Surviving and thriving as a family with autistic twins.
Ana and Curt Warner take turns narrating this powerful tale of life with twin boys with autism. The couple met while Curt was a successful member of the Seattle Seahawks, but this isn’t a sports story. An early priority for the Warners was to build a family, but they first suffered from a tragic stillbirth and miscarriages. Finally, a healthy son, Jonathan, was born, soon followed by twin boys, Austin and Christian. It was soon clear that the twins were not developing normally, but despite a series of physician visits, no answers could be found. At last, they found a doctor who realized right away that the twins had autism, which was, at the time, a little-understood disorder. The Warners’ story is both heart-wrenching and also uplifting, as they chronicle how they learned to handle two children who kicked holes in walls, ate tongue depressors in the doctor’s office, discovered new ways to escape the house, and watched Disney films with absolute obsession. The family struggled through isolation, misplaced guilt, anger, and radical changes in lifestyle, ranging from diet to constant home repair. Two low points drive home the difficulties the couple faced. First, there were Ana’s thoughts of suicide, in which she imagined freeing her husband and older son by driving herself and the twins off a cliff. Second, while playing out a scene from a Disney film, Austin set the family’s house on fire, destroying it and nearly taking his mother’s life. Despite unimaginable struggles, the family survived and even adopted a baby girl. The twins, meanwhile, moved into early adulthood with part-time jobs. Rather than delve into arguments over the causes of autism, the authors focus on awareness and the need for support.
A touching and at times traumatic family story, but always positive and told with love.