A writer’s take on a new autism diagnosis

In my other life, I’m a writing teacher. I teach a weekly memoir-writing class for senior citizens in Chicago, and I give seminars on memoir writing and writing books for children at libraries and conferences.

One way I keep abreast of what’s going on in the writing and publishing world is to read blogs written by other authors. Last week, a post written by Jim C. Hines caught my attention. Jim’s first published novel, Goblin Quest, is a fantasy favorite among young adults. He has had five other books published, including The Stepsister Scheme and Red Hood’s Revenge. His blog posts are often about his own life, the craft of writing and his fantasy characters. Lately, though, he’s been writing about autism.

From his post last Friday:

A while back, I was pondering how much to publicly share about family, particularly my children. There was a reason for this.

Today we received confirmation from my son’s school that he meets their criteria for ASD — Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Hines goes on to say that the diagnosis was not completely unexpected. His wife is a practicing counselor, and he has a degree in psychology. Both of them had noticed their son Jackson had certain behavioral issues.

He is who he is. A note from the school doesn’t change that. What it does is gives us a way to make sure he gets the help he needs.

A diagnosis of autism is never easy to take, and I was very moved by this author’s reaction. It gave me hope that our messages about autism awareness and the services available to help must be getting out there.

Hines ends his post with an admission that he is still processing the diagnosis, and is not looking for advice quite yet.

He’s a good kid. I know he’s going to be okay. I know the rest of us will, too. But it’s hard right now.

And though he’s a successful writer, Jim C. Hines found it difficult to find the words to end his post. So instead, he did what any proud father would do. He ended the post by showing off a photo of the son he loves.


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