No Lie: Perry’s Seven Pearls Of Priceless Wisdom

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AYSM - Cover With Quote 2

Are You Seeing Me? is on the shelves and the initial response has been terrific. Readers have shared their experiences of laughing and crying and wishing earnestly and thinking differently and, when all was said and done, not wanting to let go.

A major reason for this response has been Perry Richter. The young man with the “brain condition” seems to be touching hearts and souls in a big way. I’m delighted by this – in the character’s simple eloquence and careful observance, there are lessons for all of us, his author included.

So, as both an early thank you to AYSM’s readers and a brief foray into the beautiful mind of a special person, here is Perry’s “No Lie” guide to living a good life in an unstable world:

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You See What I Did There?

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AYSM - Cover With Quote 2

With Are You Seeing Me? having just hit the shelves in Australia, I’d like to share with you some insight into what inspired me to write the novel.

Anyone who’s spent any time with me knows I am Dad to a set of twins: one girl, one boy. My daughter is ‘neurotypical’, which is how people in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community sometimes refer to regular, everyday kids who do not have autism. She is amazing. She plays trumpet, creates short animated films and adores The Hunger Games. My son, who is three minutes younger than my daughter, is diagnosed with autism. He is amazing, too. He is awesome at Minecraft, swims like a champ and enjoys Pixar films. They will officially be teenagers in 2014.

Are You Seeing Me? is a gift to my daughter. She was due a book – my previous novel, Kindling, was a gift to my son. (By the way, all of my books are gifts for my beautiful
wife). When I first started considering what to write, I kept coming back to a message I held dear for my daughter: ‘You should never feel like you must be your brother’s keeper. Love him, as he loves you, but live your own life to the full.’

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Canada, Thank You For ‘Aide-ing’ Us

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Kids Grad

Back in May of 2007, as Term One of our twins’ first and last year of Australian schooling was drawing to a close, we understood the situation:

On Fridays, there would be no teacher-aide support in mainstream class for our autism-diagnosed son. The other four days were fine, but the ’emergency funding’ for the fifth had run out. If we wanted support, we could pay for it ourselves, or we could come to school with him. Of course, we could always keep him at home if we wanted. This was how it would be for the remainder of the year. This was how it would be for the next twelve years.

You can imagine our emotions – anger, disbelief, disillusionment.

It may surprise you to know there was also relief.

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‘Another’ Post About Book Diversity

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Diverse Books

First, the good news:

The recent #WeNeedDiverseBooks Twitter coup was an admirable rebuff of the longstanding hegemonies in children’s and young adult fiction. It doesn’t look like a flash in the pan either, so that’s good too.

Now, the bad news:

The whole exercise has further illustrated – dare I say, reinforced – the pecking order of minorities in both the book debate and the wider society looking on.

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There’ll Always Be Fireflies

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firefly

(Pic Source: luxirare.com)

The inspirational tale of Team Hoyt came past me again recently.  For those disinclined to click the link, it shares the incredible story of father, Dick, disabled son, Rick, and the thousand plus marathons / triathlons they have performed as one, dad towing and wheeling and pushing his paralyzed boy all the way.  Their thirty-five year odyssey is replete with details to make the heart swell and the eyes tear up, but this one provided particular pause for me:

With $5,000 in 1972 and a skilled group of engineers at Tufts University, an interactive computer was built for Rick. This computer consisted of a cursor being used to highlight every letter of the alphabet. Once the letter Rick wanted was highlighted, he was able to select it by just a simple tap with his head against a head piece attached to his wheelchair. When the computer was originally first brought home, Rick surprised everyone with his first words. Instead of saying, “Hi, Mom,” or “Hi, Dad,” Rick’s first “spoken” words were: “Go, Bruins!” The Boston Bruins were in the Stanley Cup finals that season. It was clear from that moment on, that Rick loved sports and followed the game just like anyone else. 

That pivotal moment of communication breakthrough must have been like a glorious dawn; the perennial night finally receding as the sun climbs over the horizon, never to set again on the Hoyt family.  I can only imagine how good it felt to see that light.

I can only imagine.

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