With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child, Vol. 5

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Press: Yen Press (September 15, 2009)
Publication Date:2009-9
Author Name:Tobe, Keiko


Another school year might be over for Hikaru Azuma, but his mom has no time to rest. 
With both a new teacher and new classmates of different ages and varying disabilities ahead in fifth grade, Sachiko starts preparing for the difficulties that come with sudden changes to her autistic son's routine.
Despite her best efforts, Sachiko meets with much opposition from the new teacher, and the Azumas have to cope with Hikaru acting out as a result of the stressful changes at school.
Moreover, when the time comes for the family to decide on Hikaru's junior high, the local education administrators seem to think that a school for the disabled is the best fit for Hikaru, partly because of his recent behavior.
But Sachiko, who has done her research, knows this to be false.
Will she and Masato be able to convince the authorities and specialists that they know what is best for their son?


Health, Fitness & Dieting,Children's Health,Autism & Asperger's Syndrome,Psychology & Counseling,Child Psychology,Medical Books,Psychology

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Comment List (Total:3)

  •     Great book.
  •     Great find for some reason vol 5and 6 are the hardest to find and the most expensive. I fell in love with this series after I read vol 1 at my local library and was hard pressed to find any so I was glad to find these on Amazon.
  •     This stellar masterpiece of a book makes me think of the 1968 George Harrison song, "The Inner Light" and the spiritual "This Little Light of Mine (I'm Gonna Let it Shine)." This book might make you cry. This book is the 5th in a series about Hikaru Azuma, a child with autism.Since this book was written in the Japanese manga style, readers are also treated to Japanese literary culture. The book's story sequence is from right to left, which is the opposite of most Western languages. A glossary of Japanese words and a list of Japanese holidays and description of services for people with autism are provided as well. Readers are engaging in a form of cultural sharing with this book.Sachiko and Masato Azuma's first child, Hikaru, now 11 has severe autism. Hikaru is a linking of cultures as well. Masato's mother is Western and his late father was plainly Japanese. Sachiko is not Asian. Hikaru is more Asian in appearance. There are other non-Asian and even Eurasian characters as well as one Afro-Asian character in an earlier volume, which provides a "diverse" look at Japan and Japanese culture.Readers are treated to aspects of Japanese culture, such as foods and sources of entertainment. Honorific titles and expressions are explained as well. Readers get a good, clear picture of Japanese culture and services. The book also includes useful websites about autism and can also be seen as a good resource tool.The only thing that bothered me in this book was when a pamphlet entitled "The Rain Man Beside You" was passed along to educate others about autism. "Rain Man" is to autism what Amos & Andy are to the black community. "Rain Man" is a slur in the autism community and is viewed as nothing but a tired cliche and stereotype. Most people with autism are NOTHING like that trite character as prodigious savantism affects less than 10% of people with autism.In this fifth installment, Hikaru, now 11 and in 6th grade is making steady progress under the tutelage of his poorly-matched teacher, Gunji-sensei. Gunji-sensei retires at the end of Hikaru's 5th grade year and is replaced by a man who is at a loss as to how to teach his pupils.Hikaru's new teacher has a history of abuse and has been asked to leave a previous post. Miyu is the only familiar classmate Hikaru has. She is younger than Hikaru and has severe autism.Hikaru's new classmates include two boys with autism, one of whom also appears to have ADD/ADHD and a boy with a mild form of dyslexia. Tsubasa, the boy with dyslexia is the only child in that class who does not present behavioral issues. Ironically, it is Tsubasa who is targeted by the new teacher due to his difficulty in reading and decoding symbols.Readers are treated to the kind peers who befriended Hikaru since their days in day care. Moe-chan, ever Hikaru's protector remains a loyal friend as does the high spirited, outspoken, rough and tumble fun loving Nobuaki as well as their fair-minded, logical friend, Tanaka-kun. Eri-chan, a girl who has known Hikaru since infancy is having challenges of her own in private school and living in a household with domestic violence.Hikaru, like many with autism has language processing issues. Marginally verbal, Hikaru can read and is quite adept at figuring out how to plan things. He does not respond when another child greets him. His younger sister Kanon, 4 often speaks for Hikaru. Sachiko realizes that peer taunts really are upsetting Hikaru. Her claim that her son's mind is blank is a fallacy. Hikaru's mind isn't blank - on the contrary, he remains fixed and focused on whatever he is currently involved in. Rigid thinking patterns are often a part of autism.The illustrations are nothing short of phenomenal and the character development vivid brilliant. Kanon, Hikaru's sister is by now enrolled in day care and has the same outstanding teacher Hikaru, Moe and the others had just a few years earlier. Bright and high spirited, she continues giving her brother crash courses in interaction.Moe, Nobuaki and a peer mentor named Ishida take the special ed students under their wing and voluntarily play and work with them, even though Hikaru's new teacher often turns them away. Ishida, the boy who defended Hikaru at an assembly in an earlier installment once again comes to his defense when two older boys threaten him and try to steal his lunch money. Ishida's continued defense of Hikaru cause the Azumas to think seriously about middle school placement for their son. Hikaru's peers discuss which middle school they want to attend and it is very interesting to get a glimpse into the Japanese educational system.The drawings are magnificent and the characters are very appealing and believable. The rich diversity of characters makes a good thing better.At times, one could easily forget that this is a novel. Serious topics such as death, marriage and child abuse are realistically and sensitively included in this second installment. This book has a preface about people in Japan who have autism. It is very interesting to learn about autism services in other countries. The Japanese character for "autism" is "closed off" or "cloistered self." The irony of the Japanese character for autism is that Hikaru is part of a very integrated community and, thanks to Moe and his wonderful teacher is anything but cloistered.Keiko Tobe has unified people from all over the world with this stellar book. She wisely included explanations and descriptions of Japanese culture and mores as well as some humor. I like the way she talks about people who have influenced this book. While Tobe does not go into great detail about autism, her story and the magnificent drawings clearly depict severely autistic behavior and how it impacts others.This is a delightful book that will remain a bright light in the hearts of all who read it. It is a form of cultural sharing as many readers unfamiliar with manga have learned a lot about this form of art thanks to this stellar series. I was delighted to learn that this will be a continuing series! I'm already looking forward to the next installment!

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