When I walked into the bookstore I expected to see the author, Christine Walker. I didn’t expect to see her husband, three kids and their dog greeting people as they arrived. Once Christine began her presentation it all made sense. Her book, Chasing Hope, was written to help families who have children with mental disorders, and it was her family's collective experiences that are shared in the book.
Christine never imagined that she would be writing a book about childhood mental illness when she brought her oldest son, Schuyler, home from the hospital. By the time her son was two years old, she and her husband, Dave, suspected that there was something wrong. However, it was not until Schulyer was four years old that he was diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar disorder, and autism. She kept searching for help and chasing the hope that she could find the answers for her son’s issues.
To parents who discover that their child has special needs, Christine advises they need to accept a new version of “normal.” Parents will need to adjust their expectations and create new goals to measure the success of their child. Parents don’t have to like it. Simply not liking the situation will not change it. Parents need to learn to deal with it. Being angry and blaming teachers will not help. Rather, parents need to work with the school district to find the options that will work for their child.