Inspirational

Expect a Miracle

By

This book will launch on Oct 17, 2020. Currently, only those with the link can see it. đź”’
Synopsis

Powerful and motivating, this story inspires you to do whatever you can to live the life you want- no matter what others expect or think.

A mother's love, determination, pain, protectiveness, and anticipation can be felt through the pages as you are transported along with her as she watches David grow up. Nothing deters Sandy from her mission: to provide David with whatever he needs to have a fulfilling life, the same thing every parent wants for their child. She does everything in her power to help David fly alone- and fly he does!

David's perspective brings us into the heart of his deepest feelings: fears about fitting in, becoming his own person, and growing up and embracing the important things in life. David will struggle, fail, and try again as many times as it takes for him to accomplish his dreams. David's openness about his failures is humbling. His perseverance is inspirational. And his easy-going and forgiving personality will encourage the understanding and acceptance of others' differences. It's impossible not to connect with and root for David as you follow him along his journeys through life.

Why?

We are not scientists, psychologists, or education

specialists. We are simply a devoted mother/son

team who embraced this “trial and error” journey years

ago with a relentless determination and tenacity that

has not waned. Simultaneous with the realization that

David had differences and special needs, I began my

search for knowledge, for resources, and mostly—for

hope. I was desperate for a guaranteed pathway of

intervention and the assurance that my little boy would

fulfill his potential and find happiness.


There was no such recipe or absolute promise.


What we did discover along the way, however, were

countless guardian angels, both lay and professional, who

added their support and special gifts to the therapies,

programs, and resources we utilized. This combination,

along with dedication and hard work, resulted in a truly

miraculous and inspirational outcome. Challenges still

exist, as they do for everyone, but David has exceeded

every dream I dared to dream—and continues to amaze

us daily with his steadfast determination to achieve

his own dreams. The intentions and motivation for

this book are numerous. First and foremost, we would

like to provide the hope for others that we sought

ourselves. Congruent with the claims of experts, our

personal testimonials will exemplify that many skills

and behaviors deficient in persons with Asperger’s

Syndrome* CAN be learned. We will show that self-fulfillment

and happiness CAN be obtained. The diversity

of Asperger’s Syndrome is concurrently fascinating yet

challenging. As emphasized by Drs. Klin and Volkmar, its

presentation varies between persons, and therapies must

vary accordingly (2). Because of this, though paramount

to David’s success, the interventions expounded upon

in this book will not be relevant or effective for all. I

defer specific therapy and education strategies to the

writings and treatment of the experts, but we hope that

our thoughts and experiences might provide additional

insights or new ideas for the reader.


In my opinion, what can universally apply is this: with

intervention, perseverance, support, optimism, and

much advocacy, persons with Asperger’s Syndrome

(AS) can reach their potentials and thrive. Central to

this premise is my passionate belief (and probably

the belief of many educators and therapists, as well!)

that families must work WITH the schools and service

providers rather than simply leaving the education

and therapy up to the professionals. Based on our own

personal experiences, additional components essential

for success are the fostering of good self-esteem in

the individual with AS, preparation for change, and a

continual sprinkling of humor. (Yes, the latter can be

learned!)


Everyone has strengths, and everyone has weaknesses.

It must be remembered that even typicals** have social

skills flaws—no one is perfect, and everyone has gifts to

contribute to the good of all. In addition, it might not

be realized that not all the characteristics of autism are

negative: there are some commendable and amazing

features that are, in fact, coveted and treasured.


The previous statement provides me with the perfect

segue to another purpose we have in writing this book.

Different does not equal inferior. We hope to stimulate an

epiphany of understanding and tolerance for those who

are perhaps unknowingly prejudiced towards individuals

with differences, with autism being one of them. We

implore these parties to rethink their assumption of

superiority and to give relationships a chance! Go beyond

superficial idiosyncrasies to explore and connect with

the person within—you may never experience more

talent, sincerity, loyalty, or unconditional love. So much

has been written about individuals with AS having

problems with understanding the ways and perspectives

of the mainstream. This is my attempt to address the

reverse. We aim to educate and inspire the “typical”

world’s understanding, appreciation, and acceptance

of those with AS/autism.


Autism expert Tony Attwood has likened people with

Asperger’s to those of another “culture” in describing

their difficulties with others who are encountered (167).

I love this comparison, for I do see many parallels that

exist between these populations. As the saying goes,

when in Rome, do as the Romans do. However, this is

pretty overwhelming to do for your entire life—especially

if one is alone and possesses rudimentary skills or

unclear understanding. As is often said on return from a

vacation, “It feels so good to be home!” But realistically

speaking, even if the language is ultimately learned and

the land and culture become better navigated, my son

will always be a visitor. Attwood states that “special

interests” can enable “order and consistency” and the

chance “to relax in the security of routine” (among

other benefits) (93-94). Thus, back to our analogy,

perhaps David’s chosen and beloved topics allow him

that sought-after home relief and familiarity.


It’s time you visit David’s country. Things are not

wrong there—they are, just simply, different! Perhaps

you may then appreciate why persons with autism

behave as they do in the “typical” world. Furthermore,

you may then learn what can be done to help them

function there more effectively without compromising

the uniqueness of who they are. Dual citizenship IS

possible! In this era of increased cultural sensitivity,

let us include Asperger’s Syndrome/autism!


In keeping with our travel theme, I am reminded of

an incredibly insightful piece which I read early on in

our journey and many times since. I share it with you

now, for it is incomparable in its powerful and brilliant

analogies:


Welcome To Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley © 1987
by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.

I am often asked to describe the experience
of raising a child with a disability – to try to
help people who have not shared that unique
experience to understand it, to imagine how it
would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like
planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy.
You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make
your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The
Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice.
You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.
It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day
finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you
go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The
flight attendant comes in and says, “Welcome
to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean
Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed
to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going
to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan.
They’ve landed in Holland and there you must
stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken
you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full
of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a
different place.


So you must go out and buy new guide books.
And you must learn a whole new language. And
you will meet a whole new group of people you
would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than
Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been
there for a while and you catch your breath, you
look around….and you begin to notice Holland
has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland
even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and
going from Italy…and they’re all bragging about
what a wonderful time they had there. And for
the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s
where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had
planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever
go away…because the loss of that dream is a
very very significant loss.

But…if you spend your life mourning the fact
that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be
free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely
things… about Holland.


I am still touched every time I read this poignant and

thought-provoking interpretation, and I thank Ms.

Kingsley for the comfort and perspective this piece

has provided me over the years. Continuing with this

frame of reference, I must say that, for our situation,

my husband and I let go of “Italy” long ago. We have

refreshingly found that nothing is taken for granted

in Holland, and every victory there is so much sweeter

and appreciated. As parents, our lives have been greatly

enriched by our special detour around Italy, and we

can’t imagine life any other way. We have experienced

unsurpassed joy and pride because of it and have been

humbled by our journey.


Finally, it is my hope that this book may serve as an

“orientation manual” to enable David’s significant

others (both present and future) to understand him

as I do and to interact with him accordingly. As he

approaches the developmental stage in his life when

romantic and committed relationships begin to form, I

am concerned that misunderstandings, unknowns, or

idiosyncrasies could jeopardize their quality. The same

holds true for the world of employment. Perhaps this

book will facilitate communication of subtleties in order

to minimize exasperation and maximize opportunities

for his success and fulfillment on all levels.


Though each person with autism is distinct, we hope that

there are select anecdotes in this book that resonate with

every reader. Our hope is that others may benefit from

our experiences. Following each chapter, the “lessons

we learned” are a summary of personal convictions and

conclusions. They are a subjective culmination of what

I have surmised on David’s unique life journey. In later

chapters, many come from David himself. Some lessons

were gleaned the hard way: they were learned from my

mistakes or missed opportunities. Others took root from

the people, strategies, and occurrences which positively

impacted David’s still-evolving success. Surely, readers

will not unanimously agree with all of my decisions,

deductions, or tactics, but I hope additional avenues

for help or improved quality of life may be illuminated

nonetheless.


NOTES

*Asperger’s Disorder was identified as a diagnosis

in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic

and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth

Edition (DSM-IV™) in 1994 (75, 77). Alternate

names I have commonly seen substituted are

Asperger Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Asperger’s

Syndrome, Aspergers, and Asperger’s. For the

purposes of this book, we will mainly utilize

Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) or Asperger’s, per

personal preference. See the next chapter for the

changes imposed by the DSM-5™.


**Simply for ease in writing, I occasionally refer

to individuals without AS/autism as “typicals,”

shortened from “neurotypical,” as frequently

seen in other works. I intend no offense with this

categorization and hope none is taken.

In order to protect privacy and retain anonymity,

names and places have been changed or omitted

except for family, David’s childhood psychologist,

and his first-grade teacher.


The authors share their ideas and experiences

with readers, but they take no responsibility for

outcomes. The contents of this book do not replace

medical or professional intervention.

~Sandy Petrovic



Hello! My name is David Petrovic. Now, like my mother said,

we are not any kind of Ph.D. experts, but we do have some

insight based on our experiences. I am writing this book

because I want it to be a beacon of hope for typicals, families,

and exceptionals alike. There are three principles that I’ve

learned in my life that I want to get across in this book:


1. Don’t settle for a life that people expect you to live because

you have a disability. Go for the life that you “want” and

don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of you living

that life; I didn’t.


2. I am a person with an exceptionality (key word: PERSON).

People with disabilities aren’t mutants or other worldly

species; we’re just what we are: people! The one rule I’ve

used in my life is the Golden Rule: Treat others the way

you want to be treated. Simply, you’re nice to someone,

you get it back, and vice versa. At school, the office, and

social events, don’t be too quick to judge someone based

on what you see on the outside. Take a chance to actually

have a conversation starter. You may be surprised by

what you learn.


3. Everything happens for a reason! It is my ULTIMATE

belief that everything we go through in life has a certain

purpose. Whether positive or negative, the experiences

that life has to offer make up who we are as people.


Throughout this book, you will be getting the perspectives

of both the mother and the son. My mom’s views will be in

regular print and mine will follow in italics.

About the author

Though virtually non-verbal until age three and the product of early special education, David graduated cum laude from Notre Dame College in 2015. He is currently a junior high teacher at a Catholic elementary school. David is pursuing his master’s degree in theology (completion August 2020). view profile

Published on June 17, 2020

Published by AAPC Publishing

110000 words

Genre: Inspirational

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