Autism Interview #151: Matt Dunford on Comics, Literacy, and Autism

Matt Dunford started his love of comics before he could even read and has attended every San Diego Comic-Con since 1994. This inspired him to pursue a career in comics, leading him to be an editor at Semantink Publishing, Senior Editor of Keyleaf Comics, and the President of Little Fish Comic Book Studio. In 2017, he was unanimously elected as Chairman of San Diego Comic Fest and continues to spearhead the convention. He has taken up an active role in the community with a focus on WWII history, serving as the PR & Marketing Director for the video game publisher Crytivo, and as a member of the Non-Profit organization, Creators Assemble! Matt’s passion for the comic book medium is only surpassed by his enthusiasm for sharing it with everyone. This week Matt shared how his love of comics helped him understand the world and make friends and how he now works with individuals on the spectrum who might also benefit from this medium.

Autism Interview #149: James Shirley on the Intersection of Disability and Religion

James Shirley is a truck driver, ordained minister, and vlogger from Pennsylvania with an M.A. in Theology. He identifies as INFJ and is passionate about disability advocacy and is actively involved in many disability and human rights organizations, corresponds with elected officials to improve public policy, and is working on a film about disability experience. This week James shared this experience with the intersection of disability and religion and how he’s managed life throughout multiple abuses.

Autism Interview #147: Bernard Grant on Writing and Autism Acceptance

Bernard Grant’s writing has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, New Delta Review, The South Carolina Review, Third Coast, and Craft, among other online and print publications. Bernard serves as an Associate Fiction Editor of Tahoma Literary Review and holds an MFA from The Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University where they were awarded the Carol Houck Smith Graduate Scholarship. They have also received scholarships to The Anderson Center, Sundress Academy for the Arts, and Fishtrap: Writing and the West, as well as fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Jack Straw Cultural Center, Mineral School, and The University of Cincinnati, where they are a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing, and are at work on a novel-in-stories that focuses on a mixed-raced family and features autistic characters. Bernard is also working on essays on autism and American racism, which they plan to collect and title Unmasking. This week Bernard discussed his life as an Autistic author and ways society can work towards autism acceptance.

Autism Interview #146: Dr. Mordehai Benhamou on Self Acceptance

Dr. Mordehai Benhamou is an author, lecturer, professional guitarist, and Algerian Jew from Israel. His recently published Autism, Falafel, and Rock and Roll: A journey to an atypical world is a scientific memoir that explores his journey of self acceptance. He grew up in Paris and had a tumultuous journey of self-discovery that left him homeless before eventually accepting his diagnosis and moving to Israel to lecture about his life. This week he shared some of his journey and the inspiration for his new book.

Autism Interview #145: Rosie Weldon on Autism Advocacy and Inclusion

Rosie Weldon is an Autistic accountant living and working in the North West of England. She is also a prolific author and has her own blog about everyday Autistic life, including things like Autistic behaviors, mental health, advice for parenting Autistic children, and lots more. This week she shared her path to a diagnosis and the ways she advocates for inclusion and autism acceptance.

Autism Interview Part 2: Lucas Ksenhuk on Bullying and Telling His Story

“I believe Autistic people should be valued more than we are and to be taken seriously as experts on autism.” -Lucas Ksenhuk

Lucas Ksenhuk is an 18-year-old Autistic artist from Brazil. Lucas believes his art can help people and sees it as a way to transform his own life and that of others, bringing independence and recognition to the spectrum. In the feature interview last week, Lucas discussed his life experience being autistic and how he became a recognized visual artist.

Below is a transcript of a recent follow-up Zoom call I had with Lucas Ksenhuk and his mother Tatiana Ksenhuk. Also in attendance were Nereide Santa Rosa, author and owner of Underline Publishing (who published Lucas’ new book A Real Story Created with Colorful Lines), and Isabel Flores who translated between English and Portugese for the call. The transcript has been edited for clarity and approved by all parties.

In our meeting, Lucas and his mother discussed the creation of his new book and shared some specific experiences he had with bullying in school. Lucas hopes that the sharing of his experiences might be instructive to others on the spectrum and their families.

Autism Interview #144 Part 1: Lucas Ksenhuk on Art and Autism Acceptance

Lucas Ksenhuk is an 18-year-old Autistic artist from Brazil. He has an unmistakable style that has been the talk of many street art exhibitions in São Paulo, such as Egg Parade, Cow Parade, and Elephant Parade, Football Parade, Ear Parade, and Vitruvian Parade. Lucas believes his art can help people and sees it as a way to transform his own life and that of others, bringing independence and recognition to the spectrum. Lucas’ recently released book with Underline Publishing, A Real Story Created With Colorful Lines, tells his story of a young autistic man who overcame his difficulties through art and is illustrated with images of his work. He discusses his life experience being autistic and how he became a recognized visual artist.

Autism Interview #143: Tracey Cohen on Her ‘Up Close and Personal’ New Book

Photo credit: Martin Wooledge Photography

Tracey Cohen is an experienced ultrarunner, author, and speaker, and has competed in thousands of races around the world. She was featured on this blog last year discussing some of her experiences growing up undiagnosed, her current advocacy work, and her love of running. Tracey was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 39 and speaks regularly about autism to school groups and at conferences. She is the author of several books, including Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome, Six-Word Lessons on the Sport of Running, and the recently-released My Life on the Autism Spectrum: Misunderstandings, Insight & Growth. This week she shared how she’s been surviving the pandemic and the unique, personal nature of her new book.