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Did not finish. As I thought, this book is thick with ableism, which is no surprise given its title and the non disabled parents raving over it .
Jackson, an 11 year old boy is described as neurodiverse. His mum Julia works as a music therapist. His sisters are not like him.
The book’s title is othering. The Unusual Boy suggests he’s outside of the “norm”. Whatever normal is, anyway it establishes ableism from the outset.
A search of the ebook shows that “autism” and “disability” and “disabled” are not used. What is it with writers who shy away from actually saying the word? Do they think it’s offensive or do they want the reader to form their armchair diagnosis?
Jackson’s character is written with so many stereotypes of autism- mostly swaying on the odd side. There are also some harmful characteristics thrown in - both harmful behaviour and harmful tropes about autism.
Own voices matter, and I don’t believe Higgins is autistic or disabled, and reading the acknowledgments, I don’t believe those she credited as helping with the research for this book are, either.
This book is aimed at giving readers an insight into parenting a disabled child and also an insight into being a disabled child. Sadly, it only reinforces negative stereotypes like disabled people are burdens, hard to manage, violent, friendless, lacking in social boundaries and unusual.