1 in 44 children is diagnosed with autism. That’s according to the CDC. Laura Hales’ children’s book aims to spark conversations about autism in the classroom.
Chesapeake, Virginia — Laura Hales is on a mission to create a more inclusive world for her sons and those who look like them.
“Leo is 6 and Noah is 12 and they are both autistic.
“My sons need the next step as a community. It’s an acceptance piece.”
She has written two children’s books that promote awareness and compassion for autism.
Her books Alex and the Drummer and Alex and the Muffin Man tell the story from the point of view of an autistic character.
“When we can relate…more foreign autistic behavior…and suddenly we don’t see it as an autistic thing or an autistic way of doing things.” said Hales.
“It’s a human response to action.”
Hales says the story is based on her family’s real-life experiences.
“This is what happens to us all the time. Good things, bad things, ugly things and beautiful things,” Hales continued.
“Being able to empathize with our stories will change your perspective, change your actions, and change your community.”
But even among what she stuffed into the book, what Hales left behind is also noteworthy.
“We deliberately left out the word ‘autism’ or ‘autism’ from the first story,” Hales said.
“They won’t wear a name tag that says ‘Hello, I have autism,’ and they shouldn’t have to,” Hales said.
“In order to spread that grace and kindness to people, we need to have things explained. Why can’t we?”
Hales shared the story in schools across the country, hoping to help children develop better relationships with their spectrum peers.
“‘You put it this way. I put it this way. Now we can understand each other,'” Hales said.
“Alex and the Drummer” and “Alex and the Muffin Man” are available for purchase from the Hales website, along with accessories and apparel that promote autism awareness.
You can also follow Hales on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for related content.