Autism Awareness Month

My character, Tess, from Chaysing Dreams, volunteers at a facility where the residents have autism. Here’s a brief “teaser” from the book when she visits the site on her sixteenth birthday:

 “Tess!” I hear Tony yelling as I enter one of the sites. Tony comes running to me with a big smile. He is eighteen, and has autism. He doesn’t make eye contact, clasps his hands together, and starts rocking.

“Hi, Tony! I miss you so much!” I gently pat his back, and he gives me a shy smile.

“What are we going to do today? Did you drive? Where’s your car? What kind of car do you drive? You look really pretty today. I like your hair.” Tony shoots off rapid-fire questions. 

“Whoa, slow down, Tony!” I say, laughing. “No, I didn’t drive, but I’ll be getting my license soon! I’m sixteen today!” I’m excited to share my special day.

“Tess, it’s your birthday today?” Jennifer, the nurse, asks me. I nod, smiling at her.

Amy comes running to me. “It’s Tess’s birthday, it’s Tess’s birthday. I want cake!” Amy starts yelling and spinning. Amy is fourteen, and she is adorable. She gets over stimulated easily though, so I have to be careful not to stress her out.

I look around and notice that there are six more of the residents surrounding me. They are all very excited. I decide to distract them. “Ok, guys, how about we do some games first? Who wants to play some basketball?”

It works like magic! The residents are now focused on the game. We set up the indoor basketball net, and play HORSE. It’s so fun to laugh and run around with them.

Personally, I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with kids and adults with autism. These guys are truly a treasure. And their intelligence always blows me away.

There are different levels of autism. Some are mild, and some may be severe cases. I can promise you this much, these guys have always been able to bring a smile to my face. They have a heart of gold, and just need their own way of dealing with things.

Maybe you’ve been as lucky as me, and have encountered somebody with autism. Maybe it’s your family member, or a friend, or an acquaintance. If you haven’t, I would recommend you volunteer at places that serve kids or adults with autism. I promise you, not only will you learn from them, but they will make your heart smile.

It’s Autism Awareness Month so I felt that it was important I write a blog about it. The more the general population is aware, the better we can help.

Would love to hear your experiences or special stories regarding autism! Share your stories on how special these guys are!


About Jalpa Williby

Jalpa Williby was born in India and immigrated to the United States at the tender age of eight. A voracious reader, Williby’s adolescence was marked by a promising academic career. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science from the University of Illinois, Williby went on to earn her Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Northwestern University. Her passion for helping her patients led her to a specialty in neuroscience, focusing on children and adults with neurological impairments. For the past 20 years, Williby has worked as a Physical Therapist, a career she loves because she gets to make a difference, “One person at a time!” When she is not working, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her husband and her three children. Juggling her time as a wife, a mother, and working fulltime, her love and passion for books never subsided. Some of her favorite books are A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Twilight Series, and The Hunger Games Trilogy. When asked what inspired her to write her debut novel, Chaysing Dreams, Williby answers simply, “Because I have a story to share.”

Posted on April 2, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You said it exactly right, Jalpa, “they will make your heart smile!” This is absolutely the case for me. Even on a bad day, I know all I have to do is go say “hello” to my clients and I will smile and laugh like there are no worries in the world! 🙂


  2. I’ve experienced those with autism and it was a life changing experience. Your book sounds very interesting and something everyone can relate too.


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