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Writing for Children with Asperger’s Syndrome

Head and shoulders shot of JulieDay

British indie author Julie Day

For #WritersWednesday today, here’s an inspiring case study of British author Julie Day who is using her fiction for a very specific purpose: to raise awareness and understanding of Asperger’s Syndrome, of which she has personal experience.

Cover of The Railway Angel by Julie Day

Julie Day’s debut indie novel

I live in south east London. I am an indie author of adult and children’s books, especially children’s fiction. I also write magazine fillers and am trying to write short stories for women’s magazines. I have been an indie author since 2011 when I wrote and published my first YA fantasy ebook The Railway Angel. My niche is writing magical realism: magical animals and worlds for children, and ghosts and magical objects for adults.

My Asperger’s Experience

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2011, which came as a relief. I had a reason why I was like I was and why I was like I was as a child. I now knew why I found it hard to make friends in the past and present, why I couldn’t keep eye contact with people when I spoke to them and why I sometimes spoke harshly without realising it. All Asperger’s traits.

Since I was diagnosed, I have been reading more on Asperger’s and I feel I am coming to accept myself more of who I am.

The Evolution of My Aspergers’ Books

I first wrote back in 1999. It was a viewpoint column for The Lady magazine (which they no longer do). Then I had a recurring dream of a romance story, which stuck in my mind and the only way to get it out was to write it down. Once I did, the ideas came. I’ve been trying to write romance since.

In 2005 I came second in a Writing for Children story competition, and it got me starting writing for children. I have written for different ages and genres since, but a few years ago I wrote a book about a boy who was boring and came super by his socks. I didn’t know why he was boring, then I got a chance to see the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time‘, and knew why – he has Asperger’s and can’t communicate. Like me.

I submitted it to publishers. One said they would like to see a series proposal, so I wrote one. Nothing came of it, except the idea for the series of children’s books about children with Asperger’s who find confidence through a magical world at school.

Cover of Billy and the Sparkling Socks by Julie Day

In May this year I went on a writing retreat. I mentioned to the others what I had planned and they all said it was a great idea. One member suggested to put them all under one umbrella. Billy and the Sparkling Socks is the first book in the Rainbow School series. From that one series came the idea for lots more for all ages, from picture books to YA.

With these in mind, and realising from what I have seen and heard, I felt that it would be good to raise awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome and autism in children and adults, because not many people know what it is and how it affects us.

After Rainbow School for 6-10 year-olds, there will be a series for 9-12 year-olds on green/eco themes including a mystery. After that, I haven’t decided yet which age range.

I would like to reach as many children with my books and help them understand what Asperger’s is and how autistic children are and how they can help and understand them more. I would also like to do library events to raise awareness of this with my books as much as I can.

OVER TO YOU If you have experience of Asperger’s or autism, how have books helped you?

Case study of a children's book about #AspergersSyndrome & #autism by indie author Julie… Click To Tweet

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7 Responses to Writing for Children with Asperger’s Syndrome

  1. Janet Hartman February 2, 2017 at 10:53 pm #

    I passed the link to this post on to a local author here in North Carolina who has an autistic son.She is very active raising awareness and doing fundraising. One of the characters in her novels is a boy with autism.

  2. clare Weiner January 26, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    Interesting – I know another author who writes with children with disabilities in mind … including Aspergers. Being a but neuro-typical or whatever, I thought ‘they should all meet up as a Facebook group” but I leave that to you as it may well not appeal…

    I think it’s certainly a ‘way togo’ especially for children whose disability isn’t instantly recognisable, and who may do years of school while they and their parents have no idea what is ‘wrong’, very wearying for both sides, (and the school).

    All best with your projects, Julie!

    • Julie Day January 27, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

      Thank you, Clare. Who is this other author? Would like to connect with them to see what they write. A FB group is a good idea. My children have other health issues as well as autism, ranging from fainting, to heart problem to anxiety, all that I have myself, so have personal experience of. I might have one of the children in a planned other series be partially deaf too, as I am.

  3. Olli Tooley January 25, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

    Interesting reading.
    I have never been officially diagnosed, although since my son was diagnosed when he was around 12, I began to realise that I too must be Aspie or (I think we now lump it back with ASC don’t we?) “on the spectrum” is the usual phrase.

    I too began writing with an ASC slant, introducing an Aspie character to my “Time Tunnel” series for 10-12 yr olds
    I was inspired to do so by a tweet complaining that there are far too few disabled characters in stories. I figured I should start with something I know.
    My son is now 20 and having trouble getting work while my youngest is ten and also diagnosed as being on the ASC spectrum.

    • Julie Day January 26, 2017 at 10:55 am #

      Hi, Ollie. It is possible that you do have ASD too, as I now feel that it is genetic. As I put on the blog, I had written for different genres but find I am enjoying writing about Aspie children than others, prob cos that was me years ago, and I am writing from memory. I hope that our eldest son finds work.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Discoverability – Guest blogging | Get discovered with Julie Day - February 22, 2017

    […] A couple of months ago, I was asked to write a piece for their blog about writing about children with Asperger’s by the blog’s organiser, Debbie Young. She said that she would put it up when my book went live. The post went up last week and you can read it here http://selfpublishingadvice.org/children-asperger-syndrome-autism-books/ […]

  2. Writing for Children with Asperger’s Syndrome | WordHarbour - January 26, 2017

    […] Julie Day A heartwarming post by indie author Julie Day, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, about her new […]

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