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“Black and White provides an inside positive view of autism. Renée has successfully raised three children and gives great insights on maintaining her marital relationship.” – Dr. Temple Grandin
“Renée provides a fascinating insight into autism within herself and her family. She writes with an engaging and informative style but her greatest quality is her ability to succinctly and eloquently describe life from her perspective which will resonate with those who have autism and those who love and support them. I highly recommend Renée’s book as it will educate you and encourage greater respect and awe for those who have autism.” – Dr. Tony Attwood
“You do realize people don’t think the way you do?” My psychologist is looking at me over the rim of his glasses with both concern and disbelief.” – excerpt from Black & White
How It All Started
It was kind of funny how Black & White came about. I had actually just completed a fictional work (which has never been published or seen the light of day – maybe some day), when J said to me: “Why don’t you write a book about autism?” That’s weird, I thought. You see, being autistic doesn’t seem odd or abnormal to me – being autistic with all the characteristics, traits, etc… is the ‘norm’ in our house (we outnumber the NTs 3:2). It’s every day life, so what exactly am I suppose to be telling everyone? What story am I suppose to be sharing? This is the part where J just stared at me until the ‘point’ hit home. Oh, right!
It has come to my attention that most people don’t think quite like me. Got it!
So I Took What He Said To Heart…
It made me think back on the countless times I have provided information to people and had them reply that they had never thought of things that way. Or the unsettling, yet eye-opening experience of having a Mom, tears in her eyes, understand for the first time that her child is not shunning her touch, but touch in general. I’ve even had professionals in the field say that after speaking/working with me, that they changed the way they approached therapies, not only with autistic people, but with clients with a variety of disabilities.
Note: Those of you who follow my blog will learn that I can be bothered by some words: Crippled, handicapped, normal, special needs, etc… It’s not so much the words that offend (well, some do) but their usage. I grew up during a time when those words, and others like them, were used to denote people who were considered ‘less.’ To separate them from the ‘normal’ and typically-developing. Even now when I hear them, oftentimes it’s a non-disabled person trying to point out what’s ‘wrong’ with someone else; a negative perception of what they believe life with a disability is like; and what they think needs to be done to ‘fix’ or cure them. I leave it to each person to decide how he or she prefers to be called, how he or she likes to be described and how he or she feels about therapies and cures. We’re all different, so I use that word too. That said, I’m not the ‘Political Correctness Police,’ I just believe we should treat each other respectfully.
Black & White came about because I was exhausted of hearing how exhausting we (autistic people) are. I wanted to put out a very positive, autistic viewpoint. And I wanted people, especially those of the very young and newly diagnosed, to understand that we do grow up and we do mature. We’re not all going to be tech wizards, billionaire computer geniuses, world-renowned musicians or award-winning engineers, but neither will all neurotypicals (NTs)! I have yet to be inundated with all the tasks NTs are incapable of, so how about lighten up on the autistic folk, ok? I’m not saying assistance is not required, not by any means. All I’m saying is we’re all aware of areas of difficulty (it’s been burned on our brains), so could focus be shifted elsewhere? Why don’t we focus on the awesome things we can do, and save the ‘deficits and delays checklist’ for the ratings hogs that bring us news programs and special reports – you know, things we can ignore or turn off!
Black & White celebrates ALL individuals on the autism spectrum!
And coming soon, for those of you who have already read Black and White (thank you!!!), be on the lookout for my next book, GRAYSCALE, which is currently in the works.