Mele Kalikimaka and Hauoli Makahiki Hou 13

From the Land Where Palm Trees Sway ©dswalkerauthor

From the Land Where Palm Trees Sway ©dswalkerauthor

From the land where palm trees sway, I want to share with you my dream for the future, as I wish each of you much peace and joy during the holiday season and throughout the coming year.  I hope and pray 2011 is a year of change, where people make an honest effort to be more open minded and really try to educate themselves about differences by reading books like Delightfully Different or similar stories that explain autism spectrum and/ or other differences.

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream and so do I.  I dream of a world where bystanders, parents, teachers, counselors, principals, and all people stand up to bullies and their parents and let them know it truly is time for change.  I dream of a world that is bully free.  I dream of a world where kindness is rewarded and more highly desired than a football championship.  Kindness, respect, understanding and acceptance should have a greater value in our society.  In the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us everyone.”

Unlike Life, Fiction Makes Forgiveness Look Easy 5

I love fiction because you can write things the way you wish they were.  You can create as much support as you wish were available for families struggling to understand a child’s differences.  Fiction also allows the child with autism spectrum to be presented in a positive light.  Too many times real life does not do this.  People judge harshly when they do not understand, and somethings cannot be taken back.  They can hopefully be forgiven, but forgiveness sometimes takes time.

Most people have trouble forgiving people who deeply wound them, but add the dimension of Asperger’s and multiply the time and effort it takes to forgive by ???  I really do not have an exact number, as like neurotypicals, every individual on the spectrum is unique.  The wounds are certainly deeper, but then I think bullying deeply wounds any child.  Yet, in my book, Delightfully Different, Mia forgives after a couple of years.  I want to be clear; I love fiction!!!

I put most of the responsibility for forgiveness on Mia in the book.  In reality, I know the child with Asperger’s has to see the parent forgive first.  This is not easy for the parent either.  When someone wounds your child how do you forgive?  It certainly is difficult!  That is why I really am grateful to Immaculee Ilibagiza for her example.

Time and infinite support help us to learn how to forgive.  It is not something that comes quickly.  It involves baby steps, three forward, five back, then three-step forward again for what seems like an impossible amount of time, if it happens at all.  It also involves love and patience and acceptance of why the process is so difficult.  Ideally, it involves the other person meeting them at least half way, if not three-quarters of the way repeatedly.  When this does not  happen the process can take longer.  There is still hope, but it does take time.

A friend once told me that it is too bad that we cannot have a do over with our first child, the way we can with a piece of pottery when it crashes.  I really do not want a do over, but I do wish I had done so many things differently.  I love my children the way they are, so I would not do either of them over even if I could, but I would do it differently with the knowledge I have now.

Delightfully Different is a work of fiction, so Mia’s mother did things differently than I did.  She also has two wonderful sisters, while I have none.  The point I am making is do not assume the book is about my family, it really is not.  There are similarities because I am the writer and we write what we know, but I can assure you none of the characters in my story exist in real life.

Therefore, this story is not like Look Me in the Eye or Running with Scissors.  It isn’t like The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night either.  Remember all three of these were about boys or men, not girls.  The only meanness is from the mean girls.  The only sadness is from “normal” life events and the frustration caused by misunderstandings.

The subtle traits Mia’s family and doctors miss are real traits of Asperger’s that are frequently missed especially in girls, the bullying Mia experiences really happens every day in our schools.  The rest is just a story that I totally enjoyed writing, and I hope you will enjoy reading.

I welcome your comments and after you have read the story, I welcome your reviews on the bookstore sites, as well as here.

The Positive Side of Asperger’s

©dswalkerauthor All rights reserved.

There is so much information out there about the struggles associated with an Autism Spectrum Disorder that I feel the need to devote today’s blog to the positives and to other blogs and  websites that are also about the positives. I think there are many positives including the fact that my child, who is now a teenager, has taught me patience, understanding, and to keep reaching for my goal. I know without a doubt that I can trust her because she is honest, trustworthy and reliable. She also is intelligent, talented, and kindhearted. She has excellent rote memory along with the ability to focus for long periods of time on subjects that interest her. She is good with details which is another plus and like Mia in my story, she has amazing insights. Overall, I’m very proud of her but then I suppose most mothers are proud of their children.

Please note that while each site below shares something positive, they are all unique and as with people of all walks of life, each author expresses their own point of view.

My Beautiful Bow — An Adoption Story | Wallingford – seattlepi.com.

When Autistic Children Become Adults – NYTimes.com.

Girls with Asperger’s Syndrome

Purchased Clipart Collection Version 1.2 (2.2) Copyright ©Macmanus. All rights reserved.

Purchased Clipart Collection Version 1.2 (2.2) Copyright ©Macmanus. All rights reserved.

Yesterday parentdish.com posted the above article about Angie Dickinson’s daughter having been misdiagnosed by the psychiatric community at a time when Asperger’s was not a recognized diagnosis. The story was heart breaking as Ms. Dickinson was blamed for her daughter’s behaviors, and due to lack of understanding she received little to no support while raising her daughter.

I wish I could say things have changed drastically, but  mother’s still have to fight for their daughters. At a time when Autism has gotten so much media attention, girls with Asperger’s are still frequently misdiagnosed and they are still misunderstood by their peers and families. I firmly believe that with understanding, tolerance and getting the correct type of support for these girls and their families, they can live fulfilling lives and make wonderful contributions to our society. I know someone on the spectrum who is truly amazing and who I love dearly. She inspired me to write the novel.

I also know that with understanding and support, the temper tantrums so many report as symptoms of Asperger’s can be avoided. There are also so many wonderful qualities of Asperger’s that are rarely reported. I cried when I read about how Ms. Dickinson’s daughter composed music at an early age, and yet her father did not see the talent she inherited from him. Her family instead saw her differences including her reactions to loud noises. Would our society destroy the great classical composers and artist if they lived today and what about the great inventors?  I hope we wouldn’t but at times I wonder. Let’s protect our children so they can accomplish great things.