Thirty years ago, when Gloria Doty's daughter, Kalisha, was born, the medical community had not yet discovered all the nuances of autism and Asperger's Syndrome. The baby was first diagnosed as mildly mentally handicapped. By the time she was nine, Kalisha was diagnosed with autism and later, Asperger's Syndrome was added to the mix. Doty chronicles her journey in dealing with raising a special needs child in a world that is ignorant and often lacks compassion for the feelings and emotions of individuals who are seen as different. She portrays her challenging and sometimes heart-wrenching role as a parent and advocate of a special needs child and adult.
This isn't a book containing all the technical data and medical terms that parents of special needs children have heard, read, and will live with for the rest of their lives. It is a journal of the day to day challenges, successes, failures, heartbreaks, and the joys of living with Kalisha from birth to her thirtieth birthday. Doty emphasizes not so much her own struggles as the difficulties faced by her daughter in making her way in this world.
Not Different Enough is a book about parenting a special needs child in particular, but offers much wisdom and insight into parenting any child as well as understanding the quirks and peculiarities of practically anyone. Ms. Doty tells her story in a matter of fact style with all her failures and mistakes left in, punctuated with humorous anecdotes of an unpredictable life.
Kalisha summed up the impact of this book when asked by her mother if she minded having a book written about her life. "I don't care what you write about me, I just want people to know what it's like to be me." Isn't that what most of us would say is our heart's desire?
It has been a long time since I have read a book that I didn't want to put down. Not Different Enough seized my attention in the first chapter and held it to the end.
Update: Ms. Doty won the Author of the Year Award for this book at the Write To Publish Conference 2014.
Gloria Doty authors two blogs about life with Kalisha, Not Different Enough in www.MOMS.fortwayne.com and Getting It Right Occasionally.blogspot.com. Find her other inspirational writings in the 2014 devotional book Penned from the Heart, Hopeful Living devotional and Ruby for Women. She and Kalisha live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I purchased this book for my own reading pleasure and I was not paid to review it.