Sold out: Reflections from a seasoned self-publisher

A Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism

The brief history of a self-published author Except for the 12 copies sitting in an Amazon warehouse in Indiana, I have completely sold out of A Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism, the book that I self-published 7 years ago.  The book tells my story of raising a child with autism (my son Matthew) from babyhood to young adulthood. The book is forever available digitally. I had no intention of self-publishing my book. It was the traditional route or nothing for me, and on the afternoon that … [Read more...]

Autism FAQ for seasoned autism dads: Advice for new dads?


                      From the archives, one of my most shared posts: I asked, and did I ever get insightful answers. Don't blame yourself or anyone else for your child's autism. Love and support them in their dreams, interests and aspirations...because they have them. Don't ever be ashamed of them...even if they are 15 years old, 200 pounds of man/boy be proud when they slip their hand in yours as … [Read more...]

This is what progress, with autism, looks like

Photo by Photo by Tiraporn Olsen,

My husband and I raised our family in Lafayette, California, about 30 miles east of San Francisco, where a popular Art and Wine Festival is held each Fall. For people who don't mind crowds, chaos, loud (but great) music and hot weather, the Art and Wine Festival is a lot of fun--great food, wine, beer and hundreds of booths spilling with art and hand-made crafts. Photo by Tiraporn Olsen, I don't think I need to explain to you that this well loved two-day event has … [Read more...]

A brief history of motherhood, autism style


25 things about autism mothering, from the archives. (updated to reflect my current reality)   1) My husband and I planned on having our first child after two years of marriage.Matthew beat us by 2 months. 2) I took Matthew on a job interview when he was eight weeks old because I couldn't bear to leave him with a babysitter. 3) The first person that told me that Matthew, then three, was developmentally delayed was a speech therapist. She was also the first person who … [Read more...]

You know it’s really love when…


I tiptoed into the kitchen a little after 6am to grab a quick breakfast before waking Matthew.  He'd been home for a week long summer break, and would be heading back to Camphill California near Santa Cruz, where he lives and works. "I'm ready," Matthew said, and I jumped. He was fully dressed and shaved, a small drop off blood dripping down his chin. He had already packed and loaded the car. We could have breakfast at Peet's Coffee, he told me, and we could beat the traffic. It had … [Read more...]

Autism: Understanding forgiveness


I was really, really nervous. During a visit to the east coast the first week of May, Matthew and I stopped by Camphill Soltane, the college program for people with disabilities that he attended in his late teens and early twenties. This was not just casual homecoming for Matthew. We were here because he wanted desperately to apologize to, and to seek forgiveness by Tom, a mentor and friend who'd been the subject one of his most threatening outbursts. The confrontation happened during an … [Read more...]

Spread the word to end the R-Word


The R-word is the word 'retard(ed)'. Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It's offensive. It's derogatory. The "Spread the word to end the R-word campaign" asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people. Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions. Pledge today to use respectful, people-first language. Will you pledge your support? Click Here My … [Read more...]

Remembering “before” autism

Do you remember the days before your child's autism diagnosis? This is my story. When I read it, I don't think "Oh, how sad, little did I know." Instead, I think "Gosh, I miss my mom." An excerpt from A Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism Mom  and I sat in the dining room table while Matthew napped, narrowing down responses to the ad I had placed in the paper. “Wanted: Loving care for my three-month-old son, two days a week.” We set up appointments for three respondents that … [Read more...]

Autism and Empathy


I had just arrived home after one of saddest errands or my life, euthanizing our three year old Labrador Buddy, when the phone rang. I let it go as I was sobbing, and couldn't stop. The phone rang again. It had to be Matthew, who is 27 and has autism. I took a deep, cleansing sigh and answered. "I tried calling you a minute ago, but you didn't answer," he said sternly."Have you been to Ohio?" "I've never been to Ohio, Matthew," I said, " but can we talk about Ohio later? I have some … [Read more...]

Driving with Autism…maybe

A reader recently asked how I dealt with the "driving issue", specifically when a teen with autism wants to drive but likely shouldn't. I cringed at the memory of hiding car keys while Matthew was going through this stage. After  a series of harrowing experiences, Matthew concluded that he should not get a drivers license, but he enjoys driving with his dad in our church parking lot. Some of Matthew's higher functioning peers, however, are driving. I posted the question on my … [Read more...]