A Mother/Son Asperger Journey of Determination and Triumph
David Petrovic is much older than his 22 biological years. A person with autism and Tourette’s, he battled many social, communication, learning, and sensorimotor challenges. Supported by an ever-evolving team, Dave transformed from a struggling and insecure tween to a fulfilled and equipped young man. Once feeling like a misfit without purpose, he journeyed to a place of peace, joy, self-acceptance, and achievement. David learned to self-accommodate and self-advocate. He loves who he is, including his autism, and he’s determined to help others by sharing his life-changing realizations.
Dreams, grit, and support empowered David to graduate cum laude in Middle Childhood Education. He now aspires to teach and mentor students in the developmental stage of life that he found most daunting. Using his strengths and experiences, he strives to prevent bullying, foster an understanding and acceptance of differences, and inspire teens to maximize their potentials. Dave’s autism has become an asset to keenly perceive what’s important in life. He impacts others and demonstrates how “hardship has great purpose.” I should know: I’m the mom who journeyed with him these past two decades.
Seeking to reach a broader audience, we have taken to print and podium. We have co-authored Expect a Miracle: A Mother/Son Asperger Journey of Determination and Triumph and are avid public speakers on many platforms. Solo, Dave has gone beyond by speaking to hundreds of adolescents on important teen issues, such as the effects of bullying. He educates on autism and differences and is breaking down barriers and stereotypes. He lives his motto: “Embrace a difference…and MAKE a difference!” And he proves my motto: “Not DISability, but DIFability.”
To learn more about us and our book, visit www.aspergermiracles.com. But meanwhile, catch a preview of Expect a Miracle through the following:
Back Book Cover Synopsis
“Co-authored from the separate viewpoints of both a twenty-year-old young man with Asperger’s Syndrome and his mother, this work makes it possible to experience life from the perspective of a person with Asperger’s, thus enabling its intricate understanding. A unique case study, the book chronicles David’s life from birth until successful and fulfilled college living. It reveals every challenge confronted (including bullying), every solution employed, and practical lessons learned along the way. Inspiring hope and ideas, this book would be of interest to those with Asperger’s/Autism Spectrum Disorder, their parents and loved ones, and professionals who teach and counsel them.”
Chapter One: Why?
“We are not scientists, psychologists, or education specialists. We are simply a devoted mother/son team who embraced this “trial and error” journey years ago with a relentless determination and tenacity that has not waned. Simultaneous with the realization that David had differences and special needs, I began my search for knowledge, for resources, and mostly—for hope. I was desperate for a guaranteed pathway of intervention and the assurance that my little boy would fulfill his potential and find happiness.
There was no such recipe or absolute promise.
What we did discover along the way, however, were countless guardian angels, both lay and professional, who added their support and special gifts to the therapies, programs, and resources we utilized. This combination, along with dedication and hard work, resulted in a truly miraculous and inspirational outcome. Challenges still exist, as they do for everyone, but David has exceeded every dream I dared to dream—and continues to amaze us daily with his steadfast determination to achieve his own dreams.
The intentions and motivation for this book are numerous. First and foremost, we would like to provide the hope for others that we sought ourselves. Congruent with the claims of experts, our personal testimonials will exemplify that many skills and behaviors deficient in persons with Asperger’s Syndrome CAN be learned. We will show that self-fulfillment and happiness CAN be obtained . . .
. . . Everyone has strengths, and everyone has weaknesses. It must be remembered that even typicals** have social skills flaws—no one is perfect, and everyone has gifts to contribute to the good of all. In addition, it might not be realized that not all the characteristics of AS [Asperger’s Syndrome] are negative: there are some commendable and amazing features that are, in fact, coveted and treasured.
The previous statement provides me with the perfect segue to another purpose we have in writing this book. Different does not equal inferior. We hope to stimulate an epiphany of understanding and tolerance for those who are perhaps unknowingly prejudiced towards individuals with differences, with AS being one of them. We implore these parties to rethink their assumption of superiority and to give relationships a chance! Go beyond superficial Asperger idiosyncrasies to explore and connect with the person within—you may never experience more talent, sincerity, loyalty, or unconditional love. So much has been written about individuals with AS having problems with understanding the ways and perspectives of the mainstream. This is my attempt to address the reverse. We aim to educate and inspire the “typical” world’s understanding, appreciation, and acceptance of those with AS. . .
**Simply for ease in writing, I occasionally refer to individuals without AS as “typicals,” shortened from “neurotypical,” as frequently seen in other works. I intend no offense with this categorization and hope none is taken. . .
by Sandy Petrovic
Hello! My name is David Petrovic. Now, like my mother said, we are not any kind of Ph.D. experts, but we do have some insight based on our experiences. I am writing this book because I want it to be a beacon of hope for typicals, families, and exceptionals alike. There are three principles that I’ve learned in my life that I want to get across in this book:
1) Don’t settle for a life that people expect you to live because you have a disability. Go for the life that you “want” and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of you living that life; I didn’t.
2) I am a person with an exceptionality (key word: PERSON). People with disabilities aren’t mutants or other worldly species; we’re just what we are: people! The one rule I’ve used in my life is the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Simply, you’re nice to someone, you get it back, and vice versa. At school, the office, and social events, don’t be too quick to judge someone based on what you see on the outside. Take a chance to actually have a conversation starter. You may be surprised by what you learn.
3) Everything happens for a reason! It is my ULTIMATE belief that everything we go through in life has a certain purpose. Whether positive or negative, the experiences that life has to offer make up who we are as people.
Throughout this book, you will be getting the perspectives of both the mother and the son. My mom’s views will be in regular print and mine will follow in italics.”
(David: pp. 259-60)
“. . . Starting high school as a young, challenged freshman, I always ran out of the school like a crazy person because I was so desperate to get out of there. I had no friends, no social life, and no hope. And I always asked the question, “Why Me?!” But look at what happened in four years . . . Now, it doesn’t mean the struggles are over—because they’re not. I’m always going to have struggles, but with hard work, determination, and the support of others (as well as faith), instead of having a life I have no control over, I can have the life I’ve always dreamed of!”
(David: p. 333-4)
“. . . Throughout my life, I’ve had people look at me in a weird way: you know, kind of like, “Well that kid is sort of –odd!” But like I said, I am who I am, and I love it. And if some people don’t, well then, I’ll still be polite, but I won’t try for more. I’ll admit, it’s not always easy being me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. . . In my opinion, a world where everyone is the same is a boring world. To summarize, be confident in who you are, own it, and love it!”
by David Petrovic