A Slant of Sun by Beth Kephart
One Child's Courage

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At a time when as many as one in five children face the challenge of growing up with a behavioral disorder, more and more parents are finding themselves at a loss to know how best to raise their children.

For Beth Kephart’s son, the diagnosis was "pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified"—a broad spectrum of difficulties, including autistic features. As the author and her husband discover, all that label really means is that their son Jeremy is "different in a million wonderful ways, and also different in ways that need our help."

In intimate, incandescent prose, Kephart shares the painful and inspiring experience of loving a child whose "special needs" bring tremendous frustration and incalculable rewards. "What, in the end, are you fighting for: Normal?" Kephart asks. "Is normal possible? Can it be defined? . . . And is normal superior to what the child inherently is, to what he aspires to, fights to become, every second of his day?"

With the help of passionate parental involvement and the kindness of a few open hearts, Jeremy slowly emerges from a world of obsessive play rituals, atypical language constructions, endless pacing, and lonely frustrations. Triumphantly, he begins to engage others, describe his thoughts and passions, build essential friendships. Ultimately this is a story of the shallowness of medical labels compared to a child's courage and a mother's love, of which Kephart writes, "Nothing erodes it. It is not sand on a beach. It is the nuclear heart of things—hard as the rock of this earth."

About Beth Kephart

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Beth Kephart's first book was a National Book Award finalist & was named a best book of the year by "Salon," the "Philadelphia Inquirer," & others. Kephart has won a 2000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 1998 Leeway grant, & the 1997 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts top grant for fiction. Her essays & articles have appeared in magazine nationwide. She lives in Pennsylvania.
Published June 17, 1998 by W. W. Norton & Company. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Parenting & Relationships, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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She endlessly spoke her own thoughts aloud to Jeremy to keep him connected to the world of words, and she continually read and told him stories to help him develop an empathy for others, a quality Jeremy lacked.

| Read Full Review of A Slant of Sun: One Child's C...


In page after page of intimate, searching prose, Kephart tells the story of her only child, Jeremy, who at age 2 was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), a condition sometimes linked to autism.

Nov 18 1998 | Read Full Review of A Slant of Sun: One Child's C...

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