Autism Awareness Month 2017: Blog Hop and Giveaway

I’m hopping in at the end of Autism Awareness Month as part of RJ Scott’s blog hop.

There are a lot of facts and myths about autism, but the one truth I come back to again and again as the mother of an autistic son is that no two autistic people are the same. Autism is a spectrum, and that means the reality for two people diagnosed with autism can be very different.

It also means understanding and working with autistic children — or adults — is that much more challenging. I’ve lived with my son Camren for 11 years, and there are things I still don’t understand about his interpretations of the world around him.

You can check out a list of autism facts and stats here.

I decided that because this blog hop has an “animal theme” and in my effort to continue spreading awareness of the fact that no two autistic people are the same — something I have to constantly remind educators about as a parent — I’d like to give away a copy of my book, Hard Press.

Hard Press is a m/m romance, and it has a lot of funny, sexy parts. It also includes a younger brother with autism. As an author, I worked to capture the concept that not all autistic children are alike. The book brings in a few children who all attend a boarding school for autism, particularly during a field trip to the zoo.

My son Camren, feeding the giraffe at the zoo in Wichita, KS. This picture prompted a scene I wrote later in Hard Press.

In the book, I believe you can see the ways in which each child is unique. The school is very loosely based on my experiences with Heartspring in Wichita, where my son received outpatient therapy. Heartspring does run a school for autistic people in need of a higher level of care, but I don’t have firsthand knowledge of how it operates.

Therapists who are specialized to work with autistic children and offer early intervention provide an amazing service. My son was completely nonverbal the first time we attended Heartspring, when he was 2 and a half. Within two weeks, his therapist had him speaking words, largely by using picture exchange communication. He no longer needs the visual aid, but it was key when he was developing language. The progress was amazing and we’ve turned to his therapist and Heartspring time and again for guidance because it’s a journey when you live with someone with autism. Every time you think you have the answer to one challenge, another pops up.

It’s important to embrace the special, wonderful attributes every autistic person brings to the world. My son is not a disorder. He sees and interacts with people differently than I do. But most importantly, I try to let Camren be Camren.

Enter to win a copy of Hard Press

Hard Press by DJ JamisonHard Press is hardly an educational literary piece. It’s a fun enemies to lovers romance. But I hope its few scenes about autistic children will help spread awareness just a little bit farther.

Comment on my post to enter a drawing for Hard Press! This book is part of a series, but it can work as a standalone.

 

34 Comments

  1. Blaine Hall

    April 27, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    I just want to thank you for your post. I think RJ Scott does a wonderful outreach to people, helping other to understand autism. Don’t put me in the drawing for the book, I really wanted to thank you for your wonderful and heartfelt blog. xoxo

  2. Amy

    April 28, 2017 at 12:03 am

    How amazing and inspiring.

  3. ButtonsMom2003

    April 28, 2017 at 2:55 am

    I love your books! I think this was the second one I read and I remained hooked on your writing and characters.

      1. ButtonsMom2003

        April 28, 2017 at 10:27 pm

        I forgot to say – don’t enter me. 🙂

  4. Tanja

    April 28, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Thank you for participating in RJ’s Autism Awareness Blog Hop. I recognize so much in your story of Camren. Our son didn’t walk untill he was 2,5 years old and didn’t speak until 3. He is now 30 years old and has a steady job as a mailman. It was and still is a long journey. As you said when you have an answer for one challenge, another pops up. But the most important thing we also let Vincent be Vincent and he is perfect

    1. davina

      April 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      I love hearing success stories, so thank you. It gives me more optimism for Camren’s life ahead!

  5. Elayne

    April 28, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you for the piece you’ve written. It’s important for all of us to remember that just as we’re all individuals, our problems and challenges are too, nowhere more importantly than the autism spectrum.

  6. Suzanne Edwards

    April 28, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    I serve at church with a mom of an Autistic son. He only says 50-75 words and is 5 years old. I am learning so much about autism. Thank you for not only highlighting awareness in your blog hop, but also in your book. Thank you for the chance to win the book, too 🙂

  7. BUDDY HERNANDEZ

    April 28, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Hello!! Just discovered your books… The stories are great and the characters are so much more grounded and believable than so many other attempts at MM romance novels/books. You have gained another dedicated reader!
    And thank you for the information on the Autism Awareness program …. too often the lives of others get lost in the daily grind…

    1. DJ

      April 28, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Thank you so much! That’s a wonderful compliment.

  8. Shirley Ann Speakman

    April 28, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Heartspring sounds like a wonderful place and so great that it helped your son.

  9. Sheryl Howard

    April 28, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Thank you for your post. Raising two on the Spectrum in a school system filled with norms has its challenges.

    1. DJ

      April 28, 2017 at 10:30 pm

      School is probably our biggest challenge. We may very well have to home school to some degree if things don’t work out better in middle and high school. Tough decisions ahead!

  10. Misty

    April 28, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Thank you for this post. My son also has Autism, he’s about to be 4 and just started speaking. It’s a new challenge everyday, but always worth it.

    1. DJ

      April 28, 2017 at 10:33 pm

      Those early days can be scary and stressful. I’m glad to hear your son is speaking, and I bet you’ll look back years from now and be amazed by all he’s achieved.

  11. Jennifer

    April 28, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    I like that you see more characters with different forms of autism on TV or in movies as well. It can only help with awareness. I wish I had known about Asperger’s when I was in university. It would have helped all of us be a little more understanding of another student, who obviously had it in retrospect.

  12. Angel

    April 28, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    It’s so great to have the support he needs.

  13. Danielle Rogers

    April 28, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    I’ve met a few children who are Autistic and I could see they each had a different aspect of Autism. The oldest one I have the pleasure and privilege of befriending is a great kid. He’s very special to me and I feel the love he has for others. I miss doing the Autism walk since I moved from NY. I used to walk with the students at the middle school.

  14. Diane Fair

    April 29, 2017 at 1:29 am

    As a special education teacher and school administrator (preK-12th grade) for 36 years it is so wonderful to see the strides being made in the field of education and research. One of my students has been accepted into a major college on the east coast with the hope of working for NASA one day! He’s the greatest and his parents are wonderful advocates for him!

    1. DJ

      May 1, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      That’s so great! I love hearing those success stories. They give all of us a much needed dose of optimism.

    2. DJ

      May 4, 2017 at 6:09 pm

      Diane – you are my winner!

  15. H.B.

    April 29, 2017 at 4:18 am

    Thank you for sharing and for taking part in the hop!

  16. Caz

    April 30, 2017 at 10:55 am

    A wonderful thing you and the other participating authors are doing 🙂

  17. susana

    May 2, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Thank you for the post, and the chance at the giveaway!

  18. Amy Casey

    May 2, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Autism is truly unique to each person!! My oldest daughter worked 3 years in an autism classroom and now a nurse works as a director of autism services for three counties!! This is an awesome blog hop!

    1. DJ

      May 4, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Wow, that’s amazing. You must be so proud of her!

  19. Emily Seelye

    May 2, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    I’m sure I read this through KU, but would love a copy of my own. Great cause, I worked at an autism school for a short time. I respect those teachers who do it, but realized it wasn’t for me.

    1. DJ

      May 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      It really does take amazing patience and trouble-shooting skills!

  20. Ginger Connatser

    May 2, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing and taking part in the hop. Have not had a chance to read any of your books yet, looking foward to it.

  21. Kristen

    May 2, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    I would love a chance to win this book 🙂

  22. elsi koho

    May 3, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Wonderful work you guys do! Thanks for the chance 😊

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