This is awesome!
An autistic teen wrote a children’s book to help kids cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, Action News Jax reports.
Trey Sheppard is the author of “The Day My World Changed,” a book he co-wrote with his mother Natalie Sheppard, to help children cope and adjust with the changes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At just three years old, Trey was diagnosed with autism. Despite the prognosis, the 13-year-old has exceeded expectations, growing up to become an honor roll student and a very active and well-rounded child.
“One thing we love saying is we crash nevers every day because the day he was diagnosed we were told about all of these nevers: He may never talk, he may never communicate the way we want him to communicate, he may never play organized sports, he may never be able to read,” Natalie Sheppard told reporters.
When schools across the country shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, transitioning to virtual learning, even with Trey’s progress, it was still a challenge for him to adjust.
“We started seeing signs of anxiety and just not understanding what’s going on and not being able to express himself when his communication has grown leaps and bounds,” said Sheppard.
That’s when she had the bright idea to begin journaling with Trey as a way to help him express his feelings about missing school and friends. Then Sheppard said she began to wonder how other children were coping as well.
“If our Trey was having a hard time, certainly every child across the nation and not just the nation, but across the world were having the same type of concerns,” Sheppard said.
The journaling eventually became the basis for the book, with Sheppard helping Trey put together the concept. They ultimately hired an illustrator and self-published. Since its July release, the book has already sold more than 250 copies and reached homes and classrooms across states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Illinois.
When asked how he felt about becoming an author, Trey said, “I feel excited because it’s my favorite book…I’m a published author.”
The Jacksonville, Florida teen read an excerpt from his book, saying, “We will all get through this together, even if it takes a while,” hoping that the mantra resonates with kids across the globe. While things have been tough on them, Sheppard said she is very proud of her son, and they both are just trying to do their part.
“We are trying to do our little part in the world to help the world be a better place to help everyone just feel better about the day their world changed,” Sheppard said.
“The Day My World Changed” is available for purchase here.
Photo Courtesy of Action News Jax