With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child, Vol. 3
1 journaler for this copy...
I really love this series, of which I've read Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 8. The series is about the ups and downs of life with an autistic child, and is quite realistic, mixing heartwarming scenes with harrowing ones.
In this volume, Hikaru is in elementary school, and while he's still in special-ed classes he has friends in a regular class that he attends sometimes. His new teacher is trying hard to learn how to communicate better with him, but she's still easily distressed by setbacks - I appreciate the way the series doesn't shy away from this.
We see the family with its own ups and downs; even after all her experience, Hikaru's mom still occasionally misses a beat or is simply overwhelmed with two young kids when one has an accident - or both get the chicken pox!
New characters come to the fore here as well, from some of Hikaru's new classmates - one of whom, Kanata, is a young screen idol whose presence brings squeeing, camera-mad visitors to the classroom, upsetting Hikaru. Kanata's life isn't always easy for him even though he has no developmental problems - but he does have allies and even a bodyguard, a hefty, cheerful girl who takes the position of human shield to protect Kanata from parental paparazzi! (There are some side plots about unkind teasing and gossip in class, with one clique of girls saying ungenerous things - though they get their own turn to reveal that they're not one-dimensional, and don't really mean harm.)
More problems occur when Hikaru's father is pressured to take a foreign transfer - or a demotion - by a manager who clearly wants him out. The poor guy has been such a champ about his family that it hurts to see him put through this, and when he goes out and gets drunk I could sympathize. (There's a dramatic turn to that incident that could have had severe consequences, but kindness from bystanders/witnesses turns that around.)
Most of the latter part of the book deals with a multi-day field trip for Hikaru's class, one that he's going on too - with the help of an additional aide devoted to minding him. There's also the good news that his former teacher, the totally awesome Mr. Aoki, will be there too, but how will Hikaru react to seeing him after so many months? (Understated but touching, that!) Turns out Aoki is sensitive to the replacement-teacher and the new aide, and while he offers them advice when asked, he doesn't try to step in - he says it's their duty now and he won't interfere. He is such a star!
The trip doesn't always go smoothly for Hikaru, whose life is based largely on predictable schedules, clear and limited options, and a sense of control, but the planning has been detailed and his classmates are willing to help out - and be understanding when he doesn't want to participate or gets scared of something - and all goes well. A heartwarming step foreward for our young protagonist and his family and friends!
[There's a TV Tropes page on the series.]
WILD RELEASE NOTES: