Joanna Keating-Velasco

Joanna Keating-Velasco lives in Placentia in Orange County, California. She is married and has one daughter. Joanna has a degree in business administration from California State University, Fullerton where she graduated as a President's Scholar. She enjoys trying to understand the unique qualities of children with autism and has worked for the Placentia Yorba Linda School District since 2000 as an independence facilitator for individuals on the autism spectrum.

A Message From The Author

Dear Readers,

During my third year as an Instructional Aide, I was transferred into a class that focused Handsprimarily on autism. Lacking experience with autism, I immediately set upon a quest to immerse myself in as much information and training as possible. After several years of research and working directly with these amazing students, I wanted to share this knowledge with everyone.

Having a child in elementary school, I felt called to present this information to kids. My book became the perfect tool. Through education, we enable children to be more understanding and informed. My dream is that this book will create a more welcoming community for all kids through a fun, discussion-oriented format suitable for all ages.

Our character, Chelsea, will bring a cheerful voice to the challenges and qualities of a child with severe autism. Her upbeat and inquisitive attitude will educate and captivate children. She will provide a rare glimpse at life with autism. What a wonderful springboard she will provide for discussions about autism awareness.

A is for Autism, F is for Friend offers lessons in understanding, acceptance and friendship. It demonstrates that we are all completely unique individuals and that if we look closely enough at people, the similarities may outweigh the differences. By providing answers for kids instead of avoiding discussions, we enable children to understand and appreciate each person as an individual.


Joanna L. Keating-Velasco

Qualifications for Writing A Is for Autism...

In just a few years, I feel as though I’ve gone from “infancy to adolescence” (with so much more still yet to learn) in my knowledge on the subject of autism. In 2002, lacking any relevant experience, I walked into a classroom designed for kids with autism. This initial day launched me on the pursuit of absorbing as much information as possible on the subject.

In addition, while working as an instructional aide since 2000, I have learned so much more from the students with autism than I could have imagined. Combining that with my research through books, training, DVDs, magazines, internet as well as insight from parents and special education educators, I felt like a sponge ready to burst with this information. I couldn’t help but look for opportunities to share what I had gathered to help people better appreciate and understand those individuals with autism.

Update From Joanna

Joanna Shoes

Hello from sunny Southern California!

Since 2000 I have had the privilege of working with students with autism has opened my heart to their unique qualities. As an instructional aide, I am fortunate to spend valuable one-one-one time with students and learn their individual challenges, talents and personalities. I feel that it is my responsibility and honor to share the lessons these students have taught me.

Individuals with autism have so much to teach our young teen audience, however, many are nonverbal and have yet to find their voice. My book is an attempt to help connect the readers to these individuals by providing a new perspective on how an individual with autism might experience his first year transitioning from elementary to middle school.

Imagine spending a year in middle school without being able to talk with friends or even understanding the concept of “hanging out.” This book offers a rare glimpse at life with autism while also opening up opportunities for group discussion. We observe how those who get to know our main character, Nick, learn valuable lessons in acceptance and understanding.

In His Shoes provides a springboard for classrooms, community groups and families to promote discussions about autism and how each of us can support and encourage these individuals. By putting ourselves “in Nick’s shoes,” we will have a fresh perspective on autism which in turn will open doors in our communities for our peers on the autism spectrum.Nick

I hope you will join me on this brief journey with Nicholas.



Joanna L. Keating-Velasco

Buy from AAPC Publishing

A Is for Autism, F Is for Friend