Autimism: One Mom’s Mission. By Jodi Murphy, Geek Club Books

This guest post originally appeared on my Facebook Page – Cat on a Trampoline – on 4th March 2014. It was written by the inspirational Jodi Murphy, of Geek Club Books. I have the pleasure of working with Jodi in the Mighty League Moms creation hive, and was proud to be part of her Autimisms editorial campaign this April. Jodi believes in a positive view of autism. As she will explain…..

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I am a marketing specialist who started in the high tech corporate world. When my first child was born I fortunately had a very forward thinking boss at the time because back in the 80s job share, part time, and freelancing were rare. It was either return full time or nothing. She arranged for me to become a freelance contractor, so I had more flexibility with my schedule so I could be a mom. This launched the next 25+ years of my working as a freelance specialist doing branding, public relations, events, product launches and other marketing for companies and entrepreneurs while having the freedom to work it around my children’s needs. I also worked as a lifestyle journalist for magazines in the design and luxury markets. It’s been a great career and I was able to be there for my two children especially my son who has Asperger’s Syndrome.
He’s an adult now and about 3 years ago, I could see that he was struggling and having difficulties juggling life, and managing his career. He is a voice actor http://www.jonincharacter.com/ and it’s difficult for any creative artist to handle but even more amplified when you have sensory issues and challenges with networking, schmoozing, self-promoting, and coordinating schedules. So I said a fond farewell to my clients and asked my son if he would be my ‘client’ so I could help him manage his voice over business. So I created his website, help him book his clients, am his sounding board when he prepares for an audition—whatever I need to do to help him do the work he is meant to do so it empowers him and helps him grow towards his goal of full independence.
Geek Club Books ( http://www.geekclubbooks.com/) was born from wanting to bring him more opportunities to share his talents and his Asperger awesomeness with the world. We’re making storybook apps that hack the autism status quo and put forth positive views of autistic individuals–to educate that our children are not pariahs or burdens on society but are capable and have the potential to be valuable contributors–but only if we change the status quo. I like to call it “autimism.”
Our first storybook app, the Mighty League http://geekclubbooks.com/the-mighty-league-vol-1/ is a charming story about my son’s real life adventures growing up with Asperger’s. We see his world from his own unique perspective and when readers dig deeper only then do they discover that he is on the autism spectrum. There are strong lessons about bullying too. My daughter wrote the story, my son does the narration and I hired a creative team of illustrators and developers to make this a delightful interactive experience!
Instead of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), I want GCB to become the PAS (Positive Autism Service) where the focus is on telling stories about what real ASD individuals CAN DO. I BELIEVE in our children and am committed to shifting the paradigm towards optimism, understanding and acceptance. And my dream is to see your children grow up to find employers who will value their talents and a world that says, “Wow! I’m so glad you’re here!”
Photographs by Soophotography.com

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