I made the decision for Mark Blake, the youngest child from “UnMasked” to have autism for three reasons. First, I’m the parent of a child that has high functioning autism who was severely compromised with immune issues and a lower form of functionality. Our child went through years of medical treatments and was in and out of school from second through eighth grade due to their immune system. We were the family that looked under every rock, and physically consulted with or visited doctors and specialists from thirty-nine states in our quest to help our child.
Secondly, I’m very familiar with the fact that each person with autism can present completely differently from the next person with autism. I wanted to write a REAL book that described some of the experiences of families that have a child or children with autism. Because our family has LIVED it, what I write is real and authentic – not something I’m writing because I think my book needs a neurodivergent character.
A few years ago I read a novel about a young man with autism that was miraculously healed when he started singing in a theater program. As I read the book, I had to keep putting it down as I seriously wanted to scream. The novel was fiction and so out in left-field that I wanted to contact the author and ask her WHERE she'd gotten her fictional idea. I wanted to ask her if she knew anyone with autism. Due to my extensive experience with autism, in my home, with friends that have children with autism and working with our non-profit, I was pretty convinced she was just checking the box and putting a neurodivergent character in the book.
And finally, I wanted this book to challenge people to think outside the box and realize that recovery is possible. We’re living this in our home – and I’ve seen MANY families recover or dramatically improve their child’s health and diagnoses.
Thanks to a tremendous amount of therapies and medical interventions our child has graduated from high school, works part-time, drives and owns their own vehicle, and will be starting a year-long career training program this summer. We're looking forward to a happy future where our child will be able to live and work independently. It took years of work and a lot of sacrifice. It’s a dream come true.
And isn’t that what we all want, a child that is healthy and living their best life?
"UnMasked" is available for on Amazon at: https://a.co/d/fCkRf8z or you can link direct to Amazon from my homepage and can also order on Barnes & Noble.
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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Julie Cadman is a former automotive and health care executive, turned writer. She co-founded the non-profit, Healing Complex Kids, where she helps special needs families. She and her husband live in the Midwest with their son, two daughters and their Goldendoodle Kerby. To learn more about me click here.