Grace, Under Pressure is a moving story that charts the highs and lows of raising a child with Asperger Syndrome and the physical challenge of training for a long-distance running event.
London-based Walker, a Reuters reporter, marathon runner, and popular Asperger's and parenting blogger, offers an honest and inspiring portrait of parenting a child with the disorder. Diagnosed at age eight, although clues emerged much earlier, Grace is a bright and talented child who struggles with homework, has difficulty making friends, and is often bullied at school. Divorced from Grace's father and now remarried with two stepsons and a two-year-old daughter, Walker chronicles the obstacles she faces while trying to get Grace the help she needs at school. She also delves into her own doubts, worries, self-blame, and fears about Grace, now age 11, and her future, the difficulty of balancing a career and raising a child with a disability, and the challenges of giving attention to her other children and husband (who, with the exception of two-year-old Betty, remain on the periphery). In the midst of her struggles, the author begins running for her own health and sanity as well as to raise money for the U.K.'s National Autistic Society. As she trains, Walker's setbacks and triumphs are mirrored by Grace's parallel journey. Parents of children with Asperger's or other spectrum disorders will find information, validation, and hope in Walker's detailed and moving portrait of a mother/ "Aspie" daughter relationship.