|Shtum by Jem Lester
shtum.: /ʃtʊm/. adjective. Silent; non-communicative.
Ben and Emma’s son Jonah is severely autistic and silent. Life evolves around Johan’s care which is constant and messy and hard. The family is at breaking point. The local Council won’t fund the residential care that Johan desperately needs.
In the hope of swinging the odds in an appeal of Council’s decision, Ben and Johan move in with Ben’s elderly Dad. Single parents get better support, especially if you aren’t coping.
Ben’s Dad is great with Johan while Ben is falling apart. Emma isn’t faring much better.
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Rose Howard is on the autism spectrum but is verbal and bright. Her family life is a bit tricky. Her solo Dad has vowed not be like his own father. This is a struggle for him. He has a sometime job and spends time at the bar on the corner. Rose spends afternoons by herself and cooks dinner every night. Sometimes her Dad is home to eat with her, sometimes he doesn’t eat at all.
Her Dad’s single brother Wesley is Rose’s ally. When Rose is no longer allowed to ride on the school bus he offers to drive her each morning and afternoon. He also takes her places on the weekends sometimes.
One day her Dad arrives home with a stray dog for Rose. She names him Rain because it was raining when he came into their lives. They don’t look for the previous owner because Rain doesn’t have a collar or tags. Rose and Rain become the best of friends.
Rose doesn’t have friends at school. She struggles with her autism and OCD. She confuses the other children by her outbursts of prime numbers and her obsession with homonyms. Her teacher aid stays with her all day and is helping Rose discover how to relate to others.
A superstorm hits and Rose’s Dad lets Rain out without her collar. Rain becomes lost. It is up to Rose to find her. Uncle Wesley helps her but Rose has to make some big decisions. Rose finds out along the way that she is brave and strong and smart.
Recommended to readers 8+ especially fans of ‘A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime”