So, I had my first book signing....

Greetings from my office on Rossmore Avenue in Hollywood, California. Contrary to popular belief, it is raining here. My book, Strange Son, was published on January 2nd, by Riverhead, it is my first book and it took me three years to write. Now that it is done, my husband says he has decided that it's not worth ending our marriage over and my kids simply say: "Mom, you're not ever going to write another book again, are you?"

​I spent the first three weeks after the book came out, doing mostly radio interviews. I am an extremely shy person, so I was a nervous wreck at first, but after the first few interviews my nerves were completely shot and I just couldn't get that worked up any more.

​This was a good thing because I had my first book-signing event at Barnes and Noble in Santa Monica on January 16th. It was truly gratifying to see all the people who have been such an important part of my life sitting there in folding chairs, eating all that cheese and all those crackers and cheering me on. Alcohol was only allowed for the author and I sure could have used a drink that night, but I couldn't bear the thought of my friends staring at that open bottle of booze on the podium instead of listening to me reading.

​My son Dov, who is autistic and 14 years old, was sitting in the front row between my sisters Sarah and Lenore, who dote on him endlessly. He was beaming and he grinned ear to ear each time I mentioned his name and especially when I told the crowd how very proud I am of him and about how well he is doing in school. There were people in the audience from every walk of my life -- friends from the Cure Autism Now foundation, (CAN) which my husband Jon Shestack and I co-founded in 1995, researchers whom we've gotten to know well through CAN, teachers and therapists who work with Dov and students from our home school which Dov named �Cogwheels�. There were writers and actors and other people from the entertainment world which is where my husband Jon conducts his career. And of course there were more family members, baby sitters and my wonderful old friends who have stuck with me through everything. I felt so supported; it was truly a moving experience for me.

​For the past few weeks I have been very busy building the social network, on this web site. We are working on some improvements at the moment. It is a place where people can share information about how to help children and adults with autism to communicate better. This on line community is a natural extension of the ideas I describe in my book. What better place to share our knowledge, ask questions and help each other? A Myspace of one's own. It's been an exciting project and it is still very much a work in progress. Soon you will be able to upload videos so that we can share our techniques directly. We really need your feedback and input as we are in the process creating this community so please join! It's free of course.

​I believe that the communication approach I discuss in my book will turn out to be as big a deal as Braille or sign language and that this new on line community will be a vehicle to propel it into worldwide use through a grassroots movement that is made possible by technology. Every family with a "low-communicating" or nonverbal child with autism could likely benefit from being a part of this on line community.

​Thank you for visiting my blog!

​ -Portia
​ Below is a video clip of the reading, and some of the Q&A I did. In my photo gallery, there are some stills of the event as well.

Posted on 02/01/2007 at 16:10:11

The Descartes Community is an online social networking site for sharing information about helping non-verbal and "low-communicating" individuals with autism to communicate better.

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