I am releasing the PDF book I wrote in sections. It is a brief memoir about growing up undiagnosed with autism back in the 1980's and 1990's. I hope in disclosing this people my age will know they aren't alone. I hope there will be lessons learned for bullies and judges and pitfalls to avoid for parents raising autistic kids today.
There is an old song by Arthur Godfrey called “I’m a Lonely Little Petunia”. In it, the little petunia bemoans its smelly fate living among the onions.
My mother used to call me the onion in the petunia patch, and not just because I was a little stinker. I amused and angered the “perfect” people in my life due to the glaringly obvious fact that I didn’t fit in or belong anywhere outside my home. I rocked, walked “like a duck” as one classmate put it, and screamed, plugging my ears, when a teacher put on an old, scratchy record.
More than mere quirks, my autism affected relationships with others, sensory input and eventually grew more problematic in my teens. It also helped me to be highly organized, creative and to know myself; something I am told is hard for neurotypicals.
My late Mother, Ruth, always said we should have written a book about our journeys together. That didn’t happen, so I am writing this PDF file in hopes of encouraging moms (and dads) of autistic children not to give up and perhaps, at times, even laugh in the process.
It is my prayer that not one more child with autism spectrum disorder or their parents would have to go through the shame, rejection and isolation of “being different”. Perhaps grown adults on the autism spectrum who went undiagnosed as children will find comfort in knowing they are not alone.
I dedicate this book to The Lord, my Dad, Frank and my Ma, Ruth for being my number one supporters.