Written By: Yvon Roy
Illustrated By: Yvon Roy
Published By: Titan Comics
Release Date: May 25th 2021
Nobody ever expects parenthood to go smoothly, but it is still one of the most rewarding moments in a person’s life when they are given the opportunity to become a Mom or Dad. For author Yvon Roy, he decided to tell his family’s story through his art. This is the story of how a parent learns to navigate and learn to adapt to their son’s autism diagnosis, whilst supporting them the entire way.
In order not to tiptoe around the word ‘autism’ and hopefully not make any uneducated remarks, I decided to do a quick read into the condition. For those that would also like to know more before reading this article and purchasing the book – which after this review I highly suggest doing so!
The definition of Autism includes the following: “Autism affects information processing in the brain and how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood.”
This often results in problems maintaining eye contact, emotional and communication challenges. Most of this information I learned from reading this book, as we follow not only young Oliver’s journey of living with Autism, but also how his parents re-evaluate their mindset for how their son will get by in life.
“Little Victories: Autism Through a Father’s Eyes” was written and illustrated by Canadian born author Yvon Roy. Making this book an autobiographical graphic novel, depicting the first few years of his sons’ life. From meeting his partner Chloe, having their first child – Oliver. But over time discovering that he isn’t hitting those all important milestones and thus taking that next step to go to an evaluation clinic in order to better understand their son. It’s at this moment, that the parents are hit with a harsh reality check. That perfect world and life they had built for their son in their heads – comes crashing down around them. Now they must learn the skills and knowledge in order to build once more from the ground up – with Olivers needs being their main focus.
With the strain and pressure of dealing with learning more about Autism and ‘working with’ those that ‘obviously’ know far more about your son than you ever could. Tension grew high, tempers grew short, something was going to give – resulting in the perfect couple going two different ways. Their focus though – always remaining on Oliver!
This book has been an incredible eye opener – not only into understanding more about Autism. But also the struggles involved with gaining support, help, understanding and then the pressure, strain and breakdowns that the parents ultimately go through. It began as such a sad read, but by the end all I want to do is buy the book and give it to anyone I may know that may be going through similar scenarios. Just so they know – that they ain’t alone in their journey. It truly is a wonderful book, and is no surprise that it has received so many awards including:
- Best Biography Award from the Disability Fund and Society
- INSPIREO High School Students Award for the most inspiring youth book
- Literary Award for Citizenship from the Maine Teachers’ League
Perhaps one of the best aspects about this book, is that it shows the daily struggles they face. From working on improving his attention span, making progress on his eye contact, building confidence, his ability to allow sudden change and being able to manage his own worries by himself. The other important lesson in this book is to never allow your own opinion to be pushed aside by the ‘professionals’. You are the parent at the end of the day, the one that has been raising your child every single day of their life. You know their behaviours better than anyone, their triggers, episodes and how best to calm them. The professionals are there to give you help and support, by providing all the information that they know. The ideas and strategies that the author puts in place to better communicate with their son and help them adjust to the World around them, are genius. There has been trial and error along the way, but including these in this book may help another family down the road. That is the best reward any author can receive, knowing that their work can be of benefit to those that need it.
Perhaps one day schools can include graphic novels like this in their curriculum, for this book to be in many libraries and support centres around the World. It gives a real life account from a parents point of view, as they recount their experiences along the way. By providing a detailed insight to what may lie ahead for many, a kind word or two, some advice and ultimately a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. This book is more here for the parents that continue to struggle with the challenges of Autism, but is at the same time a book that should be read by all.
You can purchase your copy of “Little Victories: Autism Through a Father’s Eyes” from all good bookshops, online retailers and ComiXology from the 26th May.