“I can remember the frustration of not being able to talk.
I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out,
so I would just scream.” —Temple Grandin
How can you be heard if you can't speak? How can you tell your story if people don't understand your language? How will the neurotypical world know what living on the spectrum is really like from day to day, if we don't show them?
From the day my son was diagnosed with Autism, one of my biggest concerns was whether people would take the time to understand him. So when Chicken Soup for the Soul announced last year that they were publishing a book of personal stories about kids with Autism and Asperger's, I knew I wanted to be part of it.
CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: Raising Kids on the Spectrum hits bookstore shelves today, marking the sixth annual World Autism Awareness Day and the beginning of Autism Awareness Month. My story, "The Art of Hope," can be found on page 48.
As a contributor, I received my copy early and have had the privilege this past week to read through the rest of the stories, submitted by gifted writers all over North America who speak candidly from the heart about their personal journeys on the spectrum.
I read about compassion and cried; I read about ignorance and stewed. Their tenacity made me proud and their humor made me laugh. Some spoke of traits that were familiar to me while others opened my eyes to colors on the spectrum we have not experienced at all in my home.
Universally, though, they wrote of joy and hope. The struggle for it, the unwavering belief in it, the way it flickers at times or seems ever at arms’ length – and then the suddenness of its presence, the brightness of its glow.
I won’t attempt to reframe their words. You need to read these stories for yourself. I will tell you that they are bursting with love and patience and courage. I am honored to be named among them.
Follow these links to buy your own copy of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: Raising Kids on the Spectrum: