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Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum
By Jennifer O'Toole. 2018
The face of autism is changing. And more often than we realize, that face is wearing lipstick.<p><p>Autism in Heels, an…intimate memoir, reveals the woman inside one of autism’s most prominent figures, Jennifer O'Toole. <p><p>At the age of thirty-five, Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, and for the first time in her life, things made sense. Now, Jennifer exposes the constant struggle between carefully crafted persona and authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power. Her journey is one of reverse-self-discovery not only as an Aspie but--more importantly--as a thoroughly modern woman.<p><p>Beyond being a memoir, Autism in Heels is a love letter to all women. It’s a conversation starter. A game changer. And a firsthand account of what it is to walk in Jennifer's shoes (especially those iconic red stilettos).<p><p>Whether it's bad perms or body image, sexuality or self-esteem, Jennifer's is as much a human journey as one on the spectrum. Because autism "looks a bit different in pink," most girls and women who fit the profile are not identified, facing years of avoidable anxiety, eating disorders, volatile relationships, self-harm, and stunted independence. Jennifer has been there, too. Autism in Heels takes that message to the mainstream.From her own struggles and self-discovery, she has built an empire of empowerment, inspiring women the world over to realize they aren't mistakes. They are misunderstood miracles.
First Light: A Journey Out of Darkness
By Lucas Matthiessen. 2023
A deeply felt literary memoir of one man&’s journey to redemption through vision loss, alcoholism, and the burden of a…family legacy. Born to the author Peter Matthiessen, young Lucas traveled through life believing himself a disappointment to his famous father. From an early age, Lucas was exposed to the fanciful ideas of his parent&’s group of renowned bohemians as well as to their addictive pastimes. Within the shadow of his father&’s professional success came another source of darkness—the deterioration of Lucas&’s vision from retinitis pigmentosa. With blindness looming imminently, Lucas spirals downward, unsure of how to turn his degree in English Literature into a job and relying more and more on alcohol. As Lucas&’ drinking and eyesight worsen, so too do his interpersonal relationships and first career in publishing.First Light is a memoir of loss and learning. By pulling himself out of addiction and accepting that he will lose his sight completely, Lucas transitions from being &“the son of&” someone famous to an individual with his own strong sense of self. Despite continued personal tragedies, Lucas develops a second sight that is aimed inward, laying his triumphs and failures bare.With great honesty, Lucas Matthiessen creates a vivid portrait of self-destruction and rebirth, which is, above all, a vision of hope.
Colonel Parkinson in Charge: A Wry Reflection on My Incurable Illness
By François Gravel. 2023
A writer’s witty and surprisingly optimistic account of learning to live with Parkinson’s disease. When he was sixty-five, François Gravel…was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, upending the old age he had imagined for himself. As a way of contemplating his new life with a degenerative illness, he turned to what he knew best and loved most: writing. Gravel immersed himself in research on Parkinson’s, exploring its medical history and treatments and paying close attention to the changes he experienced, all in service of learning how to best manage his symptoms throughout the advancement of this incurable disease. With a lightness of touch that belies a difficult subject (he imagines Dr. Parkinson as a military man who has set up camp in his brain), Gravel shares what he has learned in a memoir that is at once charming, serious, and moving. He writes, “For a long time, I believed that Parkinson’s was a disease. Now, I realize it’s a philosophy course.” Colonel Parkinson in Charge is, in some ways, the companion text for this course, engaging with and demystifying a daunting subject to help readers better understand life with Parkinson’s disease.
The Hard Parts: A Memoir of Courage and Triumph
By Oksana Masters. 2023
Oksana Masters, the United States&’ most decorated winter Paralympic or Olympic athlete, tells her jaw-dropping story of triumphing over extraordinary…Chernobyl disaster-caused physical challenges to create a life that, by example, challenges everyone to push through what is holding them back.Oksana Masters was born in Ukraine—in the shadow of Chernobyl—seemingly with the world against her. She was born with one kidney, a partial stomach, six toes on each foot, webbed fingers, no right bicep, and no thumbs. Her left leg was six inches shorter than her right, and she was missing both tibias. Relinquished to the orphanage system by birth parents daunted by the staggering cost of what would be their child&’s medical care, Oksana encountered numerous abuses, some horrifying. Salvation came at age seven when Gay Masters, an unmarried American professor who saw a photo of the little girl and became haunted by her eyes, waged a two-year war against stubborn adoption authorities to rescue Oksana from her circumstances. In America, Oksana endured years of operations that included a double leg amputation. Still, how could she hope to fit in when there were so many things making her different? As it turned out, she would do much more than fit in. Determined to prove herself and fueled by a drive to succeed that still smoldered from childhood, Oksana triumphed in not just one sport but four—winning against the world&’s best in elite rowing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, and road cycling competitions. Now considered one of the world&’s top athletes, she is the recipient of seventeen Paralympic medals, the most of any US athlete of the Winter Games, Paralympic or Olympic. This is Oksana&’s astonishing story of journeying through a series of dark tunnels—and how, with her mother&’s love, she finally found her way into the light. Her message to anyone who doesn&’t fit in: you can find a place where you excel—where you have worth.
My eyes have a cold nose
By Hector Chevigny. 1946
Los Angeles radio script writer recounts what he calls his "initiation into the blind world" after he lost his sight…from retinal detachment. Describes failed surgical procedures, his physical and emotional adjustment, and a return to work and society with the help of his guide dog, Wizard. 1946
Hilary: The brave world of Hilary Pole
By Dorothy Clarke Wilson. 1972
Struck with the rare nerve disease myasthenia gravis at the age of 20, British-born Hilary existed in a world of…darkness unable to breathe without a respirator or open her eyelids to see. Her spirit unbroken she eventually regained partial use of her toe permitting her to communicate by electric typewriter
By Deborah Zook. 1974
A young blind school teacher from Hazard, Kentucky shares her experiences from the time she began to lose her eyesight,…as a third grader. She reveals how she rose above her handicap to become a self-sufficient member of society
Louis Braille: windows for the blind
By J. Alvin Kugelmass. 1951
Biography of the inventor of the system of reading that opened the world of books to the blind. Though Braille's…revolutionary innovation remained unrecognized during his lifetime, it is now used in every language and in every country throughout the world. For high school and adult readers
By Joni Eareckson Tada. 1976
Victim of a diving accident that leaves her totally paralyzed from the neck down reveals her struggle to accept and…adjust through her belief in God. At twenty-six Joni has developed into a skillful artist using her mouth to guide her pen
I never walked alone
By Jessie Hickford. 1977
By Jonathan Lewis Nasaw. 1975
Under My Helmet: A Football Player’s Lifelong Battle with Bipolar Disorder
By Tony Dungy, Keith O'Neil. 2017
Ever since he was a child, Keith O’Neil wanted to play football. Born on the same day that his father,…Ed O’Neil, was cut from the New England Patriots, football was all Keith could think about . . .aside from his anxiety. Offered a scholarship to Northern Arizona University, O’Neil jumped at the chance to prove himself. Though it wasn’t a Division I-A school, he brought his all and was a natural on the field, achieving first-team All-Big Sky choice as a junior and senior, as well as earning All-American honors. Going undrafted, luck came from the Dallas Cowboys, who offered O’Neil an invite to rookie mini-camp. But while trying to learn the playbook, his anxiety and insomnia returned. Even so, he made the team as an undrafted free agent. His dream had come true. While proving himself as a hard-nosed special teamer, sleepless nights, constant anxiety, and suicidal thoughts clouded his mind. O’Neil considered stepping away from the game multiple times, even speaking to his coach, Bill Parcells. Parcells gave him the wisdom that ?Everyone has a demon in their head, and we have to beat that demon. Beat the demon!” After being released from the Cowboys, O’Neil spent time with the Colts and Giants, but still could not escape his inner demons. He asked for help but never received the attention he needed. In fact, for suicidal thoughts was given a CD to help him relax?Enya. It finally became too much for him to handle, and the final decision was made to walk away from the game. It wasn’t until sometime later that was finally diagnosed: Bipolar I disorder. Finally, everything made sense.Under My Helmet is the personal story of a man working every day to prove his worth while struggling with a debilitating?and undiagnosed?mental illness. O’Neil’s voice is honest and open as he shares his battles and the steps he’s taken to overcome adversity.
Our Better Angels: Stories of Disability in Life, Science, and Literature
By J David Smith. 2016
Do children and adults with disabilities enrich our lives? Far more than most people imagine.Our Better Angels is a testament…to the value of individuals with disabilities and the value that society could derive from being more welcoming to and inclusive of them. The reward is the powerful humanizing influence that they can have on others-even some of the most hardened people among us.Colorful, real-life examples illustrate how a disability can be a valuable human attribute, a powerful source of compassion from which everyone can benefit.What are the challenges that face us as we strive for a more inclusive society? What are the values that should guide us in our efforts? Smith approaches these questions by examining his own experience and other unique perspectives: Meet the children and adults with disabilities who have touched his own life Consider what science-and pseudoscience-has said about disability View disability through the lens of history and literatureThe result is a compelling case for understanding and celebrating human diversity. Smith asks us to summon the "better angels" of our character and affirm our commitment to a society based on equality and democracy.
A step further
By Joni Eareckson Tada, Steve Estes. 1978
The crooked shall be made straight
By Rosalie Griesse. 1979
Autobiography of a minister's wife recounts her thirty-three year ordeal with scoliosis. Despite six spinal fusion operations, months of hospital…confinement in casts, and years in braces, Griesse's courageous endurance serves as an example to others coping with pain
Reversals: a personal account of victory over dyslexia
By Eileen B Simpson. 1979
A practicing psychotherapist offers an account of life as a victim of dyslexia. She describes the ruses she resorted to…as a child in school trying to pretend to read, and the frustrated behavior of her teachers, who accused her of indolence and stupidity
By Bernard Ruffin. 1976
White coat, white cane
By David Hartman. 1978
I Live a Life Like Yours: A Memoir
By Jan Grue. 2018
* A New York Times Editors' Choice * Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Books of 2021 *I am not talking about…surviving. I am not talking about becoming human, but about how I came to realize that I had always already been human. I am writing about all that I wanted to have, and how I got it. I am writing about what it cost, and how I was able to afford it. Jan Grue was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at the age of three. Shifting between specific periods of his life—his youth with his parents and sister in Norway; his years of study in Berkeley, St. Petersburg, and Amsterdam; and his current life as a professor, husband, and father—he intersperses these histories with elegant, astonishingly wise reflections on the world, social structures, disability, loss, relationships, and the body: in short, on what it means to be human. Along the way, Grue moves effortlessly between his own story and those of others, incorporating reflections on philosophy, film, art, and the work of writers from Joan Didion to Michael Foucault. He revives the cold, clinical language of his childhood, drawing from a stack of medical records that first forced the boy who thought of himself as “just Jan” to perceive that his body, and therefore his self, was defined by its defects.I Live a Life Like Yours is a love story. It is rich with loss, sorrow, and joy, and with the details of one life: a girlfriend pushing Grue through the airport and forgetting him next to the baggage claim; schoolmates forming a chain behind his wheelchair on the ice one winter day; his parents writing desperate letters in search of proper treatment for their son; his own young son climbing into his lap as he sits in his wheelchair, only to leap down and run away too quickly to catch. It is a story about accepting one’s own body and limitations, and learning to love life as it is while remaining open to hope and discovery.
With love from Karen
By Marie Killilea. 1964
The author recalls the spirit and determination of her daughter--born with cerebral palsy--who triumphs over numerous medical and spiritual trials…during adolescence. Against the odds Karen learns to swim, type, dress, and operate her wheelchair. Essential to her victory are the family's firm faith, courage, discipline, and love. 1963