I’m honoured to be part of RJ’s Blog Tour for Autism Awareness, highlighting the Five Senses.
An interesting fact you may not know about autism is: People with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) who are hyposensitive to smell may have no sense of smell at all, and fail to notice extreme odours (this can include their own body odour). Some people may lick things to get a better sense of what they are.
When I found out this blog tour would revolve around the five senses, my first thoughts went to Isaac Brannigan from Blind Faith. He was one of my first characters I ever wrote. A very stubborn, impatient, and wonderful man, who just happens to be blind. Writing a character with vision impairment wasn’t easy, and I learned a lot in my research when I decided the character in my head had a story to tell.
Sight is a fundamental sense that a lot of people take for granted. Having it taken away is a life changing event, and one Isaac Brannigan had to overcome. To write his story, I researched a LOT, I spoke to people with vision impairments, I joined forums, I read and read, and I learned.
People who are vision impaired live full and rewarding lives and I was, and still am, in complete awe of how these people live their day-to-day lives without missing a beat. Careers, children, public transport, shopping, reading, sports, arts, everything full-vision people do every day, and take for granted, every single day. They adapt to their environments, make adjustments and push forward. It’s incredibly inspiring!
Do me a little favour, and imagine this: a normal morning routine for some…
Wake up at 6:30 a.m. Shower, dress for work, including hair and make-up, or shave your face (whichever is your normal morning routine). Wake the kids up, get them breakfast, pack school lunches, get them dressed, do their hair. Get them on the school bus, while praying for good weather. Rain makes everything more difficult… Catch your bus, pay your fare, and hope there’s a seat. Maybe you could take a cab. It’s easier but more expensive to do on a daily basis. Get to work, manage the revolving doors, then the stairs, or elevator, find your desk, log in to your computer and check emails…
All this and it’s not even 8:30 a.m.
Sounds like a normal, but hectic, morning, right?
Now imagine doing it blind.
Imagine doing every one of these steps without using your sight. Does your shirt match your pants? Are you wearing two different coloured shoes? Who else was watching your kids get on that bus? Who else was watching you walk off alone, unassisted? Did you catch the right bus? Did you pay the right amount? Did the bus driver short change you $10? How would you know? Did you get off at the right bus stop? Are you even in the right suburb? HOW WOULD YOU KNOW?
Downright frightening, if you ask me, yet people with vision impairments do it every day.
A lot people disliked Isaac Brannigan. Said he was too brattish, too short-tempered and one lovely reviewer said he was “too blind.” Yep, not even kidding. I also had two separate people contact me, who have/had blind spouses, and said I absolutely nailed the characterisations, the frustrations, the outbursts, the longing for independence but fear of it at the same time. And that, that acknowledgment to my research and dedication to character, has been a highlight of my writing career.
I will admit without shame, that I love Isaac. I love his faults, and I love his strengths. And what I’m doing is making Blind Faith FREE on Amazon for four days. Starting today (April 7th) until April 10th, you can download Blind Faith and meet Isaac, Carter, and of course Brady the wonder dog. 🙂
The universal link for Blind Faith is HERE! Go forth, click and read!
Thank you for taking part of RJ Scott’s annual autism awareness blog hop! You can check out all the other awesome authors taking part HERE <3