Autism and the World According to Matt
by Liz Becker
Mother’s Best-Selling Memoir Chronicles Autistic Son’s Remarkable Journey from Diagnosis to Independent Living
Liz Becker’s inspiring new book uses a collection of uplifting short stories to depict Matt’s gifted first 25 years of life that beat all odds. As one of the few grassroots books written about a child with severe and mostly non-verbal Autism, ‘Autism and the World According to Matt’ is making compelling reading for any parent, educator or medical professional.
For Immediate Release
Wytheville, Virginia – When Matt was diagnosed with severe Autism in the 1980s, the future was laid out in front of him and mother Liz Becker – a life requiring full-time help that would lead to eventual institutionalization. However, following twenty-five testing yet hugely-fulfilling years, Matt has joined most other men his age by enjoying the joys and freedom of independent living – a feat that is almost non-existent among those living with the severe condition.
Having learned from Matt as much as he learned from her, Liz Becker has compiled their touching and uplifting journey into a heartfelt new book of short stories, titled ‘Autism and the World According to Matt’.
Autism and the World According to Matt is a collection of inspirational short stories about a moderate to severe and mostly non-verbal autistic child and his journey from diagnosis to living independently. The collection covers 25 years of milestones and insights into the difficulties in communication, socialization, and understanding. It offers insights into how to teach and learn from such a unique individual. The milestones are many, as Matt was diagnosed in the 1980s, when autism was a rare disorder with very little information on how it affects behavior and cognition. Specialists recommended institutionalization….but that wasn’t what his mother saw in his future. She saw hope, and talent and an ability to learn.
As a scientist, Matt’s mom was naturally curious about his behaviors and sought the meaning behind everything from the appearance of “a world of his own” to sensory overload and meltdowns. She wanted to see what her son saw, feel what he felt and as she looked deeper she gained understanding and insight into her son.
Matt became the first autistic child to enter the area school system in a regular classroom, and teachers were skeptical of the very idea. To everyone’s amazement, Matt graduated near the top of his class – no one could predict what he could achieve after high school. Although his severity prevents him from having a job he still amazes family, friends, and professionals as he transitions to his “ultimate goal” – a home of his very own – something rare among autistic individuals on the severe end of the spectrum.
Liz Becker hopes that her own story will provide vital hope to other parents fighting the daily battle and perceived constraints of autism.
“Matt achieved everything that doctors, care staff and society-at-large said was impossible. I want other parents to understand there is hope for their own child to do the same. Each story in this book is accompanied by an inspirational message of interacting, learning and ultimately – understanding,” says Becker, who frequently speaks to parental support groups.
Reviews for the book have been extremely positive. For example, reader Bryan comments, “A must read for teachers, parents, siblings or anyone who is interested in autism. Becker balances the insight and curiosity of a scientist with the love and compassion that only a mother knows.”
S. Keller was equally as impressed, adding, “Autism can be like a country without a map. Liz Becker has trekked through the world of autism with Matt. Her collection of essays is enlightening and encouraging.”
About the Author:
Liz Becker has been promoting autism awareness for 25 years, and her website, “World According to Matt” (http:// worldaccordingtomatt.com) won Top 30 Autism Blogs for Parents in 2012 award from Babble, and currently reaches 84 countries around the world with nearly 4 million “Facebook Likes”.
She is an Associate Instructor for Wytheville Community College, and adjunct Instructor for Radford University where she teaches Anatomy and Physiology, Biology and Microbiology.