A Derry author's book on living and parenting with autism is set to be released in America by the same company that published 'The Secret'.
Jude Morrow, who has Asperger's, wrote 'Why Does Daddy Always Look so Sad?' for his son Ethan to show that people with autism can be every bit as happy and fulfilled as those not on the spectrum.
The title of the book came from a question Ethan, who does not have autism, asked Mr Morrow's mum when he was just three.
Mr Morrow said he started writing the book to record his childhood and journey into fatherhood, after realising that most of the books on autism focused on children with the condition, not parents.
"It was a bit of a bucket list thing, to have a book published before I was 30,”he said.
"I wanted to make a record of my early life and Ethan's early life.
"I'm proudly autistic now but that wasn't always the case.
"I used to try and hide it."
After sending it off to a string of literary agents with no success, Jude self-published the book which has since earned a number of five star reviews and attracted the attention of one of the world's leading consultants on autism, Maisie Soetantyo.
'Why Does Daddy Always Look so Sad?' also caught the eye of an American literary agent who took it to 'Beyond Words Publishing', the publisher behind the self help book 'The Secret'.
Impressed by Jude's 'warts and all' story which detailed his childhood struggle with autism through to adapting becoming a parent, they agreed to launch the book in the US with a speaking tour which will include a guest lecture at California's Stanford University.
"'Beyond Words Publishing' get submissions from all over the world but they only publish about 10 books a year so for them to publish my book is just unbelievable," said Jude.
"I never in my widest dreams thought this was going to happen.
"The publishers said the book resonates with people because it's not about swimming the channel or climbing Everest, I'm just a normal, relatable person.
"I'm remarkably unremarkable but they thought it was important to get my story out there."
Since publishing the book last year, Jude has given a series of talks and book signings which have given the 29-year-old social worker the chance to reach out to children with autism.
"I love meeting autistic kids,” he said,
"They are like me and I am like them.
"I'm not in the business of giving parenting advice and when I give a talk to parents it's always the kids who ask the questions.
"There's a misconception that autistic kids don't know they are different.
"I want to tell them that things will be grand."
He has also been contacted by people from around the world who have been touched by his story and he has encouraged anyone with questions to get in touch with him online.
"I reach out to people all the time and I have a black belt in responding," said Jude.
'Why Does Daddy Always Look so Sad?' is available on Amazon in both paper back and ebook.
For more information see www.judemorrow.com or Jude Morrow Author on Facebook.
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