Tuesday, October 24, 2023


“I don’t think you’re on the autism spectrum” said the man that was now at my author table. It was 2009, it was my first book signing event, and he explained that a person with autism wouldn’t be able to have a public function like this. Thankfully, I was armed with my concept of Alias and I explained to him that, at that moment, I wasn’t Aaron Likens but rather Aaron the author guy. More was said, and eventually I’d present at his masters teaching course at Lindenwood University, but that day I learned the power of the concepts I put forth in Finding Kansas. 

The power of Alias can never be stated enough. I am incredibly shy and quiet, but when playing a role I can be outgoing, such as presenting on a stage. I’m often at a loss of words with which the ease of presenting is now for me, and yet a simple phone call creates an anxiety to which I will do all in my power to avoid using the phone. 

Looking way back in my life, Alias was present in school. Again, I was shy and quiet, but my second-grade teacher would have me be the host of the flash card game, or the states and capitols game, and suddenly words came easy. 

Later in life, employment was the same way. My third job was at a video game store and I had no problem selling things to customers, but trying to socialize with my coworkers always ended in failure, if it were attempted at all.

The concept of Kansas from yesterday can certainly aid in an Alias being formed. For us on the spectrum, we may know more than most about whatever subject our Kansas is, so socializing in the realm of that topic becomes easy, and if there’s a task to perform for that subject, an Alias can quickly form.

I’ve been blessed to have different Aliases from presenting to student bodies, to now working for the NTT INDYCAR Series where I man the flags and sometimes have some impressive guests to my office. During these meetings of celebrities, I’m still steadfast in my Alias and if I’m ever asked what I do outside of racing, I often get a statement I began with on this, “how can you do this? The pressure? The crowds?” Thankfully, I’m armed with this concept, and can explain just how I can do what most people would want to run away from. 

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