“Individuals are labeled different, geeky, abnormal or even Aspergian or Autistic at a young age. Among other things, these labels suggest that the people around them – their friends, family, teachers and counselors – can’t relate to their actions and expressions.
That’s understandable, but it doesn’t mean that those actions aren’t motivated by legitimate feelings and desires or that those of us who are different aren’t capable of achieving amazing things in our lifetime.
There’s so much talk about the disability of Asperger’s – so much focus on what kids who are different CAN’T do – that I thought it was time for a book about what they CAN do.”
- John Elder Robison, from the introduction to Be Different
My dear friend, John Robison’s new book, Be Different launches today. I had the great honor of reading an early draft, and I absolutely cannot wait to have the final product in my hands. (Ahem, Amazon, get a move on.)
John’s first book, Look Me in the Eye, was much more than a book for so many of us. It was an inflection point in our lives. It was a moment in which we gained some measure of understanding, glimpsed the other side of the wall, and for the first time, had some idea of how our children processed the world. His book, while fiercely entertaining, was also a window into the Aspergian mind.
While John has Asperger’s, my Brooke does not. She has a very different flavor of autism. She does not have the facility with language that John did as a child, nor does she have his mechanical aptitude. They are very different people whose challenges manifest themselves in radically different ways. Nonetheless, I saw her in his stories. Hell, I saw myself in his stories too. His book changed me. And it changed the way that I interacted with my girl.
Over time, I have gotten to know John and have had the honor of calling him my friend. He once said to me – as only John could, “Well, I guess that I’m this pretty rare combination of things. I’m autistic enough to have some insight into it all, but I’m also self-aware and articulate enough to be able to pretty accurately describe what happens in my brain.”
John is indeed a rare (and wonderful) combination of things. He is bright and charming and funny. He is also desperate to make the world a friendlier place to kids who are different. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much more than that to make me like you. He also has a hell of a story to tell.
Be Different – available online (click the book below to order) and through all major booksellers TODAY.
Ed note: Thank you all so very much for your love and support yesterday. It both breaks and soothes my heart to be reminded that we do not walk this road alone.
Yesterday was a better day. In fact, it was a MUCH better day. Hell, we even sang.
I am so grateful for this family we’ve created here. Thank you, my friends. From the bottom of my soggy little heart.