NOTE: Here's a terrifically hopeful story we're happy to share. Jennifer is the daughter of AofA contributors Jonathan Rose and Gayle DeLong. Her book will help so many families and young adults with autism. We encourage you to purchase a copy today.
HANOVER - Drew University student Jennifer Rose is like many 20-year-olds, sweating out class assignments, socializing with friends and participating in activities like an anime club and the campus newspaper.
But in other ways, she is one of the more unique students at Drew — still learning to cope with autism, she recently became a published author.
The Morris Township native, now living on the Drew campus in Madison, spoke to the Morris County Special Needs Parents Group on Thursday during their regular meeting at the Morris County Library, telling them about her difficult journey, her inspiring progress and, of course, her book — “It’s Not a Perfect World, But I’ll Take It: 50 Life Lessons for Teens Like Me Who are Kind Of (You Know) Autistic.”
“Throughout college, I’ve had some really busy days,” she wrote in Lesson 35. “What I’ve learned from them is that I can’t always adjust life; sometimes I need to adjust myself to life instead and make sure to include the things that will help me deal with the stress.”
Both in writing the book and speaking to the group, Rose was honest about the challenges she still deals with. She still has difficulty focusing and tends to obsess, and her condition also makes it difficult to navigate around campus.
But the 50 “bite-size” lessons she shared in the book — many featuring a sly sense of humor — have given her enough confidence to realize a big goal of publishing a book at a very young age.
“I feel great, and also very excited,” she said of being a published author. “Writing has been a therapy tool in multiple ways for me. Sometimes I get anxious in class, so I write down my feelings on a sheet of paper. It makes me feel better to do so.”
“My favorite lesson is ‘Learn to take jokes, even your dad’s,’ “ she told the group. “My dad is the king of bad jokes.”
Other lessons are more poignant, as Rose shares some of her difficult experiences and how she worked through them.
“Eighth grade was awful,” she wrote. “In addition to school stress, I was also preoccupied with preparing for my bat mitzvah. In the end, I had to leave my middle school because I was so overwhelmed. At my next school, the environment was not very friendly.” Read more here.