Heart of Autism: Giving Back Through Storytelling
This Heart of Autism post is written by Robin Borakove, an entertainer, children's book author and storyteller with Asperger's Syndrome. She tells inspiring and motivational stories to children dressed in character, and donates the proceeds from her children's book sales to families of individuals with autism.
My name is Robin Borakove, and at 41 years of age, I was told I had a form of autism. It is called Asperger's Syndrome. From the time I could talk, I showed signs that my brain did not work the way others around me did. I was always getting into trouble, with my mouth. I had the most difficulty keeping my mouth shut. I could hardly stand still either. I was always talking, or moving. But the upside to my condition is that I have no fear of performing! I have been writing and telling stories since I was 7 years old. I have been a professional storyteller for the past five years. I can walk onto a stage and entertain children easily. I am really good at it. All the years of being the drama queen in my family paid off!
Once I began my new life after my diagnosis, it was with the help of my husband and sons that I decided to create my charity. With my sons as an inspiration, I embarked on a journey to become a children's author and founded a charity to distribute the earnings of my books to various causes. I chose to donate the proceeds of my first book to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation because of a profound experience I had working with a child who had Type 1. My husband and therapist then suggested I write a second book, and donate the proceeds to families of people with autism, so I could support people who are like me! This meant coming out about my diagnosis. It was risky, but I know now that I needed to take that risk.
I like to tell stories to children dressed as a character from my books "Fairy Queen Flutterby." I have found that dressing in costume gives me the courage to come out and say, "I am Autistic and proud!" As Fairy Queen Flutterby, I receive the children's full attention by entertaining them. Once I have that attention, I can begin to teach meaningful lessons such as the importance of a healthy lifestyle and literacy.
My first book, Little Edwin's Triumph, is a charming story told in rhyme, teaching children that just because they are small, it does not mean they cannot be a hero. The message of my second book, Fairy Fizzle's Plight, is this: “Sometimes it takes more than strength and might, you'll always need your brains to get things absolutely right!" It teaches children that even though you may not physically be capable of doing certain things, if you use your brains, you will find a solution! I read this book whenever I get the opportunity to do my show for special needs children to let them know that despite their differences, they can be just as successful as anyone else!
I have been on a nationwide book tour and met thousands of children who have sent me fan letters and drawings of me as Fairy Queen Flutterby. More importantly, they thank me for teaching them important life lessons - proving that they are learning the messages in my books and so much more. I have performed my storytelling shows in libraries, schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, in Rhode Island, Indiana, Colorado, Nevada, and I now have orders for shows in 27 other states and 5 countries.
My goal is to raise awareness that Asperger's Syndrome is real and to use my storytelling to teach children important lessons and to make them feel happy and confident. My dream is to produce enough products (novels, DVD series, comic books, movies, interaction and educational video games, dolls, etc.) so that I can make enough funds to open a research and treatment center for people with autism of all ages. Stay tuned!
A valuable lesson I've learned is now my quote. "Shine brightly and others will have a lighted path!" :)
The Heart of Autism blog series tells the stories of individuals on the autism spectrum giving back to their community. Click here to read some previous entries!
We would love to hear from you! If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!