Wednesday, March 2, 2016

SAME BUT DIFFERENT: Teen Life on the Autism Express by Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, and RJ Peete

Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express
After a heartbreaking diagnosis of autism for one of their young twins, Holly Robinson Peete and her husband, former NFL player, Rodney Peete became dedicated advocates for their son RJ.  When the twins, Ryan Elizabeth and RJ were ten, mother and daughter wrote a picture book titled MY BROTHER CHARLIE that detailed the experiences of having a brother with autism.  Now that the twins are teens, the two have teamed up with their mother to create SAME BUT DIFFERENT about what it's like to experience autism as teenagers.

This captivating fictionalized version of their experience begins with "Charlie" and Callie starting their second year in high school.  Callie is concerned about Charlie because he is repeating ninth grade, and she is worried that she will not be with him as much and unable to stand up for him and protect him.  Charlie on the other hand is not all that upset that he will be on his own, not having to listen to the nagging of his sometimes annoying sister.

The story is written in the alternating voices of Charlie and Callie.  The concerns of Mom and Dad are also expressed as the twins struggle with typical teen problems that are often complicated by Charlie's autism issues.  As a family, they interact and cope with school problems, personal issues, and vacation complications that any family might face, but families with a child diagnosed on the autism spectrum will find the situations that are described especially helpful and inspiring.

SAME BUT DIFFERENT is an interesting and entertaining read for both teens and adults even if autism is not a part of their experience.

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