Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Forward: What's Next for The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism

The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism (TPGA) started with a brainstorm in a California parking lot May 27, 2010. We published our first post 9 days later, on June 6:

The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism (TPGA) is the book and website we wish had been available when our children with autism were first diagnosed. We want to help people with autism and their families make sense of the bewildering array of available autism treatments and options, and determine which are worth their time, money, and energy.

Think of us as a little bit of Snopes for the autism community -- trusted, accurate, and friendly. Our essays will cover informed approaches to autism and autism treatments, as well as the personal experiences of people with autism and their families. Our attitude is cautionary yet loving -- we're honest, but we're not interested in negativity.
We -- the TPGA editors -- have been amazed and humbled by what our contributing writers have shared up until now. Our original plan was to publish a book in mid-summer from the contributed essays, but there was still so much in the pipeline we put the book publishing effort off until late fall.

Our first book will consist of a selection of essays already published on the site. The profits from the sale of that book will go to an autism charity to be named later (we have a several candidates, and the arm-wrestling over which will benefit continues).

But there is more to come from The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. We have more essays and stories to publish online, and are continuing to solicit submissions. Here are a few of the subjects for which we are seeking submissions:
  • The public image of autism is overwhelmingly WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant), while the reality is that autism is an equal opportunity condition. We plan to publish more essays from people of color on autism.
  • For a number of reasons, the public image of autism is that it is a condition of childhood. In reality, it is a lifelong condition. We plan to publish more essays from adults with autism, and from caregivers to adults with autism from young adulthood to end of life.
  • Living with autism: practical tips, how to, and mentoring.
Those are just a few of the topics we will continue to address. We want to hear, and publish, what you have to say. Here's what you have to do (more details at the submissions page):
  • write an essay or story between 1,000 to 2,500 words (about four to ten printed pages).
  • The work must be written in or translated into English.
  • the work must be own - you must own the copyright
  • email the work to thinkingautism@gmail.com
  • the submission email subject line should read: SUBMISSION: [Title of Your Essay]
Thanks for your participation and support over the last four months, and we look forward to continuing the conversation in the months to come.