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A Different Kind of Boy: A Father's Memoir on Raising a Gifted Child With Autism Paperback – December 15, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Pub; 1 edition (December 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843107155
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843107156
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #954,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A little nine-year-old boy looks down at the gymnasium floor. The room is filled with children who like and respect him, but he has no real friends. He can barely name anyone in his class, and has trouble with the simplest things - recognizing people, pretending, and knowing when people are happy or angry or sad. Much of his life has been filled with anxiety. He is out of step with the world, which to him is mostly a whirlwind that must be actively decoded and put into order. And yet he was only one of seven fourth graders in the United States to ace the National Math Olympiad. In fifth grade he finished second in a national math talent search.That boy is autistic. He is also loving, brilliant and resilient. In this book, his father writes about the joys, fears, frustration, exhilaration, and exhaustion involved in raising his son. He writes about the impact on his family, the travails of navigating the educational system, and the lessons he has learned about life, what it means to connect with other people, and how one builds a life that suits oneself. And, oh, yes, math. Lots about math.

'This book is perfectly suited for anyone who wants to know more about living with a child who is autistic and would be beneficial to family members who have someone on the Autism Spectrum. This will help parents know what struggles other families have gone through and give guidance on how to navigate the system to enable your child to thrive in their surroundings.'- BellaOnline Reviews'Daniel Mont opens our minds and our hearts. In his words: Alex is autistic. Alex is also loving, brilliant and resilient. He has taught me a great deal about life, about what it means to connect with other people and about how one builds a life that suits oneself. Through raising Alex I've learned about a lot of things-how the mind works, how special education should work, the generosity of children, and-oh, yes, math. Lots about math.' - Gifted Education Communicator'This book is a cut above other parent narratives, because of it unsparing honesty, yet its positive view of Alex's strengths'- Book Reviews"'A Different Kind of Boy' is a heartfelt, candid and ultimately inspiring tale of the struggle of a father to teach his gifted child the awareness the boy needs to survive and connect with others, while making the most of his prodigious talents. A Different Kind of Boy is highly recommended reading for any parent of an autistic of specially gifted child.'- The Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Daniel Mont is the father of Alex and Simon Mont. Alex, who is autistic, is now a fully mainstreamed ninth grader. An economist specializing in disability and welfare issues by day, Daniel has been an Assistant Professor at Cornell University, a Principal Analyst for the Congressional Budget Office, and is now with the National Academy of Social Insurance. By night, he is an actor and a writer. Several of his plays have been produced in the Washington, D.C. area and in New York City. He is presently working on a novel.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
A Different Kind Of Boy is highly recommended reading for any parent of an autistic or specially gifted child.
Midwest Book Review
I was deeply touched by the honesty displayed in this book, and found that my thoughts, experiences, and feelings are mirrored by the author's.
J. Evans
The same material could have been covered with a dry, academic style which would really only be read and digested by few.
Larry Tarof

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
I stayed up until 1:30 am last night finishing this book. The Monts' story is moving and engrossing, filled with unexpected and often hilarious delightful surprises. I never laugh out loud when reading, but I did so while reading this one, many times. Alex's back and forth with his dad about the economics of grocery stores and amusement parks, his utter inability to comprehend why Jackie Robinson wasn't welcomed by every major league team ("But why, he was a great player, right?"), and his endless fascination and facility for games (tic-tac-toe with gravity, so that you can't put a symbol in any square that isn't on top of another symbol or at the bottom of the grid - try it!) are particularly memorable.
This first-time author displays a strong, clear writing voice, particularly in the last two-thirds of the book, when it seemed like he really locked into a narrative comfort zone that made the book flow extremely well, not to mention impossible to put down. His use of snippets of quoted dialog throughout the book is particularly striking and effective.
Perhaps more important, the book opens up and explains the world of autism in a way that really allows the reader to understand and feel the nature of the condition. In the course of recounting observations and scenes from his own life and experiences with Alex, he manages to illustrate the various facets of autism and view them from a number of different directions. I found it both fascinating and even mind-blowing in many ways.
I highly recommend this book. For people like me, who are relatively uneducated about the world of autism, it will make you think about people in a new way.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lola Kamp on March 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful memoir of committed parents raising a special child but there is much to be learned in it about being attentive to your child's needs and being an advocate for your own child.
The honesty of this book is a gift to all of us. It lays bare the struggles, self doubts, trials and errors, as well as successes this family has experienced. The author opens a window for us into the life of his family, involving his wife and their younger child who does not have autism, his parents, and his own siblings.
The author describes how they sought resources, worked with the school systems and strategized. Although encounters with unkind, unfeeling or clueless individuals are shown, there are many instances of kindness and support by children and adults that surprised this reader. One comes away amazed by the resourcefulness and committment of these parents.
The book is also enjoyable and interesting. I read it the day I received it and was up until 2am to finish it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David M. Lanham on February 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
At Montgomery Village Middle School, in Montgomery County, Maryland, I was priviledged enough to have the opportunity to have Algebra 1 class with Alex, in 1999. To this day, those in that class still remember him, for how brilliant he obviously was and is. At times, he had to correct our teacher, one who had been teaching algebra for thirty years. He would finish his work and begin working on trigonometry and calculus problems, at least four years ahead of most other student's pace. Not only was he exceedingly bright, he was an honest and trustworthy student. Never would Alex let anyone even take a peek at his paper. And, on top of that, he would sometimes attempt to tell us jokes or tell us about his favorite sports teams. Everyone in the class knew he was autistic, or at the least was not "normal." Howver, he was the most liked student in the class. I have not read this book, but plan to. I just wanted to tell some people of my own experiences with this exceptional person. I wish Alex the best of luck, though, knowing him, I'm sure he would attempt to disprove any theories relating to luck altogether.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Larry Tarof on May 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is worthwhile reading for anyone who has ever been in contact with someone who seems intellectual but is unable to "connect" with people.

The journey of the book, as others have commented, is take the reader through the symptoms, diagnosis and coping with Alex's autism. There exists only a small subset of the population which is autistic and only a small subset of the population capable of digesting, providing insight and sharing live experience with first rate written communication. This book occupies a unique space in that the gifted author has the full life experience with the autistic child, which experience is shared with us all in this book.

Given the subject matter of the book, as others have commented, this book should be required reading for anyone who is in regular contact with a bright autistic person. Yet the insights in this book can go much further. More generally, this book will be helpful to the reader in relating to the bright, unapproachable segment of the population that almost everyone comes into contact with. Many people, of all ages, will gain insight into how to relate better to some of the people in their everyday lives.

Many books are read for their educational value, others for their entertainment. The book is so well-paced and engaging as to provide "edu-tainment" -- you can't put it down, and when you've finished you've learned a lot of new information. The same material could have been covered with a dry, academic style which would really only be read and digested by few. But Daniel Mont, as the modest but extremely bright father in his own right (Ph.Ds don't grow on trees, do they?), displays a gift for real communication. The author seems to understand very well what will motivate the reader to turn the next page.

I highly recommend this book, on so many levels.
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