"Slip" Won't Easily Slip Out of Your Mind After Reading It
Why did Tanya Savko write her new book, "Slip," published by Kova Publishing?
Savko was frustrated with a lot of the misconceptions that surround autism, especially the statistic that 85% of all marriages where there is a child with autism involved end in divorce. She wanted to show that it really is a far more complicated picture than that - that marriages that involve autism are subject to the same frailties and potential problems that any relationship would be. Autism is only one factor, she says. At the same time, she wanted to write a portrayal of what family life with autism was really like.
And Savko has succeeded. I found "Slip" to be an engaging portrayal of life with autism, as well as a compelling portrait of a failing marriage and subsequent new start in life. Andrew Pavel, already feeling unsatisfied with his life, is shocked when his wife Erica announces that she doesn't love him anymore. Around this same time, their son, Nathan, is diagnosed with autism. Everything is changing around Andrew, and he doesn't know what to do. Eventually, though, Andrew learns that he can not only exist on his own, but thrive, and manages to stumble into a life he is actually happy about. This book will not only teach you a lot about autism, but inspire you as you watch Andrew try to recreate his life into something worth living.
I had the opportunity to interview Tanya about her book, and how closely it matched her life. Here are some of her answers.
1. How much of this is based on your own life?
This book is based largely on my life, but some parts have been fictionalized. I do have a son, Nigel, who has autism and went through the same struggles as Nathan. Nigel's younger brother, Aidan, also has sensory integration issues, like Eileen in the book.
2. Why did you decide to do a fictional account of life with autism instead of a memoir?
Writing a novel presented more of a creative challenge, and I love to create characters. There are a lot of really good memoirs out there about autism, but not as many novels, so I wanted to contribute something to that genre.
3. Nathan has a lot of sensory issues in the book. Can you remember the first time when you were able to figure out why something that seemed to bother your child for no reason was actually a sensory issue?
When he was little, I couldn't figure out why he had so much trouble in crowds. I later figured out that it was the noise that bothered him.
4. How long did it take you to write this book?
It took about 2 years to write, then another two to self-publish.
5. What has your most difficult struggle in your journey with autism been?
Keeping Nigel safe. When he was younger, he would wander off a lot, or bolt when something scared him. I was constantly afraid he'd wander into a parking lot and get hit by a car. Also, being a single parent has been difficult.
6. What are your happiest memories in your memories of raising your kids?
When the 3 of us are home together watching a funny movie we all enjoy, and laughing. This is somewhat of an achievement when autism is involved, due to the difficulty of having joint attention and sharing experiences often found in autism.
7. What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about autism?
That people with autism can't talk, or that they have no desire to communicate. Also, the myth that autistic people don't have empathy, which is not true.
8. If a new parent of an autistic child came to you, what is the first thing you would say to them?
I would tell them that it's going to be okay. That's what I would have wanted to hear. Also, it's important to set up a good support system.
9. If you could look back at your years of special needs parenting, what is the one thing you think you most did right or are most glad of having done?
I am glad we enrolled Nigel in the ABA program. We had him in there 3 years, and he really improved a lot.
Thanks, Tanya, for your time! If any of you readers would like to purchase a copy of Tanya's new book "Slip," which I highly reccommend you do, you can get one at Amazon by clicking this link .
If you like this, please be sure to visit my other website, Accepting Asperger's. A lot of my older writing is stored here, including an editorial I once wrote for the Baltimore Sun. Click here to see it: Accepting Asperger's.
What's it really like to be a 20 something with Asperger's? On this blog, I hope to explore that question. But this blog is not just limited to an audience of people in their 20s - this is for anyone who ever wanted to know anything about autism. I plan to delve into the nature and experience of autism, and examine it from as many angles as possible. I would like to start a conversation between people with Asperger's or autism, parents of kids with autism spectrum disorders, and anyone who just wants to know more. Let's explore what autism means, together.
My goal is to start a discussion on and build a community of people affected by autism - parents and adults with ASD - so feel free to leave your two cents in the comments section of any post. If you're too shy for that, however, or want to speak to me personally, you may feel free to email me at KGoldfie@gmail.com.
Asperger's Book for Sale
Common Scents: Adventures with Autism and Chemical Sensitivity" is the story of a young woman's search for physical and emotional safety as she journeys through the mountains of the Cascades, small coastal towns on the Oregon coast, and out-of the-way towns in upstate New York. Along the way, she experiences things she would never have dreamed possible had she stayed in her Maine hometown, and begins to learn the power of human connection.
Common Scents is the story of the last three years of my life. It gives a gripping view of what it is like to experience the world as someone on the autistic spectrum, and some would say, is an entertaining travel story as well. Because of chemical sensitivities, I engaged on a three year journey for a place I could call home.
Comments from readers:
"The Asperger's element is remarkable. I feel that I understand my son better, so much better. I laughed at this part.... because I've stared at my son in the same way for the same thing." - mother of an Asperger's kid
"Your writing style is SO engaging and interesting. It brings me right into the subject and I always experience a little emotional punch towards the end. In other words, this is the third time I've teared-up reading your work. Kate, you've highlighted ALL the problems with how social skills are usually taught." - mother of ASD kid
"I stayed up entirely too late reading the first 14 pages. I can relate to so much of what you write. I really think you are expressing the true experience with MCS and autism in words that convey the experience." person with chemical sensitivity (MCS)
"Absolutely interesting, insightful and witty. You've blended together your three themes beautifully (Asperger's, MCS and travelling). It seems seamless."