A Road Less Traveled: A Father's Odyssey Through Autism
Griffith details his family’s experience with an autistic child in this memoir, but lackluster prose overwhelms the impact of the vivid story he tells. His son, Zach, was diagnosed as autistic two months before his third birthday, and Griffith describes the frustrating process of seeking funds for appropriate education and counseling services. The emotional stress of this responsibility, coupled with insensitive reactions from strangers and relatives to Zach’s behavior, culminate in confrontations, depression, and suicidal thoughts for Griffith. The examples given of Zach’s behavior in public provide abundant evidence to those unfamiliar with autism of the family’s determination in caring for Zach. Griffith’s forthrightness about his reactions to these public scenes may enhance the importance of his experiences for other parents, his intended audience, but he is also given to facile generalizations. However, the author’s ability to move beyond his initial denial of Zach’s autism diagnosis to a place of acceptance suggests that his journey on the road less traveled has indeed been one of progress. This prospect will please readers and, perhaps, help bolster the resolve of people caring for autistic children.