Friends, JB Handley is one of my career Godfathers. Many years ago he made me an offer I could not refuse. Start a blog for autism. That blog called Rescue Post grew into Age of Autism 14 years ago. JB has been a booming voice for people with autism. He co-founded Generation Rescue and has never backed down from the truth of what happened to his son Jamsion. Jamison is a lot like many of our children. Some call him "non-verbal." Some assume he is low IQ . For a long time, I have said that we need to use autism and its many stupid definitions (yes, I said stupid) as a credit card for services. I still believe that. My daughters also test with low IQ - and therefore qualify for services and supports here in Connecticut. And believe you me, I need those services for them. But my daughters, like Jamison Handley, are not really intellectually disabled. Their intelligence and ability to SHOW it are held captive within autism. I see my Bella very much in Jamison's story. I have read JB's newest book, Underestimated: An Autism Miracle. Coming this Spring from Skyhorse Publishing. I saw Bella on every page. JB and Jamison share how a therapy called Spell2Communicate (thanks R!) finally opened the channels. Two of my daughters saw Soma, twice, many years ago. While S2C is not Soma's HALO program, it is similar, and I can tell you that what my girls produced was nothing short of astounding and gut wrenching.
I'm going to talk to JB about ways to bring what he has learned closer to the AofA community. Maybe a Zoom event would be fun.
You can pre-order the book now. Stay tuned for much more info. From Amazon:
In Underestimated: An Autism Miracle, Generation Rescue’s cofounder J.B. Handley and his teenage son Jamison tell the remarkable story of Jamison’s journey to find a method of communication that allowed him to show the world that he was a brilliant, wise, generous, and complex individual who had been misunderstood and underestimated by everyone in his life.
Jamison’s emergence at the age of seventeen from his self-described “prison of silence” took place over a profoundly emotional and dramatic twelve-month period that is retold from his father’s perspective. The book reads like a spy thriller while allowing the reader to share in the complex emotions of both exhilaration and anguish that accompany Jamison’s journey for him and his family. Once Jamison’s extraordinary story has been told, Jamison takes over the narrative to share the story from his perspective, allowing the world to hear from someone who many had dismissed and cast aside as incapable.
Jamison’s remarkable transformation challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding autism, a disability impacting 1 in 36 Americans. Many scientists still consider nonspeakers with autism—a full 40 percent of those on the autism spectrum—to be “mentally retarded.” Is it possible that the experts are wrong about several million people? Are all the nonspeakers like Jamison?
Underestimated: An Autism Miracle will touch your heart, inspire you, remind you of the power of love, and ultimately leave you asking tough questions about how many more Jamisons might be waiting for their chance to be freed from their prison of silence, too. And, for the millions of parents of children with autism, the book offers a detailed description of a communication method that may give millions of people with autism back their voice.