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Rupert Isaacson  

Best-Selling Author

In 2004, Rowan Isaacson was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Although his parents, Rupert and Kristin, tried many conventional therapies and medicines with Rowan, nothing seemed to help him connect with the world around him — except riding horses. Rowan had a remarkable response to horses. The Horse Boy is one family’s amazing story about taking the challenge of caring for a child with special needs and turning it into the adventure of a lifetime.

Once Rupert discovered that Rowan could connect with animals, he got him in the saddle right away. While riding, Rowan’s flailing and shouting ceased, and his ability to engage in true back-and-forth conversation slowly developed. Rowan initiated word games, repeated storybooks verbatim, and managed to achieve a miraculous sense of calm.

Having been a travel writer for years, Rupert knew a place in the world where horses intersect with healing — Outer Mongolia. Believing that Rowan’s progress was too great to ignore, Rupert convinced his rightfully skeptical wife to join him and Rowan on an adventure to Outer Mongolia in the summer of 2007.

Isaacson takes readers on his family’s journey and shares Rowan’s wondrous progress, including major improvements in his previously unmanageable tantrums and incontinence, and his first-ever voluntary connection with a child his own age — his very first friend. Rowan is now seven years old and can connect with people, draw pictures, and read at a normal grade level. Although he is not cured of his autism, there is no question that both Rowan and his family have been healed in body and spirit.

Rupert Isaacson was born in London to a South African mother and a Zimbabwean father. He’s the author of The Healing Land, a 2004 New York Times Notable Book about the South African Bushmen healers. Rupert lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Kristin, and their son, Rowan.

At the podium, Isaacson discusses the rise of autism in this country- its impact on children, families and educators. He shares how to find the best treatment for an autistic child, explores the connection between animals and autism, and relates the success of his experiences with Shaman ceremonies in Outer Mongolia that noticeably improved Rowan’s behavior.


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