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A Friend Like Henry

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  2,221 Ratings  ·  315 Reviews
This is the inspiring account of a family's struggle to break into their son's autistic world - and how a dog made the real difference. Dale was still a baby when his parents realised that something wasn't right. Worried, his mother Nuala took him to see several doctors, before finally hearing the word 'autism' for the first time in a specialist's office. Scared but determ ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 26th 2007 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Sep 11, 2011 Readyourselfhealthy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autism, parenting
This is the story of a boy with severe autism and how getting a family dog helped him to 'recover.' It is an emotional rollercoaster of a story and one that is exhausting to witness. The early years with their son were much more than most parents could endure. What I really like about this book is the fact that it shows what can be done with patience and an unwillingness to give up. This boy had severe autism right from birth and no one could predict what he could one day accomplish. Getting a f ...more
Faith Chin
Feb 03, 2012 Faith Chin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grade-6
I think this book was A-MA-ZING!!!! I never knew a non fiction book could be so interesting!!! Never judge a book by its cover!!! This book is about, well, the author herself, Nuala Gardner, her autistic son Dale, and a dog that changed their lives. Yes, a dog. The character I'm going to do today is none other than Dale. The first thing you must know about Dale is that he's autistic. Autism is not a sickness but a condition. It's something you're born with. Dale does have autism, but it was so s ...more
Lydia LaPutka
Aug 17, 2012 Lydia LaPutka rated it really liked it
This book was very enjoyable. I highly recommend it to teachers, dog lovers, and anyone affected by autism. It takes you through many emotions--depression, elation, frustration, heartbreak, joy, anxiety, etc., etc. I think I gasped aloud on several occasions! Any book that elicits that much physical, stark emotion in me is right up my alley.

Having had several mildly autistic students in my years as a teacher, I can't imagine parenting one with classic autism. This author poured her heart and so
A harrowing & inspirational true story of the Gardner family written from the mother's perspective in honest, blunt language.
This is not a flowery, descriptive telling, it is a matter-of-fact recount of day to day life with a severely autistic child. Nuala & Jamie's fight to have Dale's autism recognised & officially diagnosed, the anger & sadness, the depths of despair reached, the exhaustion & the small triumphs that kept them going. The all-consuming struggle to break into
Jun 06, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it
This was nonfiction about a family who watches their young son pulling away into autism. I liked how this wasn't all about the parents and their trials in learning to deal with the effects that autism had on their life. While it did cover that, it was mostly about their son, Dale. And later they had a daughter, and she too was diagnosed with autism. I loved the parental voice in this. They were not perfect. They didn't try to dismiss their mistakes or make all their successes about how wonderful ...more
Aug 26, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it
This was a remarkable true story. I learnt so much about autism from a mother's perspective and how she managed to unlock the people within her children. It is told with honesty and emotion, an important read for any professional dealing with autism.
Jackie Lane
Dec 02, 2015 Jackie Lane rated it really liked it
OMG, I bawled my eyes out at the end of this book. I could barely make it through it.

This is the story of a boy with autism and how through communication through a puppy/dog, he can enter mainstream society.
Mar 30, 2011 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An unexpected loan from a friend, this novel is truly a touching read and I recommend it to all! A Friend Like Henry is about a family's struggle in coping with their son's autism and how a Golden Retriever named Henry changed their lives in ways they couldn't even imagined.

I have no experience dealing with autism, neither do I know anyone with autism, but I do know what some of the signs of it are, and reading this novel, I definitely have developed a greater sense of respect for each and every
Jun 02, 2016 Kalyn rated it it was amazing
Nuala Gardner opens up her family to us and shares the joys and sorrows of raising children with Autism. I applaud her style of not seeking to blame a reason for her children's disability but to use their abilities to expand their worlds. As a special education teacher it can be challenging to work with families that don't carry on the education at home. Nuala Gardner shares her struggles with getting the proper education for her children and unfortunately this can still be a struggle today.
Before reading this book all I knew about autism was that those afflicted with it didn't make eye contact and seemed to be emotionally closed off. This book opened my eyes to what autism is, how incredibly hard both the suffer and parents must work so that they get the right schooling and then succeed in that schooling, and what those strange behaviors may indicate that they are suffering. I found this book fascinating and especially educational for me.
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
What a beautiful story. I never thought about the hurdles parents with autistic kids had to go through. After reading this I now realize just how much harder parenting can be for them. Henry came into this family's life at the right time. A dog's love can provide so much comfort to a human being that it's almost mind boggling. Henry was a very special dog to Dale and I am sure he is now his little guardian angel.

I suggest readers have tissue handy when reading this book.
When Dale was born his mother noticed that he had trouble communicating and had behavioural problems.She suspected that her son was autistic but health professionals seemed happier to blame the parents for the way Dale behaved.This is her struggle to be heard and to find a way into Dale's lonely world.
Very heavy going and I couldn't keep reading about every tantrum the boy had.I was getting mentally tired with the story!
Catarina Vaz
Jan 08, 2016 Catarina Vaz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is very good! It's very emotive! If you get into the story as I did, you'll probably cry a lot at the end.
I learned about autism a lot, so I felt much more cult, personally!
Also I realised how hard life can be sometimes... but even so, how someone manages to live with so many life struggles.
And of course, clearly, dog is Man's best friend.
Danielle Beard
Jun 04, 2015 Danielle Beard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very insightful and poignant.

I really enjoyed this book. I have great respect for the Gardners in how they each dealt with the struggles in their lives and became stronger and wiser through it all. The story of Henry and his love and protection of his family was beautiful. Highly recommend this book.
Jan 23, 2010 Zoe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
I found this story very touching and was very close to crying many times! The way the parents are treated by other people is digusting and it gives the reader hope because the parents keep on fighting. The book contains lots of feeling and is very honest and open, drawing the reader in. It's easy to read and very hard to put down!
Oct 11, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
What a wonderful book about a dog that changes the lives of two children with Autism. Yes, it was a heartwarming story about a Golden Retriever, but it was so much more than that. I found myself riveted by the Gardners' story and how as a family they learned about raising children with Autism.
Oct 18, 2014 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read a book about how dogs can have a therapeutic role in treating autism. But this book read like someone's annual Christmas newsletter. It was dry and personal and not very informative.
Nov 27, 2008 Pauline rated it liked it
True story of parents coping with autism in their son.A real insight into the plight of parents not getting the help they need and how they fight for their childs rights.
Feb 23, 2012 Miz rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting look at autism through a parent's eyes. How difficult the situation, but amazing human resilience.
Dec 14, 2012 Teri rated it really liked it
Such an amazing story!!!
Natalie Williams
Jun 11, 2017 Natalie Williams rated it really liked it
Although I really enjoyed this book and it was amazing to see the progress Dale made, I just couldn't give it 5 stars as there were certain parts I felt quite uncomfortable about - particularly in relation to not celebrating diversity and uniqueness and instead his parents essentially encouraging him to 'hide' the fact from his friends that he's autistic! I've still got the second book to read though, so I'll see if that changes at all. Like I say, it was a brilliant book but just couldn't give ...more
Gillian Wiseman
Jun 19, 2017 Gillian Wiseman rated it really liked it
Very interesting and warm-hearted. Made me want to slap some of the "professionals" who caused the author so much frustration.

My only real dislike was the author's clear buy-in to the old "vaccines cause autism" canard - to the point where they nearly did not vaccinate their daughter - very frustrating to me!
Mar 09, 2016 Anargi rated it it was amazing
Book Information:
Author: Nuala Gardener
Title: A friend like henry
Publication Date: 2007

‘A friend like Henry’ is a true story about Dale, a severely autistic boy, who has difficulty adjusting to his surroundings. He is not diagnosed with autism in his early years, and his family struggles to understand him and him, them. They use many methods to deal with his tantrums that arise from little things that sometimes upsets him. Their biggest challenge is to help Dale understand emotions and to move
Kay Townsend
May 22, 2017 Kay Townsend rated it it was amazing
This was a brilliant book, gave great insight into the world of autism and it was so well written. Yes, I did cry at the end but wouldn't anybody?

Would definitely recommend this book.
Eileen Carter
This book is outstanding. The dedication of Dale's parents and hard work just show that you can never give up hope. It is a remarkable journey that this young boy went on to get from where he was to a functioning, happy was a though one that was made better by a named Henry.
This is a must read for all. It will fill you with hope and a better understanding of the struggles parents of children with autism deal with.
Mar 10, 2017 Mindy rated it liked it
An interesting and heartwarming book about a boy who has autism and his dog "unlocks" his world. It does tend to go on in detail which got boring.
Jun 23, 2014 Katiuscia rated it liked it
La mia recensione completa la trovate qua

La storia del piccolo Dale, narrata direttamente dall'autrice, nonchè madre, Nuala, e della convivenza del piccolo ometto di casa con la sua malattia: l'autismo. In anni in cui anche solo pronunciare quel nome metteva paura, in anni in cui poco o nulla si sapeva di questa malattia, Nuala insieme al marito Jamie cercano con tutte le loro forze di far crescere in modo normale il loro figlio. Tutto è difficile: parlare
Sep 13, 2014 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book kept me riveted as it chronicled a couple's struggles to connect with their autistic son and ensure he got the educational and medical support he deserved. Although he didn't help with the latter, Henry the golden retriever proved to be Nuala and Jamie Gardner's secret weapon in communicating with their son, Dale. Like many toddler/preschool boys, particularly in the United Kingdom, Dale was infatuated with anything Thomas the Tank Engine such that when the Gardners went to pick up the ...more
Cassie Hall
Dec 13, 2011 Cassie Hall rated it it was amazing
A Friend like Henry
The characters in my book were well developed. It was a real life situation. I believe that the mother Nuala was a little harsh at times. Even though your child is born with a mental problem you should love them though anything that comes your way. Her child Dale was born with autism. It’s a hard concept to deal with; it’s something that as parents; you never want your child to have. Dale had no control over what he did. He was too young to understand what was going on; but a
Aug 09, 2011 Kerry rated it really liked it
Shelves: 9, library, non-fiction, 2011
Comments originally posted here.

A Friend Like Henry

I first heard about this book from my mother, and immediately put it on my library hold queue. I just finished it today and I can only say that I'm very glad I did.

This is the story of parents who discover their son has severe autism. After so many struggles, they get a golden retriever puppy they call Henry. Through Henry, Dale finally begins to interact with the world. This is an inspirational book - what amazing parents Dale and his younger
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“To call him a dog hardly seems to do him justice, though in as much as he had four legs, a tail and barked, I admit he was, to all outward appearances. But to those of us who knew him well, he was a perfect gentleman.” 1 likes
“Oh, that’s terrible, that’s not nice.” We immediately stopped what we were doing in the kitchen and hurried through to the lounge, not quite believing that our son was actually sounding as though he felt sorry for someone. On the screen, there was a badly injured woman in a mangled car. We eavesdropped as Dale went on, “Oh, dear, Henry, that’s a shame.” Jamie and I looked at each other in amazement—at long last our son was showing empathy—but with impeccable timing came Dale’s punchline: “It’s all broke, Henry. Poor car.” We resigned ourselves to a slightly longer wait for empathy. Despite our continued efforts to engage with Dale” 0 likes
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