My car seat was a laundry basket in the back seat of a VW Bug. That explains the rest of my life...
Born in Nebraska and raised in California from the age of three, I’ve been a freelance writer for over twenty years. My work has appeared in more than thirty different magazines, a dozen newspapers, scores of websites and a handful of “How Did We Do today?” Comment cards.
The proud owner of an award-winning purple goatee and the creator of award-winning blogs in the past, I moved to Southwest Missouri in August of 2017 and in February of 2018, I created, Not Weird, Just Autistic to highlight my life growing up, “Off the spectrum,” in an age before there was a diagnosis of Aspergers or high functioning autism and to advocate for those like me.
Raised in a time before research and diagnosis of high functioning autism, I grew up hearing words and phrases such as weird, odd, stupid, dumb, idiot, lazy, not living up to potential and other phrases too colorful to list here. These insults were hurled by teachers, classmates, peers, coaches and eventually employers. My self-esteem in the toilet all my life from all the negativity, I was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s/high-functioning autism at the age of forty-six as well as ADD in my early twenties.
There were good memories from my childhood to be sure, but to this day what sticks out to me are the negative experiences I had. In 2000 I had enough of the bullying and bad mouthing by my employers and co-workers and set out on my own as a freelance writer.
Though not yet formally diagnosed with autism, I knew since high school that something was off, but could never figure out what it was. As time went on, social situations became scarier and interacting with people caused panic attacks. Being in crowds freaked me out and things that I should enjoy, I didn’t
My mission is to advocate for the high functioning autistic adult to discuss and deal with the problems that we face in our daily lives and the NT’s that are part of our lives. The struggles could be work, relationships, interacting with others at the grocery store or at our kid’s functions or social situations that single adults face. We don’t have to be the weird parents or the odd single people who can’t seem to connect with others in the way most people can.
High school and college are tough years for neurotypicals but throw in the challenges that kids on the spectrum face and it can be a train wreck waiting to happen. I want to help high school and college students get through this critical period in their life without feeling alone, unwanted and broken, along with adults, the forgotten ones when it comes to getting help.
With my daughter now in her junior year of college, I made the move from Southern California to Ozark country near Branson, Missouri to get away from the fast pace of life in the LA/OC area and to try and find peace in nature and the lakes that surround my new home. You can’t imagine how much the lack of sensory overload has changed my life for the better.
My autism service dog, Tye, and I are looking for opportunities to advocate for the high functioning autistic adult and teen and to speak as much as possible to groups of teens, college students, and adults, both with Asperger’s and without. Though technically defined as a disability, I believe that autism is simply a different way of viewing and relating to life and want to educate those that don’t understand what we go through on a daily basis.
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JR Reed's Website
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JR Reed's Book Talk Radio Club Podcast
Interview 23 June 2018
Interview on Book Talk Radio Club's
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