The Warner Boys: Our Family’s Story of Autism and Hope – Curt Warner, Ana Warner & Dave Boling
When I first heard of this book, I was slightly puzzled. As a fan of the NLF, the name Curt Warner was very familiar to me but it turns out that I had the wrong person in mind. And I am willing to wager that a large number of people who come across this book will also make the same mistake and instead think of the NFL player Kurt Warner, who once played for the New York Giants. Both are retired but only one has a family of four that includes twin sons born with autism. Many of us many know someone who struggles with autism. And others may be teachers who have taught autistic students. Regardless, we can all agree that it is a condition which requires enormous patience and understanding. This is the story of Curt and Ana Warner, two parents faced with the monumental task of raising twin sons born autistic while maintaining family life that includes tow other children.
Since retiring from the NFL in 1990, Warner had remained largely hidden from public life. But with the publication of this book, the creation of his personal website and the Curt Warner Autism Foundation, he and wife Ana are at the forefront of the continuing struggle to understand and solve the mystery of autism. Currently, no one truly knows why some people are born autistic. There have been attempts to diagnose it while a fetus is still in development but an actual cause still eludes doctors. What is known is that there is no cure for it and there may never be. But what we can do as a society is to listen to those who deal with it so that we all can understand what it is and how it affects those born with it. Curt and Ana Warner made the courageous decision to turn their struggle in this incredible book which shows the struggle behind the scenes in a household with autistic children.
Both parents take turns speaking in the book but there is a notation at the beginning of the section so that the reader knows which parent is commenting. The commentary does swtich back and forth quite often and that might be just a little confusing to some readers but both do a great job of staying in sync as the story progresses. And what is clear is that without each other, there was no way the family would have ever survived what can only be described as mind-blowing. My knowledge of autism prior to the book was limited in some ways but having finished the story, I can say for certain that I now have a new found undrestanding for the amount of work required by parents of autistic children.
My only complaint about the book is that I wish it had been longer. As I read through the book, I found myself rooting for Curt, Ana and their kids to pull through as a family. We know today that they have survived many situations that could have been tragic for all involved. The book concludes on a positive note and I hope that the Warners are continuing to enjoy life as much as they can. The bravery they displayed in writing this book is a testament to their character, cemented by their struggle together. Their experiences should remind us all that perseverance, hope and faith are the keys required to make it through even the most difficult situations. Highly recommended.