Schilling offers hope to parents of autistic kids

Wife of retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling to discuss triumphs and trials of parenting a child with autism

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

April 28, 2011
schilling book

Shonda Schilling will speak and sign copies of her book The Best Kind of Different: Our Family’s Journey With Asperger’s Syndrome at UMass Medical School on May 3.


She may be a glamorous A-list celebrity, but when she is caring for her four children, Shonda Schilling, wife of retired Boston Red Sox pitching ace Curt Schilling, is a regular mother dealing with a challenge faced by more and more parents and families. In her 2010 book The Best Kind of Different: Our Family’s Journey with Asperger’s Syndrome, Schilling chronicled her family’s mission to understand their son Grant’s differences, and help him address the challenges often associated with Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Schilling now spends a lot of time and energy speaking publicly about Asperger’s Syndrome and generating awareness for children with other ASDs. She brings her message of hope to UMass Medical School on Tuesday, May 3. 

In celebration of Children’s Mental Health Week, the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative (CANDI) will host Schilling at a lecture and book signing event for those interested in Asperger’s Syndrome and other ASDs. Schilling will speak in Amphitheater I from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., followed by a question and answer session and book signing from 8:30 to 9 p.m.

“For someone so well-known to come out and share her story is really helpful for all of us,” said Celia Brown, mother of an adult child with an ASD, and community liaison for the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, which is home to CANDI. Under the co-leadership of Jean Frazier, MD, the Robert M. and Shirley S. Siff Chair in Autism, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, and vice chair for child and adolescent psychiatry, and David N. Kennedy, PhD, professor of psychiatry and a principal investigator at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Developmental Disabilities, CANDI is one of few research sites in the country committed to conducting studies for diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents with some of the most severe behavioral and emotional challenges. 

Also supporting the event is the Autism Consortium, a network of researchers, clinicians, funders and families from across Massachusetts who are focused on advancing the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of autism. The Consortium and the Shriver Center are making a limited quantity of paperback copies of Schilling’s book available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact Kelly Hurley, Autism Resource Specialist for the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center, at or 508-856-8781 to reserve a copy of The Best Kind of Different: Our Family’s Journey with Asperger’s Syndrome

The talk and book signing, which are free and open to the public, will be preceded by a service providers’ fair starting at 7 p.m. in the Medical School Lobby. Light refreshments will be available. 

Related links:

The Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative (CANDI)

Tea with MDs connects community with child and adolescent psychiatry experts 

Department of Psychiatry brings hope and support to community

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center Autism at Shriver, part 1: Teens get moving, have fun 

Autism at Shriver, part 2: New center offers vital insurance information  

Autism at Shriver, part 3: Creating leaders, changing lives

The Autism Consortium