A different childhood

Family & Relationships, Parenting & Families

By Karl Nordling

Publisher : Inkwell Productions

ABOUT Karl Nordling

Karl Nordling
I am the translator of the book A different childhood. It was written in Swedish by the autistic woman Iris Johansson.



This book is the translation of the autobiography of Iris Johansson, an autistic woman in Sweden who grew from an uneducable, non-communicative, tantrum throwing, non-toilet trained, problem child  into a sought-after mentor and consultant making an international career working with at-risk children and their families in jails, hospitals, reform schools and high schools, and consulting with companies on the subjects of conflict resolution, team building, effective communications. 

A different childhood was written by Iris Johansson, an autistic woman from Sweden, and translated by me into English. I am the grandfather of an autistic boy, Ian, and Iris’ book opened such an amazing window for me into the surreal world of an autistic child’s mind that I decided to spend a year to translate it so that Ian’s parents could read it and have the benefit of its insights. With the verbal capability she has acquired as an adult Ms Johansson describes with eloquence, and almost impressionistic expressiveness, her childhood’s mental images and experiences, interwoven with colorful descriptions of the frustrating, sometimes frightening behavior her family experienced. The parallel pictures of her inner world perceptions and her external behavior make A different childhood almost a dictionary of autism, which can help parents and caregivers interpret the meaning of their child’s wordless expressions.

Amazing. An autistic girl overcomes her autism and works later in the different phases of her life as a hairdresser, nurse, teacher, psychologist, and finally as a consultant in situations where there are social difficulties amongst people. But still more amazing: this lady is able to exactly describe what was the quality of her consciousness during the different phases of development from early childhood to adulthood. The description of how her self-perception functioned, her way of communicating with the surrounding world is most interesting and fascinating. Thus Iris is able to see the aura of plants, animals and humans, has extrasensory perceptions, plays with elemental beings. At the same time she describes exactly where she really got the crucial help in her development: from her father, from one of the teachers, from a friend – from humans who tried to understand her and to love her. – The book is a ‘must’ for parents, brothers and sisters, teachers, care givers in special education, for all who are confronted with the phenomena of autism. But the reading of the book is not only a ‘must’ – it is at the same time amusing and exciting.