Dan draws on his own experiences for new autism book
Chichester author Dan Jones releases his new book Look Into My Eyes on March 27, the first day of World Autism Awareness Week.
“I received an adult diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder a few years ago when I was facing workplace discrimination and realised I needed help,” Dan says, “and having a diagnosis would allow me to access workplace occupational health support.
“Following my diagnosis I decided I wanted to write a book to help and educate others about autism and to gain insight into myself and my thoughts and behaviours. I felt that I had a unique perspective. Not only do I have high-functioning autism, what before the changes to diagnostic terms a few years ago would have been called Asperger’s Syndrome, but I also had almost 20 years’ experience working with children and teens in residential children’s homes, many of whom had autism, and family support work, helping parents with their children and teens.
“In this line of work I regularly worked at helping people to see the strengths and positives within those with autism while learning how to help them to overcome the challenges they face and to help them understand what the world is like when viewed through the senses of someone on the spectrum.
“I wrote Look Into My Eyes initially as what I described as a helpful autobiography. I wrote about my own experiences in chronological order explaining what life was like as a young child, what I was like as a toddler, about my experiences of nursery school and primary school, through to my teenage years, and what it was like to go from a small primary school (St Phillips Primary School in Arundel) to a large mainstream secondary school (Littlehampton Community School – now The Littlehampton Academy). I shared about experiences like no one attending my one and only childhood birthday party when I was about five, through to my behaviours and thoughts, and perception of the world. I wrote about what it was like to be a young adult starting in the world of work and relationships, and where I am at now. At each stage I share tips and ideas for parents based on my personal and professional experience from how to seek diagnosis for your child, to what kinds of things can be done to help your child. Parents who have read the book have said it is like getting into the mind of their child and being able to see and understand their world. I shared about how meditation and learning hypnosis helped me with my ability to focus, to manage anxiety and to understand body language and social communication – which is what hypnosis is all about.
“The book is written in a very honest and frank way. I share the positives and negatives of having autism, challenges I’ve faced at different life stages, what has helped and what hasn’t been helpful, as well as the impact I have on others. The book is full of real-life descriptions that many parents of children with autism can relate to, and can get a glimpse of from the perspective of the person with autism.
“Look Into My Eyes is more than a helpful autobiography. There is a chapter written by my wife about her experiences being in a relationship with someone with autism, sharing the positives and challenges of dating someone with autism, and there is also an extensive chapter of tips and strategies, giving tips and strategies for parents and carers, friends and work colleagues, employers, and teachers, of those with autism, and tips and strategies for those with autism around social skills, interview skills, dating skills, managing anxiety, and more. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, many saying how it has helped them to understand their child better.”
Look Into My Eyes by Dan Jones, is available in paperback (from Amazon and other retailers) and ebook formats (Kindle, iBookstore).
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