WASHINGTON (CBS News) - This week on Face the Nation, we spoke with The National Journal's Ron Fournier about his new book "Love That Boy." The book documents the relationship between Fournier and his son Tyler, who was diagnosed late with autism six years ago at the age of twelve. The book came about after Fournier's wife Lori instructed him to step up and spend more time with their son and take him out to see the world.
"We had just learned that these things that we thought were uncomfortable for him: having conversations, looking people in the eyes, modulating his voice, listening to other people, not fixating on things - we realized were unnatural to him. That he was born this way" Fournier said but added, "but he could learn to do these things."
This resulted in Fournier and Tyler embarking on trips to presidential sites and libraries, as Tyler had an "obsession" with history and Fournier himself had already built a successful career as a reporter covering the White House.
"Lori says, 'the presidency is what took you away from our three kids.'" Fournier recalled his wife saying, "So you're going to go to presidential libraries."
Through these trips, Fournier told host John Dickerson, "I learned a lot about him, he learned how to talk to me and let me know what his condition was like."
After the trips Fournier thought that his job of building a relationship with his son was done, but shortly after their last trip Lori insisted that Tyler sit down and speak with Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush - and he did.
Fournier describes his book, "Love That Boy," as a series of chapters that deal with expectations that all parents bring into parenthood. Fournier, however would learn from his son to break loose from those expectations that he had placed on Tyler.
"Yeah, I don't have my 'idealized' son - the one I dreamed of, but I got the 'ideal' son." he said.
John Dickerson asked Ron Fournier during the interview if re-visiting the presidential sites and libraries had made him re-examine the way he looked at the presidency.
"This process has helped me realize that I'm not covering titles." Fournier reflected, "I'm covering human beings."