What prompted us to write a book, you ask?
The idea came from my husband, Frank. Throughout David’s high school years, Frank intermittently brought up the notion. He was convinced that we could help people who were going through similar struggles and apprehensions. We realized that each individual on the spectrum is unique in their characteristics, but how comforting to see others’ ways of coping and growing! There is no exact “how to” cook book that one can follow to make life on the spectrum easy, but why not look to others’ experiences and personalize their ideas if it might help break through a barrier?
After I jokingly forwarded Frank an email from my older brother, also suggesting we write a book, Frank escalated his encouragement. In response to my question of, “When will I find the time?” he shocked me with the following proposal: quit work for one year and devote that time to writing! So adamant was he on its worth that he was willing to make that investment! Though I loved my profession, it took me less than a day to make up my mind to take on the challenge. Dave agreed, convinced that he could write during summers and school breaks.
Throughout our journey, David and I encountered so many people who had misconceptions and stereotypes regarding autism. Many also made incorrect and unfair assumptions based on how David behaved and appeared on the outside. And because of a lack of acceptance stemming from a lack of understanding, people with autism often endure unacceptable isolation and lack of opportunities. Not only did the two of us come to think of Frank’s idea as an interesting project, but we started to think of it as our duty and responsibility—to be a voice for those who might not have a voice otherwise.
We were blessed with access to resources that improved Dave’s functioning, and we learned a lot on our own through trial and error. We felt we could help people by sharing practical strategies and experiences. We wanted professionals to gain a bird’s eye view into the realities of life with autism; we aimed to provide perspectives that could not be gleaned from their studies. And as a mom who all too clearly remembered sleepless nights fearing the unknown future, we wanted to inspire hope for families in what can be possible. And so we started writing…
That was at the beginning of 2012, and I haven’t returned to clinical nursing since! Our lives have taken surprising and rewarding turns since then. Frank was right…we COULD help many people!