'Had we had just one wish to be granted in the past in coping with Mark's autism, what would we have asked for? We would have asked for the gift of wisdom. The wisdom that comes with knowledge.'
- Ann Hewetson, Chapter 19
Laughter and Tears is a first-hand account of parenting Mark, a young man with autism, and also of a mother's struggle to understand and appreciate her son's condition. Ann Hewetson's moving and thoughtful account describes Mark's communication problems, sensory integration and food allergies, shared by many people with autism, but also tells of Mark's associated problems like rheumatoid arthritis and bipolar mood swings.
The author recounts how she dedicated her life to finding out more about autism. Aided by her background in research and biology, she delves into the available literature and interweaves the narrative of Mark's life with illuminating pointers drawn from the work of Leo Kanner, Hans Asperger and Carl Delacato among others. Cutting-edge developments in the field, for instance co-existing psychiatric disorders, cognitive behaviour therapy and brain research, are also explained in a way that will be easily understood by any parent. Ann's journey from initial incomprehension and a desire to find a 'solution' to her son's autism concludes with a resolution for both Mark and Ann as they arrive at a deeper understanding of autism and an appreciation of its strengths.
This book will be indispensable to both parents and professionals in offering a unique, reflective account of Mark's exceptional life and also a wide-ranging exploration of useful and innovative approaches to autism.