This article was originally posted in Sept 2007 but I’ve just discovered a nice video clip to go with it. I only wish the film could be seen in the US.
In the article, The dog who spoke to Dale, you can learn about Nuala Gardner’s autistic son, who was violent and withdrawn. Then Golden Henry the retriever arrived, so saving the family.
Nuala also just published the book, A Friend Like Henry. This is the inspiring account of a family’s struggle to break into their son’s autistic world, and how a dog made the real difference.
Dale was still a baby when his parents realized that something wasn’t right. Worried, his mother Nuala took him to see several doctors, before finally hearing the word ‘autism’ for the first time in a specialist’s office. Scared but determined that Dale should live a fulfilling life, Nuala describes her despair at her son’s condition, her struggle to prevent Dale being excluded from a ‘normal’ education and her sense of hopeless isolation. Dale’s autism was severe and violent and family life was a daily battleground.
But the Gardner’s lives were transformed when they welcomed a gorgeous Golden Retriever into the family. The special bond between Dale and his dog Henry helped them to produce the breakthrough in Dale they had long sought. From taking a bath to saying ‘I love you’, Henry helped introduce Dale to all the normal activities most parents take for granted, and set him on the road to being the charming and well-adjusted young man he is today.