Category Archives: empathy

My Book

I started writing my book when I was twelve. I finished when I was fifteen. Now I am sixteen and it is close to publication. It has been a dream of mine for four years. When I started it I had no idea I would write a book. I was sad when I was twelve. I needed an outlet. I started attending regular school then. I was the only non-verbal autistic guy in any of my classes, except the autism room. I was adjusting to a surreal experience. On the one hand I was the only kid in my regular classes who didn’t speak. On the other hand, I was the only kid in the autism class who could type, so I felt unique and a bit alone wherever I was.
I saw a need to help people understand autism better. There were so many misconceptions. Inside I felt the urgency to help change things for my autistic classmates who saw me communicating daily but could only watch. No one thought to try to teach them too. I think I was regarded as unique, a “savant” for communication, and that what I did was irrelevant to them. Many days I wept in that year when I was twelve out of frustration for them.
When I wrote I started to think how I could change things. It was a relief to ventilate my loneliness or anger but that was not going to help them. I started to think about my symptoms. I realized that so many theories about autism are based on external observation by experts who interpret our behavior according to their theories.
My entire education up until I entered regular school was built on these external observations and theories. Lots of them were completely wrong. The real problem was that the non-verbal recipients of this education were too locked in to correct anyone. Not being able to speak, gesture, or write limits your ability to show your true capacity to learn.
So I decided that maybe I was an expert in non-verbal autism because I could explain symptoms from my own experience. The result was that my explanations were different from what my old teachers told my parents, and different from what the expert advice books told them too. My expertise didn’t come from a Masters degree in psychology or a class in Applied Behavior Analysis. It came from my own struggle living with autism since I was born. When I heard experts explain why I did things the way I did, before I could type, communicate, and tell them my opinion, all I could do was write my book mentally and hope one day I could communicate and tell my story.
My book is nearly here at last. Just a short time more and it will be available on It is my story but it is also a window into severe autism. I hope it offers a key to help other severely autistic people out of their prisons too.

Prayers for My Oma

I have a really lovely grandmother. On the outside she is lively, humorous, interested in many things, and she enjoys life and its ups and downs. She had a big family of four children so she is forever thinking about her family, which is a lot bigger now. She is a stubborn woman too. She resists help. She fights against pity. I have seen her recover from a serious injury. At that time she really didn’t look the way she should at all. She could barely walk or talk, and she stopped acting like herself.

Then, she stubbornly recovered. In a worst case for her, to be limited is unthinkable. She gets motivated by challenges. I would like to have more of her fighting spirit in me. Sometimes I get too lazy, I think.

Last week my lovely grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. I found out a day after my graduation. In a way I knew it was serious because my mom and dad were visiting her often in the hospital. My uncle is a doctor and he came to town to see her, and my parents kept getting text messages all day. I never imagined cancer, though. We always thought about her heart, not her cells. She just had surgery and is trying to recover from it. I will be hoping and praying for her.

Since I behave so restlessly I don’t sit quietly easily in a hospital. It’s not a time for me to get restless. She needs quiet. So, my visits are really brief. I try to work on it because I need to. She needs moral support and I need more self control. It’s a thing of too much emotion for me. It’s hard for autistic people to control since we feel the emotions so strongly.

Wishing my grandmother comfort, strength and healing.