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From Autism to Print On Demand

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An account of a mother’s struggle to raise an autistic child whilst going on to becoming a director of a publishing company

Shahida Rahman published ‘Ibrahim – Where in the spectrum does he belong?’ in June 2004, which is an autobiographical account of a mother’s struggle to bring up a child with a learning disorder. It tells the story of Ibrahim and his struggle with Semantic Pragmatic Language Disorder (SPLD), a speech and language disorder which is part of the autistic spectrum disorder.

It highlights the lack of awareness of this condition within our society, but particularly within the Bangladeshi community where autism is not recognised.

Written in a simple and straightforward style, the book traces Ibrahim’s progress at each stage of his early life. It highlights his family’s bewilderment as they try to make sense of his unusual behaviour and inappropriate speech.

It describes how Ibrahim’s father had no contact with his son until he was 10 months old, and how this may have led to his initial lack of understanding and support. As Ibrahim passes through nursery and first school, his mother is left searching for answers. Whilst making slow progress at school, Ibrahim is shown to be a determined and likeable boy.

“Sometimes he becomes angry with his own limitations, but he always strives to do his best” Shahida told me.

Every step forward is a cause of great joy for his mother, and there are many poignant moments as Ibrahim exceeds her expectations.


Ibrahim’s family are an integral part of the book. As well as his parents and two younger brothers, we are introduced to his grandmother, aunts and uncles. Tragically, Ibrahim’s aunt, his mother’s twin sister, died when Ibrahim was six years old. This was an extremely tragic period in Ibrahim’s life, and it had a profound effect on the whole family.

For Ibrahim’s mother, it was a particularly traumatic loss. Ibrahim’s mother had not only lost her sister, but she had lost an ally, the only person who really understood Ibrahim the way his mother did.

The book finally brings us up-to-date, when we reach the stage where Ibrahim starts Chesterton Community College in Cambridge. His mother feels frustrated when Ibrahim repeatedly forgets the simplest of tasks, and her feelings of failure and disappointment are very moving.

“Ibrahim’s vulnerability and difficulty with expressive language are still areas of concern for us, and I end the book by explaining that Ibrahim still needs guidance in many areas of his life.

“However, he has made excellent progress and his mother is confident that he has a bright future ahead of him.”

As we follow Ibrahim's journey, from birth through to his early teenage years, we observe how his struggle to overcome his severe language difficulties have impacted on so many other aspects of his development. Ultimately this is an inspiring tale which provides hope and encouragement for those undergoing similar circumstances.

“I attempted to highlight the lack of awareness of this condition within our society, but particularly within the Asian community where autism is not recognised” she exclaimed.

“The book is listed in the National Autistic Society’s publication catalogue and is available through many internet web sites such as Amazon, Blackwells. Copperfield’s etc.”

In June 2005, Shahida finally published a hardback edition and a revised paperback edition of her book using her own publishing company which was set up with her brother Kal (a distinguished lecturer at Cranfield University). The company was named Perfect Publishers Ltd.

‘Ibrahim – Where in the spectrum does he belong?’ took almost two years to write. The story initially began on 19th December 1990 in Cambridge when her first son, Ibrahim was born. He was a normal, healthy boy and weighed 5lb 15oz.

“Ibrahim was an extremely boisterous child who suffered from SPLD which resulted in difficulties with his gross motor skills. It was difficult to explain this to anyone, least of all the family and this affected every aspect of his life and mine” she mulled.

Ibrahim’s journey form birth to his teenage years was fraught with problems as he struggled through school. However with grit and determination, he has made excellent progress and is able to live life to the full. Ibrahim has now grown into a mature and intelligent boy and has overcome most of his difficulties.

“I found it very challenging to publish my book. I had worked for a long time in the publishing industry and in particular, Print-On-Demand.

“I soon came to realise that starting up my own company Perfect Publishers Ltd. with my own team which comprises top quality Writers, Copywriters, Editors, Illustrators, Cover Designers and Printers and two dedicated company Directors was the avenue I finally followed to get my Hardback book published.”

Shahida found that she could offer authors/writers help in publishing their book in a way that some companies had completely ignored, not just on the quality of the published book and its cover but on royalty payments, marketing, volume discounts and specific packages on poetry and a service for 16’s and under and so much more.

“With this in mind I quickly realised that royalty payments were so much in favour of the publisher when they need not be.

“I have created a great team and a dynamic company which gives 100% royalties to all authors. I passionately believe that ALL royalties should be that of the author and that’s what I offer. This not only makes business sense but common sense too and I was surprised as to why this is so novel within the publishing industry.

“Now that I am a published author, I would like to help others looking to get into the field.”
Perfect Publishers strongly support The National Autistic Society (NAS). Many authors who write books on autism donate their proceeds to The NAS or other notable charitable organisations.

“We will be able to ensure that all royalty proceeds can go to the author who can then decide where it is needed most without Perfect Publishers taking a share.

“Additionally, for any book that is published with us on any topic related to autism we will donate £50 per order to The NAS.”

For more information on autism, please visit

For further information on Shahida’s services please visit

The Midnight run

I ran and ran as fast as I could
Not knowing what would happen and what should
It was easy to know I was in danger
Because I was being followed by a stranger.

My only friend was the moon
Maybe I’d be rescued soon
The hooded stranger was holding a knife
If he got near me, I would probably lose my life.

I ran to the end of a cliff
My arms and my legs were stiff
The man looked at me and waited
I knew for sure it was me he hated.

I turned round and looked down
A raging waterfall, very sure I had to drown
The man sniggered and looked at me
But then I jumped down and suddenly...

I clung to a branch and looked relieved
This is probably a story you wouldn’t believe
The branch snapped and I let out a piercing scream.
Huh? Wait a minute. It was only a dream!

By Ibrahim Rahman

ISBN 1-905-399-00-6 (hardback) £12.99
ISBN 1-905399-05-7 (paperback) £7.99

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