Following Ezra:What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love from his Extraordinary Son. Finished 9-1-16, rating 4/5, autism, 241 pages, pub. 2011
When Tom Fields-Meyer’s son Ezra was three and showing early signs of autism, a therapist suggested that the father needed to grieve.
“For what?” he asked.
The answer: “For the child he didn’t turn out to be.”
That moment helped strengthen the author’s resolve to do just the opposite: to love the child Ezra was, a quirky boy with a fascinating and complex mind. Full of tender moments and unexpected humor, Following Ezra is the story of a father and son on a ten-year journey from Ezra’s diagnosis to the dawn of his adolescence. It celebrates his growth from a remote toddler to an extraordinary young man, connected in his own remarkable ways to the world around him. from Goodreads
This was the first book that I picked up for Jason after we received Gage’s PDD-nos diagnosis when he was two. Now that I’ve read it I understand that it was the PERFECT book for him at the time and would recommend it to any other dad just entering the autism world. I remember Jason telling me that his big take away was that this dad chose to embrace the obsessions (obviously trains for Gage) and that is something that we still do. But my biggest take away from the book is the utter acceptance of Ezra by his parents. I’m not saying they didn’t struggle, they are parents after all, but they weren’t struggling to change him. This is the approach Jason has always taken and it tones down my, “I can fix this,” attitude.
There was so much that was recognizable here, the sensory issues, the endless loop of questions, the laughing when being corrected that it was comforting to read about Ezra and his continual progress. Fields-Meyer writes with compassion, love and humor about something that turns a family upside down. Not just for dads, but for anyone who wants to understand what autism really looks like day to day, this is a great read. It doesn’t dwell on the therapies but on the boy. As it should be.
This is my first book of my 30 books in 30 days challenge that you can read more about here.