I bought this book at Booktique mainly because I wanted to support a local indie bookstore that is in a rather precarious situation as it is located within Citylink Mall and the bookstore has had some trouble paying the rent in the past. I guess their situation can’t be helped since Singaporeans are reading less often now, or perhaps they are reading more ebooks instead. So far, the books I’ve bought at Boutique are pretty good. I managed to read ‘A Double Shot Of Happiness’ over the weekend, and I truly enjoyed it.
I don’t know very much about autism. We really don’t hear very much about autistic children in Singapore, even if there are top bloggers with autistic kids. I can’t help but wonder if there is a place for these boys and girls in this country where there’s discrimination based on the color of your skin, the school you go to or that you graduated from, your PSLE scores (good grief!) and when members of the public are always happy to send you stares and glares if your child behaves inappropriately in public.
This book really gives me a double shot of reality and compassion towards people with autism. More importantly, it provides an insight into the life of the carers, the people who are tasked (by God?) to take care of these special individuals usually for the rest of their lives. I cannot help but be awed by Tim Sharp’s unique brand of humor, which has even amused the likes of Cate Blanchett and Wayne Bennett. In a way, individuals like Tim are blessed – they don’t play ‘mind games’ with people, they love and embrace all, and as Tim would say, they are always happy.
Through this book, I got to know more about what Tim and Judy went through, and definitely learned more about autism:
- Autistic children might crave routine and certainty (they might even want their toys lined up a certain way).
- Toilet-training is a big issue. Judy writes that Tim was not fully toilet-trained even by age 7.
- Because of their sensory overload issues, autistic children get affected by certain sounds which can cause them “physical pain”. Even a mother’s heartbeat can upset a baby with autism.
- Children with autism CAN learn to behave better.
- It is really tough raising an autistic child. Without good family support and a supportive spouse, Judy actually became clinically depressed.
- The mother is the only expert on her child. No other experts really matter.
Tim managed to defy the odds largely because of his mother who loves and believes in him. He was the Australian flag-bearer at the Very Special Arts (VSA) Festival in 2004, his Laser Beak Man character is not just on tshirts and cards (it’s also on TV and on stage!) but it’s also on a cover for one of The Ghost Ballerinas’ CDs. As Judy shares in this TEDx talk, Tim was the first person in the world with autism to have his creation turned into an animation series for TV. Click to watch:
I’m really glad I read the book before watching the TEDx video because there’s only so much that Judy can share on stage. Because of her habit of keeping a diary, she’s able to provide so many details and stories, making this book a most illuminating read. I highly recommend all parents who have autistic children to read this book. Judy’s story will provide you comfort while Tim’s success will offer hope. Of course, Tim’s brand of humor will make you smile, chuckle, and laugh out loud!
I bought this book from Booktique at S$33. I highly recommend you get a copy whether you know of someone with autism or not, as it’s such an uplifting read about a mother’s love, a child’s struggles, and how the world can be a wonderful place when we stop putting labels on people and just see them as fellow humans, nothing more and nothing less.