The Unbreakable Boy: A Story of Courage Through Adversity

the unbreakable boy

One of the most difficult things about living with autism is that many people simply do not understand what it is like.

People see the word “autism,” and they veer away, frightened by its controversial and sometimes saddening connotation. In his new book, “The Unbreakable Boy: a Father’s Fear, a Son’s Courage, and a Story of Unconditional Love,” parent Scott LeRette strives to overturn this tendency by sharing the story of his life with Austin, his eighteen-year-old son with autism.

A hallmark feature of autism is disabled emotional cognition, both in terms of its representation in the self and understanding of it in others. Often, this aspect inhibits persons with ASD, and so they appear to be shy and isolated from the world around them. Such is not the case for Austin. In a recent book-signing event in Des Moines, Austin wandered the aisles of the store, introducing himself to people and sparking conversations with strangers.

His father describes his affinity towards people in an interview with USA Today, where he states: “Austin doesn’t care if you are a four-star general or a friend from school or the guy standing behind him at McDonald’s, the guy living under a bridge, or the king of a country. He loves you no matter who you are or what you do. He’s different from anyone I’ve ever met. His life touches everyone he meets. And he doesn’t even know it.”

In addition to living with ASD, Austin also suffers from a painful bone disease called osteogenesis imperfecta, which causes fractures throughout his entire body. He is frank and open about his struggles; it does not make the teenager uncomfortable when people read about them in the book.

“I’m not uncomfortable about my dad writing the book at all. I’m proud of him,” Austin said in the interview. “I want people to understand what it’s like to have autism.”

Though Austin’s sunny personality is certainly a wonderful facet, Scott does not stray from discussing the downfalls that his son’s condition has had on their family. For every loving moment, there has been an unbreakable tantrum, the possibility of physical injury, and, once, a stay at a psychiatric unit.

The LeRette’s will not be the last family to acknowledge the dangers autism can reap on an individual and their surrounding social support; however, they will be one of the first to extol the unique quality its given their family life. In their memoir, they hope to educate the public about the ups-and-downs of their experiences with autism and share the inspiring love they have for their son.

 Sara Power, Fordham University

This entry was posted in Arts, Autism Advocacy, Autism America, Autism Awareness, Autism Education, Autism in the Family, Personal Essay and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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