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J.R. Reed has been a freelance writer for 20 years on topics ranging from business to food and beverage, travel, and pieces on celebrities. He covered NASCAR’s West Coast Swing for five seasons and the Anaheim Ducks for twelve. Late in 2017 he decided to focus solely on autism, from high school and college ages through adults.
I picked this group because, as a proud adult on the spectrum, I feel like we’re very often overlooked when it comes to autism in general and I wanted to represent.”
J.R. was diagnosed with Asperger’s at 46. It took that long because, back then, Asperger’s wasn’t on people’s radar or being talked about in schools. That’s why on his blog, Not Weird Just Autistic, he talks about growing up, “Off the Spectrum.” He tried to learn how to fit in and his experiences have given him a unique perspective.
“I understand certain neurotypical traits that a lot of my fellow autistics don’t pick up on. I still have lots of things that confuse me, but I have unlocked some of their secrets.”
Tell us about your book, An Asperger’s Guide to Dating Neurotypicals.
An Asperger’s Guide to Dating Neurotypicals is a simple, easy to read book that’s only 56 pages. I’m an advocate not an M.D. I believe in simplifying things. The book is largely about the need for enhanced communication in an Asperger/neurotypical relationship. The basic principles I discuss are communication, honesty, respect, understanding and sharing. It’s aimed at people on both sides of the spectrum and is for high school and up.
What inspired you to write it?
My love life has been less than stellar and as one on the spectrum, I analyze and overanalyze things. Whenever a relationship ends, no matter who ends it, I tend to get tunnel vision and try to figure it out on a sociological level.
I want to know why things happen and why people do what they do. That’s why 26 weeks out of the year I sit on m couch watching “Survivor” and say to my autism service dog, Tye, “Why would he think telling her he had an idol was a good thing? There is no scenario where he comes out good.” (And I know because my brain already ran the calculations. Tye just stares at me with a look of confusion as I gesture towards the TV.
Back to the question, the bottom line is that these past relationships brought me to where I am today and I’ve learned a lot about what’s necessary for a healthy relationship between a high functioning autistic and one who is off the spectrum. I wanted to break it down into a simple easy to read format and get it out there to save as many people from bad experiences as I can.
I don’t want anyone to get hurt the way I did over the years.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
I think the ideal demographic for me is any autistic of dating or marriage age, not in a relationship or wanting to see their relationship improve.
As far as those off the spectrum, anyone considering getting into a relationship with someone on the spectrum or is in a relationship with an autistic person or suspect may be.
At only 56 pages, I see the book being read by each person and then the couple sitting down for a discussion to lay the groundwork for their personal relationship.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading the book?
That good relationships are possible and that if someone is in a bad relationship, they can recognize it and have the strength to end it.
I also want readers to leave with the thought that this was one of the finest pieces of literature they’ve ever read and that they better go back to wherever they bought it from and leave a positive review!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your book?
The book isn’t bigger because it doesn’t need to be. None of these principles are rocket science, but they’re time tested and they work.
An Asperger’s Guide to Dating Neurotypicals is my first book and I self-published. I’m currently working on three other books, much longer than the previous, that I’m trying to traditional publish, They are—Autism Isn’t Contagious, Not Weird Just Autistic and Asperger’s Is My Superpower.
Do you have a proud moment you’d like to share?
The first week the book was out, it hit as high as #23 on Amazon’s Hot New Dating Releases. For a book about autism and dating to go that high was a very proud moment!
If our readers leave with only one message after reading this interview, what would you like it to be?
That great relationships are possible between those on and off the spectrum. Accept neurodiversity and neurodivergence—all brains are not the same. Let’s get away from the mold that it’s US vs. THEM. It should just be, WE.
Take it one relationship at a time.
Discover more about J.R. Reed:
- J.R. Reed Author Website
- Not Weird Just Autistic Blog
- Buy Asperger’s Guide to Dating Neurotypicals on Amazon
- @jrreedauthor on Twitter and Instagram
- J.R. Reed Facebook Page
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