A Is for Autism, F Is for Friend

Chelsea, an eleven year old girl, who just happens to have severe autism, welcomes us into her life. TitleSeeing kids on the playground and at the park playing games, she expresses her desire to get to know some of them. However, she explains that social interaction can be tricky for her. She clarifies some of the behaviors and challenges that she faces while comparing them with issues all kids face.

A Is for Autism Title

While discussing sensory issues, she uses examples that are kid-friendly and might make a typical child think, “Hey, I experience that too!” She reveals the life of a visual thinker and discusses visual reminders that we all use. She explains that idioms are very confusing to people who think in pictures. In addition, Chelsea discusses issues of eye contact and explains echolalia. She helps readers see that she’s not so different after all and creates opportunities for other kids with autism.

Chelsea brings a fun and clear voice for those children who cannot articulate the challenges that autism presents. A is for Autism, F is for Friend provides an enjoyable discussion-oriented format for teaching our youth about autism. ISBN 978-1-931282-43-7

Behind the Book

After many years of research and working with autism, I sat down to outline my knowledge in order to create presentations for elementary school children as a means to increase autism awareness. I wanted to create a discussion-oriented forum to introduce autism to typical children and explain some of the behaviors and challenges kids with autism face daily. In sitting down to create this outline, I found my fingers typing away and when I was finished, I sat back and thought, “This isn’t just a presentation, this is a children’s book.” My character, Chelsea, immediately came to life and wouldn’t be limited to simply being part of a lecture. Within weeks she “led” me to AAPC which became the perfect catalyst to present her life to young people all over the world. I hope that I can properly represent this fictional character created from a rainbow of students with whom I have worked…who just so happen to have severe autism.

Cat and Rat

 Rat and Cat

 When we look at life from a different angle, we can learn a lot.


Blue flowers

Juxtaposing the words “Autism” and “Friend” imparts an intriguing thought inasmuch as it has often been believed that those two don’t often attract each other in an autistic person’s world. Chelsea teaches us that through sensitivity and a desire to learn we can create a path toward building a friendship with any child or adult with special needs. Joanna Keating-Velasco has written a praiseworthy primer on how to begin to understand the autistic child. It should be required reading in all schools -- elementary, middle and high school.

Betty Escobosa,
Trustee, Placentia Library District
Grandmother of Ryan, an autistic 8yr. old boy

Joanna has provided a voice for those who are unable to share their world with us with the spoken word. Her insight and creativity will provide young and old alike with the understanding and tools to appreciate those around us with Autism. She has helped us to see the person first rather than the label. Congratulations on a job well done!

Kathy Miguel
Special Education Principal

The first thought that came to me as I read A Is for Autism, F Is for Friend was how positively autism is presented. Joanna explains autism with insight and care. Having questions at the end of each chapter for further thought and discussion is a great tool for any age!

Kathy Carter
Special Day Class Teacher (Adult Transition)

Buy from AAPC Publishing

A Is for Autism, F Is for Friend