When I attended a writer's conference in Illinois last June, an editor advised me to be personally transparent in my writing. I think I am already transparent on this blog, but there are some things I just can't say here, so you will have to wait for the book :)
I was also advised to get other parents' perspectives and experiences and add them into the book. I have contacted innumerable parents, special-ed teachers, and relatives of children and adults like Kalisha. I had ONE response; despite my assurance of anonymity and the chance to read and approve what I wrote before publication.
My conclusions about this lack of response--right or wrong--are that despite all of the media attention to Autism Disorders and Aspergers Syndrome, most parents are still reluctant to publicly disclose the things their children do, say, or how they act.
I am not breaking new ground with this book, but I can guarantee it will be as honest and truthful as I can make it; including, among other things, my swearing, yelling, and sometimes TOTAL mishandling of a situation. I have asked God to guide me so that the book will be helpful to other parents of children like Kalisha; whose child doesn't fall into any of the 'categories.' I want to title it "Not Different Enough".
This is the explanation for that title. First of all, I'm not asking or wishing that Kalisha any different than who she is, and I do realize that many parents deal with difficulties that are so much more severe than hers. However, there is difficulty in being somewhat different, but in a way that's not always evident to other people. Kalisha came home from school one day when she was in Junior High and told me, "Mom, kids don't know what's wrong with me. They just think I'm weird. I guess I'm not different enough."
That was a very deep and prophetic statement...When she was raped and the man was questioned by the police, he said, "I didn't know there was a disability." Great defense, huh?
The other difficulty I'm having is the time lapse. When young parents read parts of the book concerning events from 1984 to 1990, they might wonder why I didn't use Google or the internet. It is beyond their comprehension that when Kalisha was born, we didn't even own a computer and neither did anyone I knew. I sort of just flew by the seat of my pants, and unfortunately in some cases, I believed what the 'professionals' told me. I was so unbelievably naive.
This book will not be a depressing read; I hope to balance the terrible with the hysterical and the preposterous.
I value the opinions of more experienced writers, and the thoughts of parents with special-needs children. Please comment and let me know what you think! You can comment on this page freely and anonymously if you like--it doesn't lock you into following for the rest of your life or anything like that.
One more thing. Anything I write is always pre-read by Kalisha. I will not post anything she does not want known, but she is as open as I am and always tells me, "Yeah, people should know that. I really want people to know what it's like to be me."