Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blank Stares, Autism Aware

Illustration by Zach Wideman

Autism Awareness Month started yesterday, as did the Kickstarter for a picturebook that I wrote at least in part with the autism community in mind -- "Blank Slater, The Boy With The Dry-Erase Face."

Blank Slater isn't like the other kids. He isn't even much like his mom and dad. He has what seems like an insurmountable challenge in relating to the people around him because Blank's face is...blank. He can't show his emotions. He doesn't even know if he has any. In the end, it takes meeting someone just like him, yet nothing like him at all, to help Blank find his face and a place to fit in.

Consider some of the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and you will understand the metaphor of Blank's dry-erase face. Perhaps reading about Blank is the thing that will help someone else find what it is they are looking for as they face their own challenges along the spectrum. Maybe reading this post about Blank in this context will give you a fresh perspective on the challenges and champions in the autism community.

I've reached out to the folks at Autism Speaks to gauge their interest in playing a formal role in the publication of Blank Slater, but we'll see, because my small project in development my not be on their level or their radar. But their mission should be on yours. Visit their site to learn more about ASD and their Autism Awareness Month initiatives.

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