It’s World Autism Awareness Day once again. So often we hear about children on the autism spectrum and what kinds of challenges they face, not only as kids, but as they transition into adulthood. A lot of times, I read or hear something about autism that takes such a negative outlook, describing how hard life is both for the people on the autism spectrum and their families. I won’t deny life can be difficult and some days doing the most basic things can seem like insurmountable obstacles. If I said life was always sunshine and rainbows when you have an autism spectrum disorder, I’d be lying. But why should so much focus be placed on those difficulties?
Instead of focusing on what people on the autism spectrum can’t do, let’s focus on what autistics can do. Positive thinking improves a person’s outlook on life, and celebrating even the smallest of successes can bring a smile to everyone’s face. It’s all in how you look at the life you’ve been given. If that life happens to include autism you’re in for a wild ride, but it can be one of the best rides you’ll ever have.
Despite sometimes huge challenges, people on the autism spectrum are capable of finding ways to express themselves and have meaningful social interaction and relationships. Some even go on to do great things. If you find that hard to believe, look at Temple Grandin and Ari Ne’eman.
Just like with any other group of people, those on the spectrum have a wide range of abilities and talents. Much attention is given to those whose interests and talents lean toward math, science, and computers, but there are also many on the autism spectrum whose interests and talents lie in the arts. For some amazing examples of the work these talented spectrumites can do, check out the Artists and Autism page on Facebook.
Now, since I’m an author and autistic, allow me to give my own personal example of what a person on the autism spectrum can do. Today is World Autism Awareness Day, but it’s also release day for my first full-length novel, Battlefield of the Heart. It’s an inspirational romance that delves in the challenging topic of PTSD in combat veterans.
This is what autism can do:
What started out as a bit of research for a sociology paper quickly turns into much more than Cindy ever expected. But can she survive Danny’s PTSD long enough to form a relationship with him?
Cindy Waymire, a college senior in search for a topic for an upcoming sociology paper, finds more than a topic when she meets Army veteran and college freshman Danny Flynn outside the student union. An undeniable attraction to this troubled veteran leads her on a difficult and winding path that brings her to a crossroads — get into a relationship with a man who has serious mental health problems or turn her back on one of the best men she’s ever met.
Can Cindy set her fears aside and follow her heart, or will the ghosts haunting Danny’s mind end their relationship before it begins?