The most fascinating thing about the book Mind Tree is that the author is a non – verbal autistic child. He started writing this book at the age of eight and completed it when he was fourteen. The mind of an autistic individual is a mystery and this miraculous author had unveiled this in a simple yet compelling manner.
Every chapter I read automatically produced a visual image of Tito, the protagonist and the world through his eyes. Everybody knows that autistic children have sudden bouts of crying and laughter but why they do it is explained explicitly by Tito. Shadow play, staring at lights, lack of any need for social interaction and other aspects of autism were very clearly explained in this book. The paradoxes in this novel were riveting. Here was a child who couldn’t speak but had enough wisdom and grit to learn writing. He didn’t indulge in individual communication but chose to communicate with the mass audience by writing a book. Autistic children are usually considered to have low emotional quotient but here was a child who was acknowledging his mother’s presence, her journey with him, and her stern approach when she had to break him out of his fascinations obsessions. Also acknowledge her efforts to bring out his communication in writing even though he was nonverbal. I did not know this child but somehow I felt I was living with him and travelling step by step in his journey. I understood my own son better after finishing the first quarter of this book. Some questions that had no answers and left me confused even after meeting psychiatrists and occupational therapists were answered beautifully by Tito in his novel. Every now and then Tito would pen down beautiful poems that expressed his feelings, his perceptions and his world. His mind was communicating through writing skills not just directly but also creatively. The best of literature students would be surprised by the quality of his poems and literary finesse. He had managed to venture into the unknown territory of an autistic child’s mind and shed light on the darkest mysteries of how it works .Reading this book made me ask certain questions. If autistic children were in their own world in a state of trance or meditation wandering through fascinations then how was Tito, displaying mindfulness? Writing is a fine motor skill but creative verbal expression was a gift. Are all these children differently gifted? We call special children differently- abled why not differently gifted?
Here was a special child who had authored a book about his journey so that normal people could read it and use it to work better with their own special kids and develop better parenting skills by being aware of what is going on in their little ones minds. This book is a must read for every therapist, psychiatrist and parent who wish to understand and help their children better. I received it from my neighbour when I was struggling with my child’s autism and therapies in the first year of his diagnosis. My neighbour had read it and passed it on to me to create more awareness. Reading this book changed my perspective of my son and gave me strength and hopes to guide him positively on his journey. I stopped thinking about the future and became mindful of how I can make the best of my present moment with him. The Mind Tree truly planted new seeds of hope in my mind. My exact thoughts as I was finishing this novel were “ God bless this child and his mother for writing this book that serves as a guiding light for every parent who is groping in the dark “ . Do buy this book and read it because life won’t be the same once you complete it. Please let me know in the comment section, what other books you have read.