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The Best Kind of Different: Our Family's Journey with Asperger's Syndrome Hardcover – March 23, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Until the summer of 2007, the word Asperger's, was not a part of Shonda Schilling's vocabulary, but that summer changed everything. By then, her household was in chaos as her son Grant spiraled out of control. His acting out and refusal to listen had grown to epic proportions, but even worse was his apparent inability to relate to the people around him. None of the Schillings' other three kids ever acted like Grant; his behavior wasn't just unruly, it was irrational.

Complicating matters was the fact that Shonda's husband, Curt, was constantly on the road pitching for the Boston Red Sox, so he wasn't always around to see Grant's behavior firsthand. Seemingly everyone Shonda encountered had an opinion—"he's too spoiled," "he needs a good spanking," "he needs more discipline"—but it was a disastrous first attempt at summer camp that told Shonda something was definitely wrong. It was then that a neurologist diagnosed Grant with Asperger's syndrome—a form of high-functioning autism that, in recent years, has been found in children who at first glance appear disruptive and difficult.

Now in The Best Kind of Different, Shonda details every step of her family's journey with Asperger's, offering a parent's perspective on this complicated and increasingly common condition. Looking back on Grant's early years, she describes the signals she missed in his behavior and confronts the guilt that engulfed her after she came to understand just how misguided her parenting had been before the diagnosis. In addition, she talks about the harsh judgment she's faced from people who don't buy into the diagnosis and how she's used passion and information to fight the ignorance of others.

Celebrating Grant's successes and learning from his setbacks, Shonda demonstrates how Asperger's forced her and her husband to reconsider everything they thought they knew about their son and each other, but in the end, it has made their marriage and their family stronger and happier. A tribute to Grant's strength and a candid glimpse into a family coming to terms with its differences, The Best Kind of Different is an intimate portrait of two parents struggling to understand the complex beauty of their son.

About the Author

Shonda Schilling and her husband, Curt, have been married for seventeen years. The Schillings hope that by sharing their family's story, people will come to understand Asperger's in a new way, giving dignity and hope to all those who are touched with these issues. They live with their four children, Gehrig, Gabriella, Grant, and Garrison, in Medfield, Massachusetts.



Shonda Schilling and her husband, Curt, have been married for seventeen years. The Schillings hope that by sharing their family's story, people will come to understand Asperger's in a new way, giving dignity and hope to all those who are touched with these issues. They live with their four children, Gehrig, Gabriella, Grant, and Garrison, in Medfield, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061986836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061986833
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,350,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kimberly Agostino on March 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so excited to receive this book and it did not disappoint. I am the mother of a 4 year old with PDD-NOS and have been told he may "graduate" to an Aspbergers diagnosis. When you're a mother to a child with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum you have your good core friends and family who "understand" and then you have many in the outside world who just don't "get it" when your child is having a sensory meltdown or a meltdown because their very rigid world is not in sync with their ways (i.e. foods, schedules, favorite things/obsessions, etc.). I can't say how nice it felt to read this book and know that someone who you think of as living a priveliged life (the glamorous wife of a major league ballplayer) is going through the same things as you and when Shonda explains how Christmas was interresting because her son, Grant would have his obsessions with particular toys,etc. and then suddently change gears to another obsession right before Christmas (therefore rendering all her previous Christmas purchases useless) I was laughing my head off because my son did the SAME thing last Christmas. Only another fellow "Autism Spectrum Mom" would get this kind of stuff.....and it's comforting to read Shonda's story and know "us Mom's are not alone". Thank you, Shonda for sharing your story and family experiences with your hubby and children. You have no idea how helpful it is to other Mom's going through similar situations. My son also has a huge heart and awareness of other's pain and is very sensitive to others disabilities or feelings. You never hear about this side of the spectrum so it was so refreshing to hear Shonda talk about Grant's softer side (his affection and kindness to his friend in a wheelchair). This book brings so much understanding to the world to accept our children the way they are - the BEST kind of different!
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Format: Hardcover
Shonda's book is an honest and heartfelt journal of her family's life raising a child with a disability, in this case, Asperger's Syndrome. I applaud her candid and emotional writing, so fun and fast to read, that can help not only parents of kids like Grant but also parents whose children will inevitably meet a child like Grant whether at school, at a playground, at a store, etc. Her book makes you cry, giggle, and relate as a parent. I hope this book can help anyone who reads it have a deeper level of compassion and acceptance when around children with any type of disability. Grant is special and clearly so is his mom.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I heard a small part of a radio interview with the authors. They sounded a lot like me--parents with a son with Asperger Syndrome who came to see their son as someone who, although different, has first-rate qualities, not someone to be fixed. What the book focuses on, however, is the parents' lives and lifestyle (the husband was a professional ball player), how their son didn't fall in line with it the way their other children did, and how the parents finally figured out what was wrong and what to do with him. I was really irritated by their attitude of sports being so important to a kid's life, to the extent that they enrolled him in sports for YEARS even though he wasn't enjoying it, would get confused, and had to know that he was (unintentionally)irritating coaches and other players. The authors seem like decent and loving people, but I wish they would have held off writing a book about their son until they could see beyond their own narrow world or sports, school, and achievement.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I simply can not say enough great things about this book!! I literally could NOT put it down and have not been able to quit talking about it since! As a married woman in my thirties with no children I wasn't exactly sure what I would get from this book but I was blown away by the open and honest way that Shonda tells their story! I laughed, I cried and I came away with a feeling of hope - because I don't know how you could read this book and not feel inspired to make a difference. I have already recommended the book to several people whose lives have been touched by any form of autism...but it's so much more than that...I think we could all use a reminder lesson in humanity and compassion from Grant because he truly is the best kind of different and maybe it's something we should all strive for!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was an okay book, but not great. Too much jabber about baseball and too little about Asperger's.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a quick read and is well worth reading if you are interested in Asperger's Syndrome. We are looking for a diagnosis for our child and I saw a lot of things in common with ter Schilling's son and ours. However, it tries to be too many things to too many people -- if you're mostly interested in baseball, there's way too much Asperger's stuff and not enough about baseball, but if you're mostly interested in how to deal with a kid with Asperger's there's way too much about baseball and nowhere near enough about Aspergers. I wanted to know how they managed to deal with their son and the info just wasn't there. Also, the book really downplays how rich the Schillings are (or were). They live in a mansion and could have all kinds of paid help if they wanted it -- but you can't tell from this whether they have it or not. She makes it sound as if she drives all the kids around i her mini van every day, and maybe she does. But they could have a specially trained nanny for him if they wanted to, and if it were me, I would!
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