What Autism Gave Me

Michael Haigwood Goodroe
Outskirts Press (2018)
ISBN 9781478797821
Reviewed by Christine Watson for Reader Views (12/18)

“What Autism Gave Me” by Michael Haigwood Goodroe is an inspirational memoir of the author’s life so far, and all the challenges and successes he has experienced while having Autism. Having this story written by someone with Autism offers an interesting perspective that parents and teachers often don’t get to experience.

Michael Goodroe, the author of this book, was born with Autism, and given a low chance of being independent and productive in life. Fortunately for him, his parents felt differently, which has resulted in an empowered young adult with a life full of accomplishments already, and so much more to tackle! Because his story is written by himself, it offers a unique perspective for parents and educators. Michael talks about his struggles with academics and socialization in school and shares how he was completely unaware that he was different than the other children. His parents also provided a “can-do” attitude which was extremely helpful for him. The author got involved in martial arts and was very successful through hard work and dedication. Going to college was a goal of his, and he was able to attend and graduate from college after being rejected from endless kindergartens many years earlier. Michael also was an incredible singer and was able to find success through singing throughout his life.

Having worked with students with special needs for 10 years, I was super impressed with Michael’s inspirational life story. It takes great perseverance to overcome disabilities, particularly when the rest of the world has set beliefs and opinions already in place. All the right people were in place to help Michael succeed, from his parents, to his teachers who believed in him, to himself. He is a fantastic example of what can happen with some belief, determination, and a lot of hard work. He didn’t see success right away, and there were many setbacks that could have derailed him permanently, but he didn’t let that happen.

I would highly recommend “What Autism Gave Me” by Michael Haigwood Goodroe to anyone who is around Autism or other disabilities in their life. Parents of children with Autism would greatly benefit from this inspirational story. Teachers can learn how to continue to work with students and not give up. I have been inspired myself to remember that everyone struggles with challenges and setbacks. Michael has shown me that giving up should never be an option. Thank you, Michael!