Sachiko Azuma felt that her first child, Hikaru, was born to her with the morning light; however, the joy she expected from being a mother was short-lived. Her child exhibited unusual behavior, not wanting to be held, seeming to not hear people when they spoke to him. Being confused as to what was wrong, she sought help from doctors who misdiagnosed the problem. Eventually learning that her son had autism, Sachiko became motivated to learn more about the disorder with the goal that her son could become a working, independent adult. Now, Sachiko continues to face the struggles of raising a child with special needs, while attempting to help seemingly-uninterested people understand more about autism.
Daikichi's grandfather dies, leaving behind a young daughter named Rin. However, as most of the family is embarrassed at the idea of a 79-year-old man having a six-year-old child, they can't seem to figure out what to do with her. Disgusted by this behavior, Daikichi decides to take care of her himself, but he's a bachelor, has no idea how to raise a child, and doesn't even like kids! Now, Daikichi must do the normal things a parent does such as enroll her in school, buy her clothing and teach her about the life and world around her. But more importantly, he must also help her deal with her father's death and decide whether or not she should try to find her mother. Together, the two begin their unlikely relationship as father and daughter.
With the Light and Usagi Drop are two series about people who are presented with children under unexpected circumstances. The main character in With the Light gives birth to a son who has autism, something she has very little knowledge of, while the main character from Usagi Drop is a bachelor that is presented with an orphaned child, when he has little esteem for children in general. Both are forced to try to cope with the unforeseen developments in their lives, and the stories are told from these new parents' perspectives. With the Light is far more dramatic than Usagi Drop, but both series blend comedy and serious situations.
Both mangas focus on awareness, with each developing a character who faces challenges, due to physical and psychological differences, most people do not have to deal with. With IS, it's intersexuality, and autism in With the Light. Both focus on a young child (except for the first volume of IS), and the mangas follow them as they grow up.
Tomomi is a high school dropout who was tragically responsible for crippling a beautiful girl he had just met; Kiyoharu is an ex track star whose bone cancer confined him to a wheelchair as a child; and Takahashi is newly handicapped due to an accident on his bike, stripping him as captain of the basketball team and his status as the alpha male of his gang of friends. Each of these young men shares something in common – their love for basketball. Though society may look down on them, these new friends will come to terms with themselves and their situations, and show their love of the game.
These manga are fundementally very different, though they are meant to appeal to older audiences, Real being a seinen and With the Light being a josei. The major linking factor is that they both deal with a wide range of disabilities, Real featuring physical disabilities and With the Light highlighting mental or neurological disabilities. If you enjoy reading about characters with realistic disabilities, I suggest both of these manga. They are presented in different ways, though both handle disabilities realistically, respectfully, and in a way that they can be understood better by the reader who may not have experienced a disabilty firsthand.