My inspiration for anything I write is always from real life experiences. In particular for Let’sTalk! A story of Autism and Friendship, I had been working as a therapist giving 1:1 applied behavior analysis services to children in their home. Many times, I would hear from parents or see that my clients had difficulty making friends. Sometimes the other little ones did not understand my client. However, in one particular case, my client was playing with another child that was neurotypical, but the other child had difficulty helping my client understand how to play appropriately. The neurotypical child’s parents did not try to help and luckily the particular little one did become upset of frustrated with my client; they stayed and continued to try. It made my happy to know the other child wanted to keep trying but would they still want to after today? Would the child without any help from adults or knowledge of Autism still want to make that effort? It got me thinking that our families really need to work together. What if there was something that encouraged our children to ask questions? Encouraged our families to have those open conversations with their kids? That is what made me want to write this book; for families to have an inspiration to be open to those who may act or look differently than us.
People always say it is our kids that shape this world and it is completely true. Imagine if every family in this country taught their elementary age child that Autism was just a different way to learn. That each family taught their child or children to be open to those who act, talk, or look differently than them. What would our world look like if each family taught that to their child? Would there be as much bullying or stigma around Autism? Nope there would not be. Would there be as much bullying as there is in the world? Nope there would not be. Would our children with a disability enjoy their lives more? Yes, they would.
Just think what a world we would live in if we started now teaching our children to be more open. Another thing about this book is I purposely made the characters not the same race as me. Harper is African American, and Emma is Indian. I tell people I did this because I wanted to do the opposite of what would be expected of a white, Caucasian female such as myself. But that is not the real reason. I simply made the characters different races as another way to inspire our families and children to be open. I plan to have even more diversity in my second book with different ethnicities and introduction of the girl’s dads. Being open to someone different, whether they have a disability or a different skin color, is a choice. Making choices is something that is taught. Why not teach our children to make the choice to be inclusive of everyone; it sure would make this world a happier place. A story of Autism and friendship is the first in a series of books highlighting a friendship between two children who do not let anything become a boundary.