Jonathan Roberts has written a story book about his daughter, Kya, who was diagnosed with autism. After a great reaction to his book from Kya’s family and the professionals who work with her, Jon’s book has just been published by Graffeg.
Getting a diagnosis
We adopted Kya at 17 months old. We realised fairly soon that there were differences between Kya and other children of her age and we initially put this down to post adoption attachment issues. Kya’s Health Visitor raised her concerns and referred her for an assessment with regards to her development delays which resulted in a diagnosis of severe autism.
As Kya’s parents we’re blessed – she is a lovely, placid happy child and I wanted to capture her lovely little quirks before we forgot them so I started to record them. I started writing things down and showed my wife Sarah. She liked them and we thought it might make a little book.
When Kya started mainstream school, the children in her class asked the teacher questions about her, like:
“Why is Kya allowed to run around?”
Kya has lot of energy and finds it difficult to sit still. It’s hard for us to keep up with her sometimes, particularly when we are out shopping and we forget her rucksack with reins. Luckily, we live near some long, sandy beaches and open spaces where Kya can run around in a relatively safe environment but we still have to keep our eye on her all the time! She doesn’t understand danger so she’s always climbing stairs, railings and on top of kitchen work tops. It can be very tiring!
“Why won’t Kya talk?”
She has difficulty concentrating and finds it hard to communicate. She has delays with her speech and often babbles but she is learning a few words now. When we read the book to her, she points and says, “Kya!” and looks at me for approval. She loves looking at the book but she has a tendency to rip things up, it is like her sign of approval, as if she is multiplying things as opposed to destroying them.
Picturing a book
I wanted to create a nice, pretty looking and simple to read book explaining her differences and beautiful quirks. I wanted the book to be illustrated simply yet beautifully. We got in touch with Hannah Rounding, who was spot on with her pictures even though she had never met us!
We hope Through the Eyes of Me will help siblings, classmates and anyone who knows of someone on the autism spectrum.
Check out our Pinterest board of kids books for siblings of disabled children.