NZ: He's not naughty - so why is he behaving like that?

Jane Smith

Autism! We've all heard the word, but what is Autism and how much do we really know and understand about it?

For kiwi father James Smith, bringing a unique book to New Zealand to promote the understanding and awareness of Autism was a way of helping others like his son Zachary (6) who was diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum when he was just three years old.

The book, titled "He's Not Naughty!" is an excellent resource for parents of those who have just received an Autism diagnosis to help them understand the condition and also for those who would like to know more about Autism. The 67 page book has been created for children and adults alike and is a quick and fun way of explaining to family, friends and classmates why children with Autism behave the way they do.

James was first introduced to the book when he met the author; UK based Deborah Brownson, through a family friend who also happens to be a Parliamentary Minister. This Minister was very impressed with the book after seeing it in an MP's office in London and knew it would be an excellent resource for New Zealand educationalists and parents.

James ordered a shipment of books, set up a website and is now promoting “He’s Not Naughty!” in New Zealand to help address what James sees as a huge lack of understanding of Autism and the associated behaviours in schools. James says “the key to kids with Autism being able to thrive is to channel them in the right way and manage their sensitivities.”


James hopes that if by bringing this book to New Zealand it can help just one teacher, parent, or child recently diagnosed with Autism understand the specific associated behaviours then everyone benefits.

The Author and Illustrator

"He's Not Naughty!" Author Deborah Brownson is a mum to two boys who have Asperger's Syndrome. She wrote this book following her own experience and the feeling of being completely overwhelmed with all the information she was given when they were diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. The book is aptly titled ‘He’s Not Naughty!’ which Deborah says was born out of her utter frustration at the never ending disapproving looks as one or both of her sons had public meltdowns because of their condition.

Before writing the book Deborah worked as a Civil Litigation Solicitor for 10 years before becoming a full time carer for her boys. Deborah also campaigns for better autism awareness in schools and her autism journey has led her to The House of Commons and 10 Downing Street. Deborah has also made a short film with the BBC. In 2017 she was awarded an MBE for her work in raising Autism awareness.

This book has been illustrated by Ben Mason, who also has Asperger's Syndrome.

How do you get a copy of this book?

You can order copies of this book through the website
It retails for NZ$24.99 plus postage and is not available in stores. If you'd like to order four books or more please email: