My Child's Different

The lessons learned from one family’s struggle to unlock their son’s potential.
By Elaine Halligan, with contributions from parenting expert Melissa Hood

Drawing lessons from the transformational journey of a young man who was written off by society but went on to become a budding entrepreneur, My Child’s Different explores the enabling role that parents can play in maximising the potential of children who are seen as ‘different’ or ‘difficult’.

In My Child’s Different Elaine Halligan – a mother of two – tells the true story of her son Sam, who by the age of seven had been excluded from three schools and was later labelled as having a whole host of conditions, ranging from autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) to pathological demand avoidance (PDA) to severe dyslexia. He had become ‘the alphabet kid’. His parents never gave up on him, however, taking positive parenting courses and researching all kinds of different therapies to support him. They believed he was a good and capable person, and that belief in turn gave Sam resilience, grit and an ability to persevere in the face of adversity.

My Child’s Different is much more than a tale of one boy’s educational challenges. It gives hope to all parents and carers who for a variety of reasons may be concerned about what the future holds for their children, and demonstrates how, with the use of positive parenting skills, all children’s potential can be unlocked. My Child’s Different is a celebration of all the unique qualities those who are different bring to society.

  • My Child’s Different is heart breaking but also entertaining and positive
  • Suitable for any parent, or those working with children, who feel their child is different or difficult and shows you how to ensure your child is resilient, can cope with life’s knocks and bounce back in the face of adversity.
  • A story of hope and a celebration of all the unique qualities children with specific learning needs, diagnosed or not, can bring to society. 

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My Child’s Different is an inspiring success story, and not just because Sam, at 22, is showing every sign of realising his full potential. This is a story of what can be overcome when parents really believe in their child – and of what makes the difference.

Dr. Laura Markham, author of Calm Parent, Happy Kids


It is really important that we provide young people with the support they need to succeed and to understand dyslexia as a different and brilliant way of thinking. Alternative thinking can spur creativity and innovation and has the power to change the world. This book shows how with the right support, young people can maximise their potential.

Sir Richard Branson, business magnate, investor, philanthropist and founder of the Virgin Group


Most parents worry about how to bring up their children, especially if they worry their child is in any way different. This book offers both comfort and insight to those in this position. It will really help parents, teachers, and others relate to and better support those children who are different. A definite book to read!

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chanceller, University of Buckingham


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