by Beth Cain
Shangri-La Specialized Services Coordinator
Jason, 28, gets housing support from Shangri-La and lives in his own apartment. I have known Jason since he started services here. I asked him to tell me about the barriers/difficulties he experiences due to living with autism. He told me that he has “extreme anxiety” around social interactions and struggles to make sense of what others are saying or feeling when he is in a group setting. Jason also describes the barrier of having obsessive interests that also cause anxiety from the need to have everything be “prefect.”
In grade school Jason struggled to “fit in” with other kids. He said that he “so badly” wanted to blend in and have friends. It took him several years to understand that he did not want to change who he was because he was “different” than others.
Jason started reading fan fiction stories online, which he found very interesting. Jason writes under the screen name “Azu” and has over 200 online followers. Stories on this website are based on the “My Little Pony” series. He said the stories he read were exciting and he would look forward to reading more and more about the characters.
Although he knew he had the ability to imagine stories and create characters, he was hesitant at first to write his own because he did not have the education or experience in writing novels. The need to “give back” to the fan fiction community helped motivate Jason to put aside his doubts and write his own story.
His novel is based on a female pony name Prism. “She was inspired from my life and the events I have gone through. She is a wonderful painter in the novel as I wanted to give her a positive quality despite the negative experiences in her life,” explained Jason. “She lives with autism, as she has an obsessive interest with painting and needing to be prefect as her mother was a famous painter. She has a fear of people in general and struggles to make friends. I still struggle with this in my own life and it was great to write about Prism’s growth in my novel as to how she is able to cope and overcome these barriers in her life.”
Jason states that his novel will be a 3 part series. “Over the course of the stories her experiences change her from beginning to end, in a positive way. She learns how to cope with the social anxiety and accept her differences.”
Jason’s goal for writing the stories was to give people the same joy that he experienced when reading their stories. He hopes others will be inspired to not let opinions of others affect them or stop them from doing what they want to do.
“I have had 3 people write to me and tell me that I was able to capture their life experiences and be spot on. Also, how I have helped them cope with negative experiences in their lives,” said Jason.
He went on to say, “Being able to find a safe environment online has helped me express my passion for writing. It is nice to be able to express myself without having face to face contact with others, as I struggle to interact with people in public settings. Writing has become my creative outlet. I feel that I am really good at it.”
To read Jason’s story, click here: Colors of the Heart