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A Different Sort of Normal

Abigail Balfe

Abigail, the author and illustrator of this exceptional non-fiction book, spent most of her life not knowing she was autistic – she just thought she was weird, as that’s what people called her. This is an honest, funny and touching story of her childhood, told with a newfound understanding following her diagnosis aged 33 and subsequent research about autism.

Half about just being a teenager, half about her experiences as an autistic person, she describes how she views the world, explains things she finds confusing or challenging, and shares strategies she has developed to help deal with stressful situations. Although she spent a long time trying to "fit in", Abigail’s diagnosis has given her the freedom to understand that all people are unique, and their differences should be celebrated.

Insightful, accessible and easy to navigate, this is a wonderful book for all readers, both autistic and allistic (non-autistic), touching on subjects as wide-ranging as school, friendships, puberty and the gender spectrum, as well as things like masking, stimming and sensory sensitivity.

The colourful pages are full of sketchy illustrations, handy diagrams, speech bubbles, funny footnotes, interesting facts and amusing ramblings; and the fundamental message is that autism is not a "disorder" and there is no such thing as "normal".




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