Dancing with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free

( 19 )


Meet a remarkable young man. Max doesn’t communicate like we do. But he communicates better than we do about the most important things. Max doesn’t think like we do. But his actions reflect deep spiritual truths. With candor and wit, Emily Colson shares about her personal battles and heartbreak when, as a suddenly single mother, she discovers her only child has autism. Emily illuminates the page with imagery—making you laugh, making you cry, inspiring you to face your own challenges. Chuck Colson, in his most ...

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Dancing with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free

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Meet a remarkable young man. Max doesn’t communicate like we do. But he communicates better than we do about the most important things. Max doesn’t think like we do. But his actions reflect deep spiritual truths. With candor and wit, Emily Colson shares about her personal battles and heartbreak when, as a suddenly single mother, she discovers her only child has autism. Emily illuminates the page with imagery—making you laugh, making you cry, inspiring you to face your own challenges. Chuck Colson, in his most personal writing since Born Again, speaks as a father and grandfather. It is a tender side Max brings out of his grandfather, a side some haven’t seen. As Emily recalls her experiences, we discover that Max’s disability does not so much define who he is, but reveals who we are. Dancing with Max is not a fairy tale with a magical ending. It’s a real life story of grace and second chances and fresh starts in spite of life’s hardest problems. And Max? Max will make you fall in love with life all over again, leaving you dancing with joy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An average of 1 in 110 children has autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disability that affects communication and social skills. Author Colson tells a common tale of life with her autistic son, Max, with uncommon grace and candor; she's a single mom and artist who developed her own visual communication system for working with her son. She is also the daughter of high-profile evangelical Christian leader Chuck Colson, who contributes candid material about his family in front and back matter that surround the main narrative like a paternal embrace. None of this story is easy, or heroic, or happily ever after if readers expect that the autistic son will miraculously arise and be normal. But if the story is rightly understood as the tale of healing a family and portraying the grit and grace in getting up every morning, readers will find a heartening and modest miracle. (Sept.)
Christian Retailing
Being a parent of a child with special needs can be isolating and difficult – and a challenge when it comes to faith – or so Colson found her experience with her now 19-year-old son, Max. In Dancing with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free, Colson shares her experience. Colson – whose husband left when Max was an infant – was overwhelmed with the lack of progress Max was making early on as she saw others his age get along in life just fine, while she suffered through his repeated setbacks and, at times, embarrassing incidents. Finally finding answers, she discovered that Max had autism, enabling her to move forward and grow with Max. In sharing her discovery of God’s gift to Max seeing the world with a different but uncluttered view, Colson will bring hope and encouragement to those who have a child with autism. The book includes a prologue and epilogue by author – and Max’s grandfather – Charles Colson.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310293682
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 9/9/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 716,037
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Chuck Colson (16 de octubre de 1931—21 de abril de 2012) fue un autor, orador y comentarista de radio popular y ampliamente conocido. Antiguo ayudante personal del Presidente Richard Nixon, fundador del ministerio internacional Prison Fellowship y fundador tambien del Colson Center for Christian Worldview, escribio varios libros que han moldeado el pensamiento cristiano, entre ellos Born Again, Loving God, How Now Shall We Live?, La vida buena y La fe. Su programa radial, llamado Break Point, presentado por Prison Fellowship Ministries, continua saliendo diariamente al aire, con ocho millones de radioescuchas. En 1993, Colson recibio el prestigioso Premio Templeton por el Progreso en la Religion. Este premio de un millon de dolares, ademas de todo lo que recibe en sus conferencias y sus derechos de autor sobre sus libros, son donados a Prison Fellowship. En 2008, el Presidente George W. Bush le concedio el segundo reconocimiento en importancia para un civil estadounidense por parte del gobierno de la nacion, la Medalla Presidencial del Ciudadano, por su labor humanitaria con Prison Fellowship Ministries. Se graduo de la Universidad de Brown y la Escuela de Leyes George Washington, y recibio su Doctorado en Derecho con honores. Sirvio en el Cuerpo de Marinos de los Estados Unidos, donde alcanzo el grado de Capitan.

Emily Colson is the daughter of Chuck Colson. She is an artist and writer. After many years as an art and creative director in the field of advertising and design, she now pours her creative gifts into helping her son, Max, who is diagnosed with autism. She has even pioneered an innovative communication system to assist her son. Emily has been a single mother for most of Max's 19 years, with hard-fought lessons of life, love, and laughter. Emily and Max live on the coast of New England, where they can often be found dancing. You can visit her at www.emilycolson.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Dancing with Max

A Mother and Son Who Broke Free
By Emily Colson


Copyright © 2010 Emily Colson and Charles W. Colson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-29368-2

Chapter One


Okay, maybe I was a little rebellious - but whenever my dad reminds me of that, I usually look him straight in the eye and say, "I think I turned out remarkably normal ... all things considered."

I didn't exactly have your normal life experiences, although who has? At seventeen, I was shy, guarded actually, with the self-confidence of a gnat. Which is why on this particular day, with the lamination barely cool on my driver's license, my mom volunteered to lead me through my very first car wash. All my young rebellious nature would be required to do was to follow.

I watched as my mom's 1970s hatchback disappeared into the black hole of foaming spray. I gulped nervously as a burly attendant waved his arm, expecting me to drive my eight-inch-wide wheels into four-inch metal tracks. Did he understand that I couldn't see my wheels? As I pulled forward it sounded as if my tires were screaming at me, the rubber screeching against metal. The attendant signaled me to stop.

I cranked down the window of my boxy old Plymouth Valiant. "Regular wash, please," I said, trying to act cool.

"Hands off the wheel. Foot off the brake. Keep it in neutral," he ordered, pocketing my money.

That's it? I thought. Just sit here?

My car jerked forward, and a frothy wave of water slapped against the windshield. As I was swallowed into the dark hole, I could see huge blue towels lapping tongue-like across my hood. It was such a Jonah-in-the-whale experience that even my feet felt wet. And then I looked down.

Apparently, the tattooed attendant had neglected to inform me that I should close the vents on my car, that ingenious 1970s pre-airconditioning cooling system of little doors beside your ankles. The fact that these vents also blew leaves and road debris into your car tells you how closely this technology mimicked that of the Flintstones'.

There at my feet, gushing through these open vents with hydrant force, was enough water to fill an ocean.

I jammed my foot up against one of the vents but couldn't close it. The water pressure was too great. I pictured myself reaching the exit of the car wash with the interior of my car completely filled with water, like a rolling aquarium. And there I'd be, treading water with my lips stuck to the inside of the roof, sucking out the last bit of oxygen.

With survival at stake, there was only one thing to do: I put my hand on the wheel, threw it in reverse, and hit the gas. With an enormous crack the steel bar that held my car in place snapped. I flew backward, out of the entrance of the car wash, as though I'd been shot out of a whale's blowhole. Oddly enough, the attendant was not as relieved as I was to see me back where I'd started, safely on dry ground.

"Whaddaya doin'?" he screamed in his Boston accent, as he held the sides of his head. "Ya broke my cahwash."

I thought it best not to ask for my money back and did the only logical thing a seventeen-year-old could think of - I drove away as fast as possible.

When I pulled around the corner, my mom was waiting. She rolled down her window and watched as I opened my car door, releasing a splat of sudsy water against the pavement. I waved my hand, motioning for her to drive away, and yelled, "I'd rather wash it myself."

That was many years ago, and I haven't backed out of a car wash since. But I have felt exactly the same way: the challenges ahead looking just as threatening, just as ominous. Pressure is rising and I can see the end. I'm sure I'll run out of oxygen, that I can't possibly survive.

But I have survived.


Excerpted from Dancing with Max by Emily Colson Copyright © 2010 by Emily Colson and Charles W. Colson . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Preface: Emily, Max, and Me by Charles W. Colson....................9
Prologue: Confessions of a Dad by Charles W. Colson....................11
1 Car Wash....................23
2 Staring at the Wall....................26
3 Designing Max....................31
4 Growing Up in the Clouds....................37
5 Skylight Boy....................43
6 Walking....................47
7 Falling Down the stairs....................51
8 Grace....................55
9 Locked in a Closet....................62
10 Children's Hospital with Patti....................71
11 Picture talks....................76
12 Grieving the Dream....................81
13 The Circle....................88
14 A Hole in the Wall....................96
15 Order from Chaos....................103
16 Falling Up....................114
17 Laughing out Loud....................122
18 Out of time....................127
19 Superman....................133
20 Jump In....................141
21 Finding treasure....................146
22 Legacy....................152
23 Dancing at the Back Door....................159
24 Unspoken Grace....................165
25 the Bridge....................171
26 Jumping off the Bridge....................178
Epilogue: Learning to Love by Charles W. Colson....................183
Thank You ....................198
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2012

    Inspirational true story

    Dancing with Max will tug at your heart strings.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 29, 2012

    This book was insprining and easy to follow. Loved reading it.

    This book was insprining and easy to follow. Loved reading it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Beauty and gifts are to be found in autistic children

    Emily Colson's story of her life together with her autistic son, Max is a celebration of life. She acknowledges that the greater the needs of the child, the harder the parents have to fight.

    Yet amidst the sleepless nights and the hard-won battles, she lovingly affirms how Max has changed her life for the better. Indeed, life can be an adventure, even a celebration, while a parent of an autistic son or daughter helps them to become the best that they can be.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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