Title: With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child (Manga) Distributor: Yen Press Story and art by Keiko Tobe.
Volume: GN 5 / 8
Hikaru is in 6th grade now, reaching the end of his elementary school years and preparing for junior high. Sachiko had hoped for Hikaru to attend the local junior high, but not only is the special education system inadequate, there are bullies there who will try to take advantage of Hikaru. Sachiko will have to work harder than ever to find a perfect school for Hikaru while fighting the board of education that wants Hikaru to attend a school for the disabled.
Volume: GN 6 / 8
For Sachiko and Masato, it seems like only yesterday that their children, Hikaru and Kanon, were little. But these days, Kanon is about to start elementary school, while Hikaru is getting out into society and going to junior high by bus. Time may fly, but in the outside world, some of Hikaru’s actions that were acceptable at home or in his elementary school Special Ed classes just aren’t anymore.
When one of these habits creates chaos during the morning commute, Sachiko has to find a way to clear up a serious misunderstanding with Hikaru’s fellow commuters and take steps to curb any behavior that might stand in the way of Hikaru living in the world as “a cheerful, working adult.” Furthermore, dealing with the negative attitudes that others – including her mother-in-law – have about Hikaru begins to take its toll on Sachiko, especially with Masato occupied at work. Will the stress of facing new challenges presented by Hikaru’s autism drive a rift between the two?
Volume: GN 7 / 8
For most parents, their child’s teenage years are just as bad, if not worse, than the terrible twos. But for Sachiko and Masato Azuma, the situation is further complicated by their son Hikaru’s autism. As puberty strikes, Hikaru’s growing sexual awareness creates uncomfortable and embarrassing situations, and begins to affect his little sister, Kanon. The already-taxed Sachiko must find ways to alleviate the situation, while being mindful of the effects her approach may have on her children and on the people around them.
But when Masato is told he has to relocate again for work, the pressure is really on Sachiko as the decision is made to move in with her mother-in-law, who has always been less-than-accommodating to Hikaru’s needs. With new challenges arising daily — Hikaru tackling adolescence through the lens of autism, Kanon struggling with peer pressure, Masato throwing himself into the new job — will Sachiko, the Azuma family’s rock, succumb to the cracks that have begun to form in her generally cheerful outlook on life?
Volume: GN 8 / 8
While trying to create a place in society for her autistic son, Hikaru, has been an uphill battle, Sachiko Azuma has long known that perhaps the toughest place to find acceptance for him is within her own family. Despite some progress made, Sachiko’s mother-in-law still treats her grandson as a nuisance and sees him in many ways as inferior to his little sister, Kanon.
Now that the Azuma family has moved into Masato’s childhood home, Sachiko must not only adapt to life with her mother-in-law – she also must help Hikaru, whose developmental disabilities make it notoriously difficult for him to accept changes to his routine, adapt to this new living situation and a new school. As Sachiko tries to balance caring for Kanon and Hikaru in the face of her mother-in-law’s constant disapproval, will the Azuma family emerge from what seems like the darkest of tunnels into the light?
Told in completed chapters as well as unfinished pages that the creator drew while battling a long illness, this final volume of With the Light serves as a legacy to the late Keiko Tobe’s inspiring dedication to bring to light the hardships and joys of raising an autistic child for readers around the world.