After about two years work we are getting close to publishing our book, Autism & Animals – the benefits of animals for autistic people. The book looks at a variety of animals, and how they might be helpful to autistic people. But why did we want to write about this subject? And what’s the point of the book?
For as long as I have owned dogs they have helped me with my autism: making me feel more confident, more relaxed, helping me to understand my emotions, and also helping me to calm down after outbursts. But it was not until we set up ASK-PERGERS? and got more in touch with other autistic people, and their families that we were able to see that this was far from uncommon. In fact it was getting to a point where hardly a day went by without us seeing a story about how an animal of some kind was helping an individual with autism. We love animals, and both know first-hand just how beneficial they can be to autistic people, so it just seemed like the most obvious thing to do was to write a book on the subject of animals and people with autism.
Over the last few years the book has gone through a few incarnations. At one point I was more involved in the writing than I have been in the final draft, at others the plan was to send it off to a professional publisher. But in the end we got to where we are now – a self-published book compiled of real-life stories contributed by autistic people, their families, and charities that work with therapy animals. Intermixed with these stories are some ideas on why animals might be of benefit to people with autism, some research studies on animals and autism, and some accounts from our own lives.
What’s the point of the book? As corny as it might sound the point of the book is to both entertain, and educate. As I say we take a look at some of the research and theories as to why animals might be beneficial to autistic people, but the book is also full to the brim with images of all kinds of animals. Even though my Mum did most of the writing I was heavily involved in the making of the book, and for me one of the most interesting parts was reading all the stories that were sent in to us: horses, frogs, dogs, and all kinds of other animals that have impacted on the lives of autistic people, of all ages, are featured. As an autistic person it was great to be able to read them, and to hear people talking about something I could relate to. I hope that if you read the book you find the stories of us autistic people, and our animals, just as interesting as I do!
If you need any more help or advice about Asperger`s/Autism or simply want to talk about it check out our free help and advice service ASK-PERGERS?
And have a look at our books (at the time published under pseudonyms, but we did write them trust us on that!) http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/author/1762