by Shonda Schilling
introduction by Curt Schilling
“In this moving and insightful book, Shonda Schilling explains how she and her family came to understand and appreciate what makes her son Grant the Best Kind of Different. In the process of telling their personal story, she sheds much needed light on this often misunderstood condition.”
In THE BEST KIND OF DIFFERENT (William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; on-sale March 23, 2010), Shonda Schilling, wife of retired Boston Red Sox All-Star pitcher Curt Schilling, shares the painful and joyous story of her son Grant’s struggle with Asperger’s Syndrome, how it changed the lives of her and her husband, and what other parents can learn about this increasingly common diagnosis.
While Asperger’s has been part of the psychological lexicon since the early 1980s, it has only been in the last decade that people have begun to diagnose it on a much larger scale. Part of the dramatic rise in autism diagnoses, Asperger’s falls high on the autism spectrum, meaning that it can often go misunderstood or misdiagnosed because the children seem typical in many other ways.
Until the summer of 2007, the word “Aspergers” was not part of Shonda Schilling’s vocabulary, but that summer changed everything. By then, her household was in chaos as her son Grant spiraled out of control. His acting out and refusal to listen had grown to epic proportions, but even worse was his apparent inability to relate to the people around him. None of the Schillings’ other three kids ever acted like Grant; his behavior wasn’t just unruly, it was irrational.
Complicating matters was the fact that Shonda’s husband Curt was constantly on the road pitching for the Boston Red Sox, so he wasn’t always around to see Grant’s behavior firsthand. Seemingly everyone Shonda encountered had an opinion — “he’s too spoiled,” “he needs a good spanking,” “he needs more discipline” — but a disastrous first attempt at summer camp told Shonda something was definitely wrong. It was then that a neurologist diagnosed Grant with Asperger’s Syndrome.
In THE BEST KIND OF DIFFERENT Shonda details every step in her family’s journey through Asperger’s, offering an intimate and candid portrait of this condition from a parent’s point of view. Shonda chronicles Grant’s early years, confronts the guilt and pain that engulfed her after learning of her son’s condition, and celebrates Grant’s success in the two years since his diagnosis. With insight and helpful advice for parents, she provides an honest and moving glimpse inside her family—as two parents struggle to understand the complex beauty of their son.
THE BEST KIND OF DIFFERENT discusses:
• Shonda and Curt’s surprising reaction to learning their then 7-year-old son Grant has Asperger’s syndrome
• What it’s like in a household where all four of the Schilling children, as well as Curt, have ADHD
• Shonda and Curt’s post-diagnosis guilt as they learned they’d been incorrectly parenting Grant for years
• How Shonda and Grant both wound up on medication, one for depression, the other for ADHD
• Shonda’s embarrassment of Grant’s behavior in public, especially with the added pressure of everyone knowing who they are because of Curt’s MLB status
• How as the wife of a MLB star, Shonda was essentially a single parent for years, and how the realities of life in a baseball family made the situation with Grant even more difficult
• How the Schilling’s eldest son Gehrig, developed anorexia in the middle of the family’s struggle with the Asperger’s diagnosis and how they discovered it
• How the couple went into marriage counseling to save their relationship
• The real reason why Curt Schilling retired from baseball
Read the first chapter of “The Best Kind of Different”
About the Authors:
Shonda and Curt Schilling have been married for seventeen years. In addition to her newfound work raising awareness about Asperger’s syndrome, Shonda is a survivor of malignant melanoma skin cancer, an experience which led her to create the Shade Foundation of America. Curt is a retired All Star pitcher who has won three World Series titles and has pitched for teams including the Philadelphia Phillies, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Boston Red Sox. They have four children and live in Medfield, MA.
BEST KIND OF DIFFERENT: Our Family’s Journey with Asperger’s Syndrome
by Shonda Schilling , introduction by Curt Schilling
William Morrow / March 23, 2010 / Hardcover / $25.99 / ISBN: 9780061986833