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Being Seen: Memoir of an Autistic Mother, Immigrant, And Zen Student by Anlor Davin


4 Stars: An Immigrant Story

My search to follow people’s struggles is my need to understand my own, thus why my favorite genre is memoirs. "Being Seen: Memoir of an Autistic Mother, Immigrant, and Zen Student" by Anlor Davin is the ultimate story of a survivor of our “normalized” society that marginalizes those who are on a different spectrum.

A first-person memoir Anlor Davin details her early life in France before emigrating to the U.S. before being diagnosed with autism. The sensory struggles, fitting into the routine of school reminds of my daily observations of being an ESL teacher in China noticing that some of my students may be autistic of course this is speculation, but we have common sense enough to recognize a struggle. Anlor writes “what is sometimes understood as “slowness” in autistic children and adults may simply be a different way of processing." Being part of the “norm” in China is a prideful pursuit, a stubbornness in changing and addressing children’s learning process and physical sensitive as I learned from “Being Seen” comes from shamed and anyone with the power to bring change doesn’t want to step up... Back to the book, Anlor's adaptability and passion when she was young sometimes are hindered by the inability to socially function. The senses we take for granted are heightened for autistic children affecting their system which could have severe consequences for their health. Her family dynamic and which members of her family helped or couldn’t understand is written in fairness with little bitterness in her descriptions.

Once in awhile the book at times is unfocused but Anlor Davin finds her way back to telling her story, moving to Chicago and her interactions made up for some of the not so smooth storytelling transitions. Overall "Being Seen: Memoir of an Autistic Mother, Immigrant, and Zen Student" makes for a compelling read.