So if you happened to catch my last Wednesday post you saw that I’m on the tip of finally getting my first picture book self published!
I have been working on “Hugo and Autism” for years. The brainstorming and concept building has been in the process for probably 4 years. This story is about my son mr. L and it is told from the point of view of his younger brother mr. C.
Hugo and Autism is actually the beginning of a book series. I’ve written close to 6 stories and 4 of them have been edited by good friends. This series is about how a boy with autism experiences the world around him, one adventurous day at a time.
The idea all started years ago when my son’s church class didn’t know what to think of my recently diagnosed little boy. The children didn’t understand why he didn’t sit nicely like the rest of them and why he screamed and cried in the hallway. He truly was a conundrum for his little 3-4 year old peers.
So I wrote a “getting to know mr. L” book that explained autism at the level of understanding for little kiddos. The book gave examples of how my son was different, but also how he was the same. Mr. L may have had problems with hitting his head and covering his ears, but he also loved Disney movies, trains, and Doritos just like any other kid.
The short picture book I wrote was a success. After reading it to the children I let the kids ask all the questions they wanted. The book gave them words to articulate a lot of their questions and it helped them to be more understanding of him. The kids became more open to him, wanted to be more helpful and encouraging of him joining them and they no longer acted scared of him. If that’s not a big step towards inclusion I don’t know what is!
Over the years I have helped other parents figure out that their child may have autism, helped them find the strength to get their child diagnosed, and I’ve helped people find services for their child’s disabilities. I’ve advised people on how to handle relationships because of how their child is perceived as different.
I’ve done trainings for teachers and church leaders about what autism is, how they can help, and how they can help families feel included and wanted. I’ve helped in on going educational trainings for people who work in early interventions and work with children with speech delays and autism among other disabilities. I’ve spoke to hundreds of people teaching and advocating for the understanding and inclusion of autism.
And you know what people keep telling me? WRITE A BOOK! 😁
So I finally sat down this year, looked around me and decided, ya know what? I’m not in college anymore, the meltdowns have dissipated for the most part and it was time to write a book.
Hugo and Autism has many uses. It is a teaching tool for those who are unfamiliar with autism. It is a voice for the siblings to special needs children, and it is a social story for both neurotypical and spectrum children. The first book is an introduction of who Alex and Hugo are, but the other stories will follow these siblings to places like the library, beach and park.
Why am I doing this beyond people telling me I should? Because I want to change the world not just for my son but for all people with disabilities. I don’t want to worry if my son will be taken care of at school, if children will be nice to him, if he will be bullied, if people in higher positions will openly mock him, if he will find lasting friendships, and if he will eventually find meaningful employment. So many worries in this world and in this life.
So can I change the world by knocking on every door in the world and sitting down with every person? No. But I can tell another parent they are doing a great job when their child is giving them a rough go. I can help an elderly person in the grocery store find a specific can of soup. If I see an adult with autism having a hard time, I can smile and ask their public helper if I can help- and then help relocate the disabled friend to a quiet spot to regroup. If I see a parent having a hard time getting their bigger autistic child buckled into a car, I can watch their other kids and keep their shopping car from wheeling away. And I can write a children’s picture book!
Maybe I’m hoping for a ripple effect. But that’s why I wrote this book. I’m super excited and I hope you check it out and share the news!
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