Debut book - Same Child, Different Day: Several years louder
Debut book - Same Child, Different Day: Several years louder
A year after our son's autism diagnosis, I wrote a booklet that found a world-wide audience. This is the follow-up full-length book.
A year after our son's autism diagnosis, I wrote a booklet that found a world-wide audience. This is the follow-up full-length book. Read more
About this project
Quite possibly the most important autism-related manuscript ever written...
...will never be said by anyone about this particular book. Nevertheless, this is a fun, enlightening, alternate look at the world of autism.
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Thanks to all of you for stopping by my page in support of my first ever Kickstarter campaign. I'm Jon Gilbert and I've been involved in the autism community since our son was diagnosed in 2007. At 2-years-old he was diagnosed with classic autism. Then, in 2009, our youngest daughter was diagnosed at 6½ years old with the autism spectrum disorder PDD-NOS.
A little bit about my background in autism and writing
A year after our son’s diagnosis, I wrote a funny, poignant booklet entitled Same Child, Different Day: One family’s experiences during the first year after a child’s autism diagnosis, which found modest worldwide success. That led to a stint as chairperson of a local autism support and awareness group. With that group I wrote and continue to write speeches and press releases related to many other local and state-wide autism events. I also began writing a blog also entitled “Same Child, Different Day,” and was offered the opportunity to use my writing skills to assist in the battle for Vermont’s passage of autism insurance legislation. This opportunity allowed me to speak about autism before the Vermont state Senate Finance Committee. I was later offered the opportunity to co-found and facilitate a local walk-in autism resource center. With that same agency, I was offered position working with children with autism in a newly formed school for children on the autism spectrum.
Why Same Child, Different Day: Several Years Louder?
As I said above, there is a small booklet I wrote in 2008 entitled Same Child, Different Day. When I wrote it, I was looking for a way to cope with our son's diagnosis, help people find the resources we were having difficulty locating, and look at what could have otherwise been a traumatic experience (as it is for so many) through a different lens. I also credit my son for re-inspiring my love for writing.
The title of the original came to me when someone asked what a day with autism is like. I was going to respond with society’s typical and oft quoted, “Same s**t, different day.” However, “Same child, different day” just spilled out. It wasn't until a little while later that I realized the double entendre of that comment. First of all, the day can change very little in the routine-driven world of autism. However, the comment had a lot in common with “what a difference a day makes.” One day he didn't have an autism diagnosis, and the very next day, he does. I immediately realized, though, that the diagnosis doesn't change the child he is; the child we had already loved unconditionally for (at the time) the previous two years, was and is the same kid. The day was different; the kid was not.
After some moderate success around the world, I was asked during a radio interview if there would ever be a follow-up to the booklet. At the time, I had no idea, but I said I would certainly be open to the possibility. Five years after the first copy of the original booklet was printed, so much had changed in our lives that there was no way I could avoid writing a sequel. The thing that has changed the most is the audible volume related to autism.
First, we now have two on the spectrum; our son’s older sister was diagnosed at 6½ years old. Nolan, who was non-verbal and we had previously thought might be deaf, now speaks, screams, screeches, argues, and has developed a rather loud character. Our (my wife’s and my) autism advocacy has gotten louder as well. People know us locally, our voices have been heard at the State level, and even people from national autism support organizations have heard what we have to say. Our house no longer asks the question, “Will he ever speak?” Today, so long as he doesn’t have the iPad at a volume usually reserved for F-35 jets, he is all we can hear. Most days, even when my wife and I are together in one room and he is in another, we must ask him to quiet down. The activities that he tolerates today, amusement parks, water parks, etc., are louder places than he could ever once handle. The controversies in which my wife and I engage cause conversations and discussions that are heard by and either enrage them, or cause them to be inspired. There is “louder” all around us, and Same Child, Different Day: Several Years Louder will address them all.
This is not a book of self-indulgence, however (okay, maybe a little). The purpose of this project is to share what we have experienced with autism, provide a little hope to some families, and bring awareness and acceptance into the community-at-large. Autism is what is known as an invisible disability. Our kids don’t use wrist crutches, they don’t have Mongoloid features and they lack a wheelchair. Because of these and many other reasons, his communication behavior is looked at as just a kid being a brat, and we as parents who can’t control a bratty kid. This isn’t something unique to our lives, either. It’s an experience lived by many who love someone with autism.
There is an unspoken discrimination toward (or against, as it were) those with autism. For all of the awareness walks, blue-lit buildings in April, and celebrity endorsements, there are still so many who are illiterate to what autism really is. I’m using humor, anecdotes and light-hearted teasing to bring about a different type of awareness and, hopefully, acceptance of those who live every day with this neurological difference. It would be the fulfillment of a dream if this book were to reach “millions” of people; I would settle for thousands. I stated that wrong. I wouldn’t “settle” for thousands; that would just be a nice neighborhood. I’m a shameless promoter, and I won’t settle until I feel enough people have been reached by this book. I’m confident that it will resonate with many, and with a little luck, it will touch the lives of those outside of the autism community. It will if it’s loud enough.
So, why Kickstarter?
Of course, a project of this magnitude is hard to complete on a part-time basis, especially when adding the complication, as it were, of a house with two on the spectrum. Without your generous funding, rest assured that I will continue with this project, even if it means plodding along at an hour or two each evening. Of course, there are the research and interviews, and the numerous rewrites, associated with any good manuscript. All of that is followed by editing, printing, marketing and all other services related to such a grandiose undertaking. With your generous contributions, I can devote all of my time to making this the amazing project that it strives and deserves to be.
Risks and challenges
Of course, there will be challenges, and there is a risk of failure. Assuming you wonderful people assist me in funding this project, those challenges will be great, but not insurmountable. In fact, the risk of this project failing is greater without your generous support.
The biggest risk is wholly on me, and is the one you should be most concerned about: your funding of a project I do not complete. Aside from the legal implications, or the fulfillment requirements established by Kickstarter, I understand that there is no guarantee I can personally provide that will assure you that your money will not go to waste. That reason alone is incentive enough for me.
For decades, I have wanted nothing more than to establish myself as a writer. Circumstances associated with that fickle thing called Life have provided me with my fair share of obstacles where that is concerned. This would be the opportunity I need, the shot in the arm, so to speak, to make both my dream and this special project a reality.
An always-present risk is lack of interest and little exposure to the community and the world. I am a shameless self-promoter and a stage performing attention hound. With the original booklet, a small manuscript by comparison, I was able to find a small but dedicated worldwide audience. That was prior to the giants that Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have become. I am familiar with the analytic matrices associated with social media and know how to use these to impact reach and targeting.
I've been interviewed on the radio and television. I am a public speaker who has given presentations to elementary schools, high schools and technical programs, colleges and businesses. I have promoted my support groups and resource center at trade shows and health fairs, as well, so raising awareness in public forums is comfortable for me.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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