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Running with Walker: A Memoir

Running with Walker: A Memoir

Paperback Memoir

By (author) Robert Hughes

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  • Format: Paperback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 210mm x 15mm | 369g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2003
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1843107554
  • ISBN 13: 9781843107552
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, ports.
  • Sales rank: 1,422,162

Product description

Walker is a low-functioning autistic, the opposite of the popular image of the autistic portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man. His father, Robert Hughes, tells a touching and inspiring story of discovering that their "perfect little boy had a problem." With disarming honesty and humor, the book tells how a family copes and keeps hope alive despite the staggering difficulties autism presents. By the time he was three, Walker's parents were concerned enough about his delayed development to consult a pediatric neurologist. Doctors diagnosed autism and issued a grim prognosis, "I hold out no hope for this child." But the specialists hadn't accounted for Walker's intelligence, affection, and needling sense of humor - or for the remarkable bonds that grew within his family.

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Author information

Robert Hughes teaches English at Truman College in Chicago. His articles have appeared in Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, Parents Magazine, and Chicago Magazine.

Review quote

'Running With Walker is the witty and insightful story of another, the first-born son of author Robert Hughes, a Chicago college professor. Hughes describes the mounting terror he and his wife Ellen begin to feel when they realize their beautiful little boy is not "normal" and chronicles their journey into the mysteries of autism. With humor and honesty, Hughes describes the steps and missteps they take in their search for answers, in spite of grim prognosis. "I hold out no hope for this child," one physician tells them This is not a magic-cure book about autism, nor is it a tale of woe. Running with Walker tells what could be a very grim tale with warmth and grace... This book is a rebuttal to anyone who has ever thought "I could never go through that." In the end, this family goes on, always striving and hoping for the best - because that's what families do. - Chicago Parent 'I loved this book. Painful, funny and moving, it highlights the dilemma faced by parents of children with disabilities - the need to keep hope alive, and the fears and concerns of health professional. Good parents avoid labeling and focus on what is positive about their child. Health professionals deal in labels and focus on what is wrong with children. The clash seems inevitable. Robert Hughes writes with disarming honesty about the reality and complexity of parenting an autistic child and of the need to see Walker not as hopeless, but as a unique child with possibilities. Inspirational reading! - Five to Eleven 'The story Hughes tells is tragic and beautiful and full of hope...His memoir is a testimonial to parental love that is endless, selfless, unconditional and all enduring. It is also great reading for anyone.' -Family Time 'Such an affecting and instructive story, and one told so very well: a father's relentless love for his son, offered time and again, no matter the boy's troubles. Here is human connection at its stirring, challenging best - and here is a lesson of family love for all of us to consider.' - Robert Coles, James Agee Professor of Social Ethics, Harvard University

Table of contents

Prologue: Christmas Party, 1997. 1. A New Cult. 2. "Denial". 3. Brothers. 4. Yes and No. 5. Child Development to the Rescue. 6. Homeschooling I: Cemetery School. 7. Homeschooling II: Running with Walker. 8. The Two Walkers. 9. "Nothing is Written". 10. Maureen. 11. Yearning. 12. The Apocalypse. 13. Davy Crashes. 14. Liftoff? 15. Apocalypse, Again. 16. Hope. Epilogue, June 2001.