Part family memoir - what it's like having an autistic child - and part global survey of developments in the understanding of autism, for which the author ("D" in this excerpt) travelled the globe, is A Perfect World, by Wellington journalist David Cohen.
At first glance you might not notice anything amiss. The boy, Eliot, has wide-set dark eyes - his mother's - and a sturdy air. He has just finished a square, gluten-free breakfast. Physically he looks fine, although when he walks across the room you do notice a loping gait. Stroll closer to the table where he remains seated, though, and try to engage him in a bit of conversation and some oddities emerge. Possibly he will avoid your gaze. On a good morning he'll fidget; on a bad morning, of which there are many, he might respond by rocking his body or maybe banging his head on the table several ...
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