A six-year-old has become Britain’s youngest published author after writing a book on how to handle an autistic mum. Heath Grace, who lives in Carnkie, Cornwall with his mother and three-month-old brother Elias, wrote and illustrated My Mummy is Autistic when he was just five. The published book contains a foreword from wildlife presenter Chris Packham, who has Asperger’s.
In the book, Heath explains what it is like living with a parent with autism and it includes hand-drawn illustrations to help explain autism to other children. Alongside the drawings, Heath writes: “If I say lots of words they get stuck in a queue in mummy’s brain and I have a long wait until she hears me.” My Mummy is Autistic is being published by Routledge and will be released this week.
Heath’s mum, Joanna Grace, says: “I am always very proud of Heath, and of course I’m proud of this but more astonished as I never imagined it would get published.” From a young age, Heath learned how to live with his mum’s condition and had to adapt his own behavior. Joanna says the idea for the book stemmed from an encounter at the supermarket when she accidentally ran over his foot with a trolley – as she couldn’t process the words “stop” coming from her son.
“The publishers were especially pleased that the book looks at autism from the point of view of the child regarding the adult, as autism is often portrayed as a child’s ‘problem’, something to be grown out of,” Joanna adds. “We just hope Heath’s book will help other people.”