- Look Into My Eyes (autobiography)
- Asperger’s Syndrome: Tips & Strategies
- An Autistic Perspective: Death, Dying & Loss
Look Into My Eyes is an absorbing and fascinating autobiography that offers rare insight into the workings of the autistic mind. Using illuminating anecdotes that are both inspirational and informative Dan takes the reader on a chronological journey of discovery from early signs he was autistic as a baby and toddler through to what it was like to be an autistic teen and adult and his impact on his parents, family and others around him, finally ending with a chapter by his wife about life being married to an autistic individual.
Through brutal, and at times, shocking, honesty Dan exposes a deeper explanation of autistic behaviours that can at times appear mystifying or extreme and what can be done to help the autistic person cope with challenges they face while nurturing their strengths. He shares the mental processes he goes through to handle social and new situations, the difficulty he has handling sudden change, and the obsession he has to learn how to fit in and understand others.
Dan shares his thoughts and experiences across a wide range of topics including; his love of nature and being underwater, social interactions, quest for knowledge, panic, anxiety and depression, discrimination, role-models, challenges and strengths of being autistic, employment, and school.
Look Into My Eyes has been described by readers as:
“Inspirational and informative”
“Brutally honest… shocking… I think everyone should read it”
“This is a fascinating book…A rare gift for anyone interested in the subject”
“Wonderful insight…like viewing the world through his (Dan’s) eyes…allowed me to not only identify my own challenges with AS but also my son’s way in the world”
“I could not put it down…I kept thinking ‘this is like…reading about our life’…I would highly recommend reading it”
“The raw detail of daily life for Dan Jones with Asperger’s is detailed so finely that it takes you into Dan’s world and into his head. It opens up the world of everyone with Asperger’s and will hopefully prove a turning point for those either struggling with the condition themselves or parents and friends of ‘Aspies’.”
“This is a book of great positives”
“Deep and insightful”
“A must read for all and a definite for anyone wanting an understanding of autistic spectrum conditions and those seeking tips and guidance into how to support family or friends who display the traits of autistic spectrum conditions.”
“A fascinating view of life as a toddler, troubled teen and awkward adult living with Aspergers”
As well as being autistic Dan Jones has also spent much of his working career supporting autistic individuals, their families, friends, teachers, employers, and other involved professionals. Throughout the book Dan shares his professional knowledge around what can be done to help the autistic individual from seeking diagnosis through to social skills and handling situations, as well as his personal experiences.
This book combines Dan Jones own experiences as an autistic individual with his professional training and experience coming from the idea that the one similarity all humans share is that we are all different and that we all have many skills and strengths that can be facilitated and nurtured and that autistic people are also just different rather than disordered.
All the tips and strategies start from an autistic perspective rather than from a professionals perspective. The reason for this is there is a lot of advice out there which can disempower autistic individuals and work against how their mind works, causing more harm than good, it is important that the autistic individuals are at the heart of any tips and suggestions, not an afterthought, and that it isn’t about trying to fix or cure autistic people, but to help them thrive and meet their full potential.
Throughout Dan shares his personal experiences so that the reader can understand the autistic perspective on these ideas. Everything in this book has been successfully used by Dan and people he has worked with to help himself and other autistic individuals of all ages.
Areas covered include:
Tips and strategies for parents including:
- Reflective parenting
- Relaxation skills
- How to help autistic children calm down and relax
- How to teach autistic children social skills
- Routines and consistency
- Setting boundaries and consequences
- Being accepting of the autistic child for who and how they are and what they do and supporting them where needed, like developing and nurturing skills and healthy coping mechanisms
- The importance of a safe space
- Encouraging and focusing on strengths
- Helping autistic children get their needs met
- Addressing issues around hair, food and clothing
- Collaborative communication
- Supporting bullied children
- Seeking autism diagnosis
Tips and strategies for teachers including:
- Being attentive and responsive the the autistic individual
- What teachers should know about structure and clarity
- Clear explanations and clarifications
- Creating a learning-conducive environment
- Issues around time
- Supporting autistic individuals with navigating school
- Supporting students interactions with others
- Discipline and an autistic perspective of fairness and honesty
Tips and strategies for autistic individuals including:
- Learning social communication skills
- How having at least one friend can be helpful
- Finding ways to have your own space
- Understanding others don’t think and feel the same way
- Tackling bullying and discrimination
- Asking for help and keeping people informed
- Dating and relationship skills
- Seeking autism diagnosis as an adult
- Tips for managing restaurants and shopping
- Interview skills
- Tips for coping on public transport
Tips and strategies for friends of autistic individuals (and partners) including:
- Direct yet friendly communication
- Accepting of the autistic individual’s differences
- Taking the lead
Tips and strategies for being an employer of autistic individuals including:
- Accepting of their differences and challenges they face
- Utilising their skills and interests
- Clear communication and expectations
- Creating an autism-friendly environment
The topics of death, dying and loss have interested me since I was a young child. From early on in my life I noticed that people seemed to be uncomfortable talking about these subjects. People would tell me it was morbid, it upsets them, they didn’t want to think about it, but to me it was interesting, as it is a part of life that you can’t escape. Death, dying and loss will happen to everyone.
In September 2014 my dad died, and then in August 2016, my granddad. People started asking if I was okay and telling me it must be so upsetting, and how sad they felt for me. I realised I didn’t think about death in this way. I started to process how I think about death, dying, and loss and realised it could be interesting to people to gain insight into how my mind processes these things. I’ve had people say that they wish they processed things more like how I do, so perhaps some of this will be of help to people in how they can manage death, dying and loss.
It is important to note that although I am writing about my own autistic perspective that this perspective won’t be shared by all people with autism. Everyone, autistic, and non-autistic, thinks differently. I think there are some similarities that most people with autism will recognise, but they may not share how certain traits express for me personally. Hopefully what I share here will also be of help to parents and carers of those with autism giving some insight into the mind of those with autism helping to explain behaviours they may see and some ideas about how best to approach the subjects of death, dying, and loss with those with autism.
In the chapter on loss the main focus is on relationship breakups and on transitions we face, like transitioning from one school to another, or from one job to another, or from living at home to independent living. Although death involves loss and dying involves the awareness that loss will be inevitable, I have tried to keep these areas within their own chapter. In the chapter about dying and death I share about my experiences of people dying and the positive and negative aspects of my way of being in relation to those who are dying, and on death I share about my experiences of death, and how I respond to the death of loved ones.
My hope is that by going into detail in an honest and frank way this will help to give insight into the autistic mind, and how my mind processes these areas of life. Throughout the chapters I will share some tips and ideas that parents, carers, partners or friends can do to help the autistic individual, and to understand them and interact with them in a way that respects their model of the world and way of managing things, even if that is almost an alien way to a neuro-typical individual.
Then in the conclusion chapter I round up the topics of loss, dying and death, and break down the triad of impairments which are the three areas autistic traits fall into for diagnosis, and go through some areas of these which are common among many with autism sharing what you can do to help the person with autism manage loss, dying and death, and I share some of the additional needs they may have and how these can impact on their handling of loss, dying and death.