Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Changing the World, One Word at a Time

Those of you who know me at all understand that there are two subjects in this world that are near and dear to my heart. My children, who have Autism and related disorders and writing. Yes, in that order. So when the two events come together to benefit my children's peers, my head snaps to attention. When my first son was diagnosed with autism, the rate was .5 in 10,000 children. Today, that rate is recognized by the CDC as 1 in 150.

In most states, medical insurance does not cover the only therapies proven to improve autism's lifelong outlook. In most states, medical insurers incorrectly classify autism as a "mental disorder" in order to sharply cap benefits. This means it is left to families to fund their children's treatment at an average cost of 50 thousand dollars per year.

As I cannot personally attend the event listed below, I am donating all proceeds from my book Turn Around, Bright Eyes: Snapshots from a Voyage out of Autism's Silence, and my Amazon short, Imprint in the Ice to Autism One for the next six months. It's not a lot, but since I'm broke from providing for my children's overwhelming therapeutic needs, this and my big mouth is all I've got to help make a difference. :)


Writers Reading on Autism: Tales of The "Fastest Evolving Disorder In
Medical Science"

By Barbara Fischkin on the Huffington Post Blog.
The First Annual Writers on Autism reading will be held in New York
City this week on Thursday, June 7, at 7p.m. at the Lifespire Education and
Conference Center on the third floor of the Empire State Building.
Eight "diverse" -- and this reading may give that term new meaning --
writers, both accomplished and up-and-coming, will read from their published
and unpublished works which are either about autism or of importance to the
autism community. Four mothers of autistic individuals -- representing a
total of eight sons and daughters on the autism spectrum -- will read. Two
individuals who are on the spectrum themselves will also read.
With one in 150 individuals now being diagnosed with autism, those of
us who have autism -- or who are relatives or teachers or friends or
therapists or doctors of individuals with autism -- are a historic community
whether we like being lumped together or not.
Perhaps one of our responsibilities as members of that community is to
make sure that there is a body of literature that illuminates who we are: A
compilation of our very-true and not-entirely-true tales, our controversies,
our novels and short stories, our tall and short tales, our hopes, myths and
A body of work, in short, to help those who come after us understand
Those of us who are writers can do this by writing and by reading our
works. Those of us who are readers can do this by listening, asking
questions and supporting the writing of autism by purchasing books by those
who have published them.
We have, as they say in show business, a great line-up.
* Kim Stagliano, who blogs here frequently and is writing an autism
novel. She is the mother of three girls with autism and is planning on
reading her essay "Crapisode," a rendition of life with autism now
considered a classic in the community.
* John Robison whose new memoir, Look Me in the Eye: My Life with
Asperger's, is sure to be a bestseller in the fall. He is also Augusten
Burroughs' brother and writes about life in that well-known family from his
own perspective.
* Sheila Kohler, a beloved, respected and renowned New York City
novelist who will read a real-life tale about being the parent of a disabled
young woman. Sheila Kohler's latest novel is Bluebird, The Invention of
* Landon J. Napoleon, author of the classic autism novel ZigZag, in
which a young man with autism is a protagonist who defies the stereotypes
and whose every emotion we feel ourselves. A book ahead of its time and a
worthy companion to The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime.
* Michele Pierce Burns, whose forthcoming book, I Love Everything
About You, was inspired by her son Danson Mandela Wambua, 8, who has autism.
Many will surely remember the writer in her days as a young actress on The
Cosby Show. More recently she has written for Essence and Ebony , has
appeared in the Autism Speaks documentary, Autism Every Day.
* Michele Iallonardi, the mother of three boys with autism and a
journalist who has written for The Autism Perspective (TAP) magazine, Autism
Spectrum Quarterly and Exceptional Parent. She was also in Autism Every Day.
* Rachel Kaplan, a matriculating student at Hofstra University, who
has autism and is traditionally nonverbal. As a graduate of Locust Valley
High School on Long Island she won a coveted writing award and, as an
acknowledged pioneer in the practice of facilitated communication, she now
types independently
* I will read too, either from my autism novel, Confidential Sources,
or from my nonfiction work-in-progress: Dan in the World: One of the First
Victims of the Autism Epidemic Grows Up, Moves On and Moves Out.
Please come. The event is free and open to the public. No RSVPs are
For more about this event please listen to Maverick Mama on Internet Radio.