I HAVE BEEN BURIED UNDER YEARS OF DUST: A Memoir of Autism and Hope (William Morrow; On-Sale Date: April 6, 2021; $25.99) by Valerie Gilpeer and Emily Grodin is about Emily's transformation from a non-verbal autistic woman to an amazing writer, straight A student and passionate advocate for the voiceless.
Born with non-verbal autism, Emily’s only means of communicating were limited to one-word answers and physical gestures which often left her frustrated, angry and misunderstood. For years her parents Valerie and Tom sought the best doctors and treatment options in an effort to get Emily to communicate but nothing seemed to work. It wasn’t until a disastrous intercontinental flight from Ireland to Los Angeles, when Emily was twenty-five, triggered a miraculous communication breakthrough the following day. With the help of a trained specialist and a technique called Facilitated Communication Emily typed out the following phrase on an Ipad: “I have been buried under years of dust and now I have so much to say.”
That sentence opened up the floodgates of communication, and while Emily is still non-verbal, she hasn’t stopped “talking.” Now, at age 29, Emily is an avid writer of amazing poetry, maintains a 4.0 in all of her college courses and hopes to become an advocate for the countless other people like her who can’t communicate in the traditional sense but have so much to offer.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Emily Grodin is a poet. Valerie Gilpeer is a former attorney in Los Angeles who has been practicing law for forty years. Based on her own struggles navigating the school systems for Emily, she shifted her civil law practice twenty years ago in favor of representing families of disabled children trying to obtain educational services from local school districts. She has continued to focus on disability rights law through her volunteer work with several nonprofit organizations in the Los Angeles area all the while advocating for new treatments and therapies for her daughter. Valerie, her husband Tom, and daughter Emily live in Encino, California.
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