in my classroom with Autism. The child in the book mirrors one of my students. I would recommend it to those that are curious about living/working with a child with Autism. It is very true to life as I can say this from my own experiences working with children with Autism in group homes and in the classroom.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Debs Ellen

    If you only ever read one book about autism, read this one. I have 2 boys with autism at diffrent ends of the spectrum. Ive read alot but this book it the best by far. I constantly recommend it to new parents and friends & family who want to know more about what its really like. Ive read the book myself many times and find myself dipping into over and over again. Well written fantastically vivid. Can not recommend it enough. Just wishing there is a follow on in the pipeline

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    Fantastic and heartfelt account of their story I really enjoyed the voices of the parents retelling the stories of their son. I didn't know much about autism before now and I still don't! Through this book I have learnt what a complicated disability it is to have and its opened my eyes. As much as it was sad to read its also beautiful to read what a loving family David has and what a happy child he is despite his disability. Fantastic and heartfelt account of their story I really enjoyed the voices of the parents retelling the stories of their son. I didn't know much about autism before now and I still don't! Through this book I have learnt what a complicated disability it is to have and its opened my eyes. As much as it was sad to read its also beautiful to read what a loving family David has and what a happy child he is despite his disability.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy Obradovic

    Beautiful Insight Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with the world. I'm a registered LD Nurse and there is nowhere near enough support out there for individuals and their families. You have captured autism so beautifully and I truly believe David is lucky to have such understanding, supportive and loving parents! Really enjoyed your book and hope millions other pick it up too. Beautiful Insight Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with the world. I'm a registered LD Nurse and there is nowhere near enough support out there for individuals and their families. You have captured autism so beautifully and I truly believe David is lucky to have such understanding, supportive and loving parents! Really enjoyed your book and hope millions other pick it up too.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This book is amazing. It tells an amazing story about what parents go through. Working in the education field and working as TA I can only see what we go through at school. Reading about what goes on at home and what parents go through. There were parts in the book were I laughed because we go through the same thing!!! An amazing book for anyone to read but working in the education field as TA it is a must read!!!!!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I really enjoyed this book as my younger brother also has autism on the same spectrum as David in this book. I really learned a lot as I was reading and I could definitely see the similarities between my brother and David. I'd definitely recommend this book to people who would like a better understanding of what autism is like. I really enjoyed this book as my younger brother also has autism on the same spectrum as David in this book. I really learned a lot as I was reading and I could definitely see the similarities between my brother and David. I'd definitely recommend this book to people who would like a better understanding of what autism is like.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura Perry

    Brilliant book This is a great story on living with autism at its severest form and how a family at breaking point cope. This should be given to the NAS to let people know there is light at the end of the tunnel x

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Graham

    Amazing I don't think I will ever understand what this family had gone through, but the love and belief they have gave me hope that most challenges can be over commed, my step son gas mild aspergers and some other what went on really made me smile and think of him. Amazing I don't think I will ever understand what this family had gone through, but the love and belief they have gave me hope that most challenges can be over commed, my step son gas mild aspergers and some other what went on really made me smile and think of him.

  24. 4 out of 5

    fay clements

    A dad's beautiful boy!!! This is a different story of a dad's view of having a autistic boy very well put together. I hope James and David are well and Mum-thing and Dad-thing are well and are enjoying life. Much love a mum to an autistic Girl xx A dad's beautiful boy!!! This is a different story of a dad's view of having a autistic boy very well put together. I hope James and David are well and Mum-thing and Dad-thing are well and are enjoying life. Much love a mum to an autistic Girl xx

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amyc

    This was a very touching book about a family who found that their son was profoundly autistic and how they dealt with their struggles.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jane Peck

    made me lol..made me cry..truely amazing,didnt want it to endxxz

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alanna

    Beautifully written. Very honest and insightful account of what it is like to raise a child with autism.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Biggs

    70% of the way, and I can't finish this book. I appreciate how much the author clearly loves his son, but I'm disturbed by his arrogance regarding his son's autism. 70% of the way, and I can't finish this book. I appreciate how much the author clearly loves his son, but I'm disturbed by his arrogance regarding his son's autism.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Sharp

    Fantastic book I chose the 5 star rating because if the bravery commitment and live that comes from this book . just amazing

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nora

    Loved it. Well written, fun, painful and hopeful.

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