This book is an anthology of eight inspiring autobiographical journeys about living on the spectrum of autism. All have achieved remarkable academic success despite their challenges, some already with a bestselling book. There’s a common myth that living on the spectrum foretells severe disability, failure or worse—institutionalization. This book was published to challenge these notions for families with a son or daughter higher on the autism spectrum. Each contributor’s insights and wisdom are evidence of ...
This book is an anthology of eight inspiring autobiographical journeys about living on the spectrum of autism. All have achieved remarkable academic success despite their challenges, some already with a bestselling book. There’s a common myth that living on the spectrum foretells severe disability, failure or worse—institutionalization. This book was published to challenge these notions for families with a son or daughter higher on the autism spectrum. Each contributor’s insights and wisdom are evidence of bright, sensitive and successful individuals who have refused to let a diagnosis identify them. They are examples of strength and triumph any of us would be proud to call our own.
Dr. Treffert, noted psychiatrist and expert on savant autism and consultant to the film Rain Man, tells us in his Introduction, “The message of hope in this book is a welcome and refreshing one because in the past, too many times ‘experts’ had recommended institutional care.” Dr. Shore knows this all too well. In his chapter he reflects on a time when a physician saw institutionalization as the best option. There were moments in all the contributors’ lives that were impacted by events, people, circumstances or opportunities. They tell their heartfelt stories in the belief that these will lessen the burden on others, provide hope to readers, and help others on the spectrum pursue what they might now only dream about.
Sometimes it only takes one human being to transform a life. Emmy-Award winning scholar and bestselling author Dr. Temple Grandin makes frequent references to her science teacher who had tremendous confidence in her and how remarkable results were borne of it. Nick Walker talks about one teacher who inspired faith in him, ultimately transforming his pastime of cartooning into serious art—a confidence that continued to build in other aspects of his life. Dr. Willey reveals the pillar her father was in her life and how such love deeply impacted her. Dr. Prince tells how she went from homeless and hopeless to self-discovery and scientific exploration that finally brought purpose and peace.
You will rise to rejoice with all the contributors when they reach the mountaintops and proudly tell you of their successes. But you’ll also take a ride through the swampland of emotions and turmoil. Chapter to chapter you will read and recognize key factors that were important in the young and developing lives of these scholars. They share some of the deepest, even darkest secrets. Dena Gassner writes of the trials and tribulations in relationships and the subsequent violations of trust. You’ll know the torment. You’ll get a sense of the anxieties and fears. And you’ll become aware of the hyper-sensate world of autism where a mere touch of reassurance and love can feel like a blow to the body. Or as Dr. Perner discloses, seeing no useful purpose in mentioning pain as a child when a physician began progressively sticking him harder and harder with a sharp probe expecting a response, then asking, “Don’t you feel anything?”
You’ll see their frustrating sense of incompetence that competes with their other sense of brilliance. You’ll witness their view of intolerance to society’s complete misunderstanding of who they are, of who they want to be, of who they can be. Dr. Paradiz reports what it feels like not to be neurotypical, to battle depression, to stay employed, and concludes that in order for the world to better understand those on the spectrum, “We must do all we can to change attitudes.”
(Editor) Lars Perner, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Clinical Marketing at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, from which he holds a Ph.D. in Marketing. His research interests focus on consumer behavior, non-profit marketing and fundraising, and “win-win” deals.
Darold Treffert, M.D. is presently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin and has appeared on many TV news programs. He has published two books and been a contributor to numerous articles in professional journals.
Dawn Prince, Ph.D. went from being a homeless teenager with no direction to eventually studying primates and earning her Ph.D. in interdisciplinary anthropology in 1997 from the Universität Herisau in Switzerland.
Stephen Shore, Ed.D. is assistant professor at the Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University where he focuses his research and teaching on matching best practices to the needs of people with autism.
Liane Holliday-Willey, Ed.D. is author of four books on Asperger syndrome including the international bestseller “Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome.” She serves on a number of boards.
Valerie Paradiz, PhD. designs curricula and programs for people with Autism Spectrum and related conditions and is author of several books including “Elijah's Cup.” Dr. Paradiz leads trainings in the disability fields and consults nationally and internationally.
Nick Walker, M.A is adjunct faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Studies program and a Ph.D. candidate in Transformative Studies working on a dissertation on neurodiversity, creativity and somatics.
Dena Gassner, MSW began advocating in the autism community in 1989 with the birth of her second child, a son who was diagnosed with autism. She’s an award-winning advocate most recently (2009) receiving the Jo Andrews Award.
Temple Grandin, Ph.D. is a New York Times bestselling author and in 2010, the HBO film “Temple Grandin” won seven Emmy Awards. She is currently a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University where she continues her research.