Today, June 16th ASK-PERGERS? new book, Autism & Animals – the benefits of animals for autistic people, will be published as an E Book. We are looking forward to the book being published and hoping that lots of people read it, and enjoy it. The book takes a positive look at the relationships that often form between autistic people and animals, and the benefits this can have on things such as confidence and self-esteem, understanding and expressing emotions, and on our general sense of well-being.
The process has been quite stressful, partly because although we have two books published already, and Paddy-Joe has a book coming out very soon of his own, all of these have been published through a professional publisher, and so the Autism and Animals book is our first attempt at self-publishing, and it wasn`t as straight-forward as we`d hoped! In fact we have really struggled to get printed copies, and have settled for the electronic version for now to prevent further delay in publishing.
However, these difficulties are not what has made the writing and publishing of this positive book so hard, and so stressful for me. I don`t want to go in to too much detail, but the past year or so has been the absolute worse time of my life. Both Paddy-Joe and I have been through some really horrendous experiences – the death of one family member who we loved more than it is possible to say, the near death of a close and equally loved family member, who remains on palliative care. An investigation in to the death (I can`t say any more about that) and another family issue that has been extremely stressful to the point of making my son and myself very ill. All of the above has meant time away from my autistic son for me, and a complete disruption to his routine. This, along with anxiety and grief have caused him to have increasingly explosive meltdowns on most days. I really can`t describe how scary they have been for both of us, leaving us with chest pains, dizziness, and an extremely low mood. There has been more, so much more, too much to write here, and too personal for social media. We are both exhausted, and completely burned out. For over a year now I have felt unable to work on ASK-PERGERS? and have left most of the work up to Paddy-Joe. I am trying to rectify this, but still most days my depression is such that I am unable to interact, even on social media. My son isn`t feeling much better, but he has done his best to continue with our autism information and advice service through Facebook and Twitter.
So why did we press-on with completing the Autism & Animals book (which I came so close to scrapping so many times)? It is partly because we didn’t want to let anyone down. Lots of individuals and families contributed their stories and experiences to the book. We had already started writing the book before our lives were turned upside down, and we had to keep postponing completion of the book, and then postpone publishing due to our personal circumstances, and the way we were feeling. However, my son encouraged me to continue with the book, and we worked together on it as often as possible. With weeks on end spent at the hospital, often awake all night and all the following day, no proper food or rest it was extremely difficult. And when I was at home with my son he was so agitated by everything that has happened and so overwhelmed that the meltdowns were (are!) coming thick and fast, and each one completely wiped us out. However, my son kept reminding me that we had made a commitment to the people who had contributed to the book, and they were all so kind and patient, that we pushed on, and finally the book was ready to be published! We also wanted to publish while our dogs – Fred and Poppy, the inspirations behind the book – are still with us as they are quite old now, and have a few health problems.
Our lives remain extremely difficult at the moment, although not as chaotic and distressing as they have been over the past year and a half. We are trying to get back to some sort of normality, but this is hard as many of the issues are still on-going.
I am so glad we didn`t give up, and now have a lovely book to share with you all J
The book is dedicated to my parents, and published on June 16th as it would have been their 63rd wedding anniversary, if they were both still here to celebrate.
The book is a testament to the loyalty, intuition and strength of animals. And shows just how beneficial they can be for some autistic people.
And here`s the link for anyone who may be interested J
The book is called Autism & Animals – the benefits of animals for autistic people – and is priced at £4.99. And I can`t believe it is finished at last!!
Jane Donlan x
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