For anyone whose life has been touched by autism...

Local author and autism advocate Adonya Wong invites the public to a pre-release signing of her new book In My Mind: The World through the Eyes of Autism at 2 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 13 at The Collective, 3148 E. 11th St.

In My Mind is a full-color book, illustrated by Benton Rudd, depicting the world as seen through the eyes of a young boy with autism—a world no one else can see. From exciting adventures to silly games and conversations with friends, look closely and see how a child with autism sees the world… and how the world sees him. The book is inspired by Wong’s son Nicholas, who is autistic.

The book isn’t about defining autism by her own experience, Wong says. “The book is more my way of trying to ‘explain,’ in an adventurous way, a few of the things my son, and others with autism, do. It’s my perception of how a child with autism sees the world, and, in turn, how the world sees him,” says Wong.

“I wrote In My Mind because I felt that there weren’t enough books that children on the spectrum could identify with,” she says.

Though the book is meant for children, it also poignantly reaches adults, inspiring them to examine their own preconceptions about people with developmental and other disabilities. The book teaches both children and adults to see the world through the eyes of others who may be different than they are, eliciting compassion, tolerance and patience from the reader.

Wong will sign copies of her book, available for purchase at the event, from 2 to 4 p.m. During that time, Wong will award a free, signed copy of In My Mind to the lucky winner of a raffle.

Portions of the proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Tulsa Autism Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to meet the needs of individuals and families affected by autism and related neurological disorders. The Tulsa Autism Foundation provides programming such as community awareness and outreach, early screening and intervention, parent and professional information and training and family support.

Wong says she chose to donate proceeds from her book to the Tulsa Autism Foundation because “it is Tulsa’s only extensive source of information on autism.”

“Donating a portion of my proceeds to TAF means I’m helping our community… one dollar at a time,” says Wong.

In My Mind is published by Tate Publishing, a Christian-based, family-owned publishing organization with a mission to discover and market new and unknown authors. The book will officially be released in January 2009.

Wong is a veteran of the United States Navy, having served in Iceland and Maryland. After being honorably discharged in 1991, she served with the California Air National Guard for four years. When she is not writing, Wong home schools her son and heads the Tulsa-based nonprofit she founded, M.O.C.H.A. (Mothers of Color for Holistic Alternatives). Wong also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, watching classic movies and curling up with a good book.

For more information about her book and this event, visit www.throughtheeyesofautism.com or E-mail Adonya@throughtheeyesofautism.com.

Rethinking the Holidays

Please join us at the 3rd annual Rethinking the Holidays event on the TU campus tomorrow night from 7pm-9pm in Chapman Lecture Hall (on the ground floor of Chapman Hall). Last year we focused on how to eat locally and seasonally during the holidays as well as how to interact with family members who have a different vision of the annual celebration than we do.

This year we will be discussing the waste from the Holidays (especially wasteful gift purchases) and how we can alter our own personal waste. Students will make presentations centered around how to green the holidays from a students' perspective.

Tuesday, December 9
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
University of Tulsa campus


Green Giving

I love Christmas. I love giving gifts.

While I do like the idea of giving family and friends environmentally-friendly and benevolent Christmas gifts like a donation in their name to a charity of choice, I have a hard time denying myself the pleasure of buying them something I know they'll love or need. For my grandma, it was new, chef's-quality knives (hers are at least 20 years old and DULL). For my dad, a DVD of HBO's John Adams.

I do try to shop consciously. I buy local whenever possible (a "Don't Hate the 918" shirt for my brother from Dwelling Spaces, wooden toys for my son from Lundeby's Eco Baby), I try to buy only useful, purposeful items (no knickknacks that will end up on a shelf collecting dust or in the trash) and I wrap gifts in either Better Bags from Whole Foods (at $.99 each, they're a lot cheaper and greener than gift bags) or recycled brown butcher paper.

Every year at Christmas, I'm in charge of corralling our discarded Christmas wrap. I save as much of it as I can, stashing it away for reuse next year. This year, after everyone opens their gifts, I plan to horde the butcher paper I gave them in and take it home and let my son fingerpaint on it. You can probably get milk-based paints at Lundeby's, but I've also found a few recipes for making your own online.

Recipe #1
1 quart skim milk (room temperature)
1 once of hydrated lime by weight (Do not use quick lime)
1 to 2 1/2 pounds of chalk may also be added as a filler (You can buy chalk dust or grind chalk yourself)
->Stir together milk and lime to form a smooth paste. Add color pigment of your choice and apply with a natural bristle brush. Allow first coat to dry sufficiently before applying another. Finish off with an oil finish if desired.

Recipe #2

Powdered Skim Milk
Food Coloring
->Mix just enough powder and water to create the consistency of paint. Add food coloring of your choice or make a tincture with various herbs and vegetables. Strain through a cheesecloth.

Recipe #3
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 cups cold water
Wire whisk or eggbeater
1 1/4 cups hot water
Food coloring or powdered tempera paint
->Mix the flour and salt in the saucepan. Beat in the cold water until the mixture is smooth. Mix in the hot water and boil the mixture until it's thick, then beat it again until it's smooth. Tint the paint however you like with food coloring or powdered tempera paint. Cover the paint and refrigerate it for storage.

I cannot endorse any of these recipes because I have not yet tried them. But it sounds like a good idea. I would love to hear from you what your plans/tips are for greening the holidays.