I'm Not Naughty - I'm Autistic: Jodi's Journey ISBN: 9781843101055
Published by Jessica Kingsley Pub, 2002
12 year old Jodi is severely autistic, but his loving parents have never given up on him. This story, written by his mother but told as though by Jodi himself, gives us insight into a complex personality with much humour and understanding. A normal, happy baby until the age of 18 months and the taking of the MMR vacine, Jodie quite suddenly develops all the symptoms of a child with autism. His parents are convinced that the MMR has had something to do with his developing the devastating symptoms, particularly because he had suffered from febrile convulsions some months before. Whatever the reason, he stopped talking, became withdrawn, wouldn't look anyone in the face, couldn't bear to be touched, and banged his head on the walls and floors. He was to be four and a half before being diagnosed, and then began a long battle trying all sorts of ways to help Jodi 'cross over' into what most of us call 'normality'. His behaviour was highly erratic, and the family found coping with his outbursts very difficult, not helped by the fact that people nearby were often audibly rude about their son. Several things were tried. The Light and Sound Therapy Clinic in London was their first attempt at helping Jodi with Auditory Integration Training. This was expensive, but friends and family helped. Then for a year he had cranial osteopathy, which helped at least temporarily to make him calmer and more alert. Then the Son-Rise Programme was tried. This involved volunteers working with Jodi for an hour at a time, which went on for three years. There was much improvement by the end, and Jodi had begun to use a few words. Since then, Jodi has made some strides, but still has severe problems. These are made clear, but also his family's loving spirit and acceptance of him as he is is abundantly clear too. His mum, writing as herself at the very end of the book, says, 'I have tried to make the story as humorous as possible but in reality there is nothing funny about autism. It is invisible but demanding...and the ripple effects spread throughout our family. Fortunately, we are strong, but many families break under the strain... We worry for his future and what will become of him.' Moving and funny, heart-rending and positive, this story is one for families, for older siblings, for all who know and have reason to love an autistic child. Available from Amazon, from good bookshops, and from the publisher at www.jkp.com.