I now live by the motto, "Understanding is the foundation for hope." It wasn't always that way though...
Being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of 20 was confusing. I mean, I had this diagnosis but didn't know what it meant and sadly, neither did my doctor. I was left to find out what it meant by myself so I did an internet search and the first thing I read, the very first thing I read said, "People with Asperger Syndrome will NEVER have a job, NEVER have friends and NEVER be happy."
After reading those lines it was as if my life ended. I instantly believed those words and tuned all other information about Asperger Syndrome out. I didn't believe there was hope and I slowly retreated from the world. I don't think anyone knew just how depressed I was because I never talked about my emotions.
I stayed this way for almost 15 months. I was bitter, hopeless, and angry at everything. Sometimes my dad would say, "I understand." but how could he? Then, 15 months after being diagnosed, I had had enough. I don't know what fuse blew in my mind, but I had to tell my dad who I was and why I was. Of course, I couldn't speak it, but I went to my computer and I started to write it.
There's a line in my book that says, "All I want is for someone to understand and maybe, just maybe, I will be free." That was the motivation for me to write and I never intended on it being a book that got published. All I wanted was for one person to understand who I was. I also didn't intend on creating a new vocabulary to describe the ways of the autism spectrum as I just wanted to describe to my dad in the best way possible the reasons why I do what I do.
My book is a journey through my thoughts and is at times sad, at times funny, at times hopeful, and most times emotional. As I was writing, I heard a speaker say that, "People on the autism spectrum don't have emotions," and that too was a big motivator for me to continue to write because I knew that I had never heard a bigger lie in my life. We have emotions, maybe more emotions than someone that is "normal," but we have the hardest of times processing it and then expressing it. I was like that my entire life until I discovered writing.
As I said, when I was writing Finding Kansas I never thought it would be something that would bring hope and understanding. From where I am now, I believe that we can have the highest autism awareness level possible and that still won't be enough because without understanding how can society know what it is? Without understanding how can parents make the right choices? This was the sole reason why I wrote. Nobody understood me and I couldn't speak what I thought or what I needed so I wrote to be understood and words can't express what it means to be when I hear from parents that, "through your book I now understand my son."
Finding Kansas available at Amazon.com and other book sellers.