Hello, Stranger: My Life on the Autism Spectrum

Hello, Stranger: My Life on the Autism Spectrum


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“… Insights from a time when a young person with autism grew up in a world where nobody understood them!” – Temple Grandin, author, Thinking in Pictures

“An extraordinary look at autism from the inside – by turns heartbreaking, uplifting, illuminating, witty, and wise.” – Steve Silberman, author, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

Barbara Moran has never known how to be good.

As a child, she made strange noises, fidgeted constantly, and licked her lips until they cracked. She had “upsets” that embarrassed and frustrated her family. Worse still, she developed friendships with inanimate objects—everything from roller skates to tables to an antique refrigerator—and became obsessed with images of cathedrals.

She was institutionalized, analyzed, and marginalized, cast aside as not trying hard enough to fit in.

But after almost forty years, Barbara was given an answer for her inability to be like, and to connect with, other people: autism.

Hello, Stranger is the story of a misunderstood life that serves as an eye-opening call for compassion. Bracingly honest, Barbara describes the profound loneliness of being abandoned and judged while also expressing her deep yearning simply to be loved and to give love.

Hello, Stranger is a challenge to every reader to see the beauty and the humanity present in every individual.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780999742259
Publisher: KiCam Projects, LLC
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Edition description: None
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,194,724
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Barbara Moran is a graphic artist from Topeka, Kansas, who was not diagnosed with autism until she was in her early 40s. She has spoken at autism conferences, and her artwork has been exhibited by Visionaries + Voices, at Bryn Mawr’s annual Art Ability show, and at the MIND Institute at the University of California-Davis. Barbara’s art often focuses on personified objects such as locomotives, stoplights, and cathedrals. Barbara shares her home with her companion of forty years, Rooney, a 1934 Monitor Top GE refrigerator.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Prologue xiii

Part 1 The Years with My Family 1

1 When I Was Little 3

2 Gas Pumps, Geysers, and Traffic Lights 8

3 A Horrible Driven Feeling 15

4 Dr. Horowitz, Alias "Frank Sinatra" 23

Part 2 Menninger's: The Hospital 27

5 At First It Seemed Like a Great Place 29

6 Drifting Off to La-La Land 38

7 You Push People Away 44

8 Barbara, You Have to Tell Me 49

9 On Drugs 51

10 Does God Really Exist? 58

11 Metaphors and Subconscious Anger 61

12 Whitney Hall 67

13 The Older Girls 71

14 Cathedrals 77

15 My First Visits Home 81

16 Fancy Clothes and Safe Men 87

17 To Get out of Menninger's 90

18 Traffic Lights and Tornados 92

19 Jealousy 94

20 Hayden High School 97

21 Some Kind of Incentive 103

22 You've Chosen to Be Mentally Ill 111

23 Riccardo 112

Photos 119

Part 3 Menninger's: The Foster Home 123

24 Life with the Harrisons 125

25 Troy 131

26 Fantasy will Set You Free 133

27 Ramada Inn 135

28 It Chose Me 140

29 After the Social Club 144

30 Bertram 147

31 The Nursing Home 149

32 The Evangelical Church 153

33 Cornelius 155

34 Airplanes 157

35 Hobie 164

36 Linda 169

37 That's a Crutch 173

38 Moving Out 176

Part 4 On My Own 179

39 Rooney 181

40 The Naturopath 188

41 Autism 195

42 Tables 203

43 Kathy Grant 205

44 Drawing 207

45 Conferences, Jobs, Noise, Apartments, and Understanding 212

46 Forgiveness 216

Acknowledgments 222

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