me, traditional chinese calligraphy art isolated on white background.

Really (Really!) Like Me

One of the beautiful things about social media is having access to the talent and insight of people on the spectrum who share their experience and perspective. Gretchen Leary is a published author and poet whose work we love! We are  excited to interview her about her upcoming children’s book and hear more about how important it is to her to provide mentorship not only to kids but to parents too:

1) You’ve recently written a book called “Really, Really Like Me”. Can you describe what the book is about and why you wrote it?

The book is about children and challenges they face. The word autism is not actually mentioned. Each page prompts the reader to respond in a special way. It somewhat difficult to explain without seeing the book itself as each character shows their challenges and their coping skills in very different ways.

It is my hope that every reader, whether they are on the autism spectrum or not, will be able to respond in a positive way to the characters. In doing so, I hope it will make an impact on them to appreciate that although we are all different- those differences are what make us special.

The book talks about why being different is a good and important thing. I thought it was my chance to make a difference which is my biggest life goal.

2) Why was it important to you to write a children’s book?

When I first tried to write my third book, I tried to write about my experiences, I realized that the generation that my words would make the biggest impact would be children. They truly are our next leaders.

3) We built SquagTM so that kids would have a starting point for their own self-advocacy and be able to connect to their interests and own ideas about themselves. What was that starting point for you when you were a kid?

Unfortunately, I had little sense of self -advocacy as a child but I made a point to try to stand up for other children. I had very little self-confidence and I want to be a part of changing that for our future generation.

4) Please describe how social media has allowed to talent to flourish.

Social media has had a tremendous influence on my writing skills. Knowing people are even willing to “listen” to what I have to say has really encouraged me to step outside the box a little. It has helped me open up and share what is really on my mind.

Gretchen Leary is a published author residing in the Boston area. Gretchen has Aspergers and her biggest dream in life is to be an advocate for acceptance for the Autism community. Through her writing she is determined to give those who are not on the Spectrum a glimpse into her world that breaks stereotypes. But most importantly she is committed to helping those who are on the Spectrum realize they are not alone.