We are all living a Superhero’s Journey, each Soul playing out their own individual starring role. Anyone who is touched by Autism (in any capacity) will understand that their Superhero Journey may be different, the ‘road less travelled’ so to speak. Well, this book is for you, the Superhero’s Superhero.
We sit down with author Niki Humm.
First, what made you decide to write this book?
Over the years I’ve written random notes about my experiences with my children: feelings, concerns, deep perspectives and such. Early on it was a coping mechanism and form of expression, as I didn’t have many people to talk to about it at the time. I was always concerned about sharing my writing publicly about such personal matters for fear of judgement and harshness from others.
What made me decide to write Autism Superheroes -The Spark Within? The short version is; during the Spiritual Life Coaching Certification course I am studying, I was able to unravel deeper meanings to my purpose in life and what it is that I am ‘here for.’ A combination of my passion for writing, the drive to help others (often with the very things that I struggle with) and personal experience – all cemented the goal to write this book.
What is the meaning behind the title Autism Superheroes?
I love movies, particularly Marvel movies with superheroes. When you think about it, we are all the lead role of our own movie that we call our lives. The common term among parents ‘super-mum’ or ‘super dad’ is relevant – because it’s a constant battle of light and dark – but love prevails and drives us forward. Often to children, their parents are just that – superheroes. So it seemed fitting that having Autism in the title implies that those who identify with that diagnosis are also superheroes – as well as their families. It’s relatable and light-hearted, so to me there was never a question about the title. It was perfect.
You’ve based Autism Superheroes off personal experience, were their personal experiences you felt you couldn’t include?
Absolutely! There was a very real struggle to keep the deeply personal stuff out, different things that already cause massive anxiety within our daily lives. To write about that, knowing it would help readers perhaps, would also risk shaming or be an invasion of my family’s privacy. Details of the deaths of both of my parents and aspects of relationships close to my children that affected who/where we are now, would have been an important contribution to the book. It would have shown just how resilient and brave we are, challenges we’ve overcome and continue to face. What it came down to was: despite the therapeutic benefit of being able to get that off my chest through my writing, it was not crucial to the focus of the book. Definitely not enough to risk upsetting my family by discussing such things so publicly. So that was a difficult balance, for sure. There are some things just for us.
In the book you describe autism as misunderstood, what do you mean by this?
I put my hand up to being someone who used to think of Autism as ‘something wrong’ with a person – that there was perhaps something missing or something to feel sorry for. I don’t think that I would have been the only one with that perception. Although it definitely comes with challenges, I know now that there’s nothing ‘wrong…’ but wonderfully different. In my experience there is a perception that all people on The Spectrum are often categorised to be ‘sick’ or less than ‘normal,’ less intelligent perhaps: that they will always be limited by default. Although it is less taboo now days with so much awareness and advocacy – Autism has been almost something to be feared in some form or another. This fear has seen many isolated I’m sure, I can personally relate to that. I wanted to challenge that view for my readers, and get them thinking about it from a different perspective.
Was writing Autism Superhero’s a challenging experience?
For the most part – no. I found it a great experience, it came naturally and flowed beautifully and quickly. I enjoyed it and it was an incredibly soul-singing experience for me. However, as the techniques and perspectives I employ at home are of a spiritual nature – I did grapple with sharing that side of myself on such a platform. I spent a lot of extra time trying to keep it easily understandable and relatable, maybe I over-explained a few things…but keeping it simple wasn’t always possible.
I was concerned about ‘freaking people out’ so to speak, but I had to stay true to myself and my mission in order to get it out there. I got through it with the notion that those who are meant to see it will, and those who don’t resonate or understand will at least have a different perspective if nothing else. If these things can help just one person, then it’s all worth it. It became obvious that it was less about me, and more about the message I am gifted to pass on.
You speak about finding balance in your life, how was writing this book incorporated into that balance?
For me, writing in and of itself is not only therapeutic but an art form- a way for me to express myself and to reflect in an act of self-awareness. After starting with a blog, it seemed that people genuinely liked what I wrote about (I know, right? No one was more stunned than I was!) I became aware that I was able to reach people through this passion of mine.
I tend to feel healthier when I am in a position to help others, so it was good for my health to channel my energy into service as well. We are all busy, and I think this book forced me to MAKE time for what’s important. (I’ve even flicked back through it to read some of the affirmations to myself when I am struggling!) Funnily enough it seemed to help me focus and improved productivity in other areas of my family life as well.
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us, is there anything you would to say to those considering reading your book?
Keep an open mind! Not everything is black and white – but an array of colours perhaps never seen before. If you want something to relate to, something to make you feel you belong or something to give some deeper insight into energy, Autism or just being a soul living the human experiment – there’s something in this book for you. Also, I’m hilarious – so…there’s that too!
You can purchase the book at whitelightshop.com/products/autism-superheroes-the-spark-within