A Poignant and Inspiring Story of a Family Whose Child Emerges from Autism.
Unlocked begins with a vivid depiction of the author’s life with her autistic son, Ben. Feelings of isolation, self-hate, and even moments of hatred toward her own child in response to his behaviors, as well as the impact on her marriage and younger daughter, impel her to seek solutions for his condition. Through years of trial and error, Susan eventually discovers methods that bring about radical improvement in Ben.
The story, however, is not just about Ben, but also addresses Susan’s own spiritual and psychological struggles—and ultimate transformation—as she and her husband watch Ben go in and out of autism. Through years of intermittent progress and frustrating “steps backwards,” Susan learns that loving Ben means embracing him as he is, day by day, rather than waiting to love him fully “one day when he is cured.”
Told largely through anecdote, Unlocked is, by turns, heart-wrenching and joyful, hopeful and doubt-laden. As we follow young Ben’s exploits into a new social world, our own hearts break as he stumbles, but finally soar as he achieves his dream: genuine, caring, and reciprocal relationships with his peers.
In the end, Unlocked is a story about family, commitment, and the power of embracing, nonjudgmental love.