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“Working 13 years with students who are diagnosed with severe autism, my colleagues and I have often wanted to visualize and better understand what our students were seeing, feeling and thinking. Judy Endow’s Painted Words takes us on a picturesque journey into the mind of one autistic person through her vivid and breathtaking paintings and sculptures while also explaining in detailed description and poetry what she sees and, via sensory, how she experiences it. Helpful suggestions for working with individuals on the spectrum open a treasure box of insights. Having this ‘backstage pass’ into autism will be priceless for educators, parents and individuals on the autism spectrum.”—Joanna L. Keating-Velasco, educator, and author of A is for Autism, F is for Friend: A Kid’s Book for Making Friends with a Child Who Has Autism.
“Judy Endow combines her art, poetry, and prose to create a thought-provoking book of self-discovery that viscerally captures the essence of a world which only few experience—a world of subtle beauty that can turn too bright, loud, and overwhelming. The practical advice at the end of each chapter has helped me understand and be a better parent to my autistic child. Painted Words is a book to read, reread and share with other parents, educators, physicians, and therapists so they too can learn to appreciate the autistic experience. I’m buying it for all of my friends!”—Debra Hosseini, author of The Art of Autism: Shifting Perceptions.
“Judy gives us a compelling view into her world through words crafted on the page, connected with images that illustrate her experience of being autistic. She encourages the neurotypical world to change their perceptions and assumptions about people with autism, to ask ourselves questions. Painted Words challenges our thinking, leading us to examine beyond what we see on the surface. Your view of autism is bound to shift after experiencing autism through Judy’s words and paintings.”—Maureen Bennie, Director, Autism Awareness Centre, Inc. (www.autismawarenesscentre.com).
“By sharing her paintings and poetry in Painted Words, Judy Endow provides rare insight into a person with autism, including her heightened sensory awareness, her need to establish predictability, her social needs, and much more. This captivating book tempts the reader to learn more about the uniqueness of autism and its neurological impact. Judy shares her experiences, asks thoughtful questions, and challenges the reader, by putting words and visuals to her early childhood. She provides her vision of the world, and her perspective will flood you with emotions and leave you looking through fresh lenses at those with autism. Painted Words is a wonderful gift to us so-called neurotypicals. We may very well feel like we are the ones that are lacking and, thus, not measuring up. Using her own words, I summarize Judy’s contribution with this book by saying, ‘The girl her mastery shows!’”—Danette Schott, M.A., executive editor, special-ism.com.
“Judy Endow has long been one of my finest and clearest teachers when it comes to understanding autism. In Painted Words, Judy takes me into a new, deeper comprehension of her experience of autism using the mediums of poetry, prose and visual expression via her paintings. Her strong activist voice takes no prisoners, requiring me to examine how my own neurotypical arrogance can be a contraindicator in forming relationships with those in my life with autism. This strength is juxtaposed by the clarity of Judy’s paintings, which provides both visual representation and softness, entering my consciousness in a manner completely different than the words that accompany and explain. Judy’s ability to use her own experience to provide ideas and strategies for working with others is a treasure which she shares in each section of the book. Painted Words is a book that will appeal to autistics and neurotypicals alike, as we move forward to bridge the differences in how we experience the world to forge relationships and create better lives for those we love with autism.”—Kate McGinnity, M.S., educational consultant, and co-author of Walk Awhile in My Autism and Lights! Camera! Autism!.
“Judy Endow’s Painted Words is a sensitive and beautiful portal into a life lived with autism. Through evocative paintings and poetry, Judy explores her own experiences and offers invaluable advice to parents, teachers and other professionals who work with people on the autism spectrum. This heartfelt book sparkles and glitters. Highly recommended.”—Jeanette Purkis, author of Finding a Different Kind of Normal: Misadventures with Asperger Syndrome.
“Judy Endow’s Painted Words is an immersive, artful, and educational experience in understanding autism. Judy reveals her autistic neurology or ‘operating system’ by showing her way of perceiving, thinking, and learning. Painted Words is a step up from autism awareness. It is about understanding and accepting diverse minds.”—Jill Jones, filmmaker, currently researching and producing a documentary about autism and sensory perception (www.spectrumthefilm.com).
“Judy has brilliantly demonstrated her skill as a writer and an artist who proudly lives and loves autism. Her candid words and stunning art light up the spectrum as an example of the endless potential of all autistic people.”—Malcolm Mayfield, specialist/consultant, founder of Autism STAR (Autism Spectrum Training, Advocacy and Recruitment), www.autism-star.com.
“Painted Words takes the reader on an unforgettable journey far beyond written text—to a place where visual imagery dances with poetry to provide an intimate understanding of the world of an autistic. Judy Endow’s powerful use of personal art work, poetry, and written text is a must read for every professional working with individuals on the spectrum.”—Ellen E. Eggen, MS LPC ATR-BC, Art Therapist, Director of Planning and Operations, Common Threads Family Resource Center, Madison, Wisconsin.
“What a wonderful book! In combining her talents in both writing and the visual arts, Judy Endow has given us an intimate look into her life with autism that is informative, engaging, beautiful, and thought-provoking. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book.”—Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D., Director of Education, Upper School for the McCarton School, and the Founding Chair of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research (OAR).
“Judy reveals her unique sensory experience in this generous and compassionate offering. Here, as always, her words provide keys to understanding the autism experience. Yet more remarkably, Painted Words reveals her experience through pristine and seminal art images that open the autism experience in ways that words cannot. The vivid colors and textures of her art invite us into her experience. Her ability to define crucial aspects of the autism experience is matched by precise suggestions to guide neurotypical connection and relationship with persons with autism. I hope Painted Words helps you listen and see with new eyes. Prepare to leave misguided conceptions of autism behind you.”—John B. Thomas, M. Ed., educational consultant, and a principal author of TEACCH Transition Assessment Profile (TTAP).
“Painted Words is an especially valuable book because it weaves together, in a single volume, the prose, poetry, art and sculpting skills of the author with autism demonstrating how they interlink, interact and complement each other. That is an interesting experiential venture in its own right. But the book doesn’t stop there. Additionally, the ‘Considerations When Working With Others’ section at the end of each chapter provides very useful and practical advice distilled from all of the above. These useful hints, tips and pearls are easily understood and applied, put forth in a very reader friendly fashion, for anyone wanting to better understand the differences between autistic and neurotypical thinking and behavior.”—Darold Treffert, M.D., author of Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant, and a consultant on the movie Rain Man (www.savantsyndrome.com).
About the Author
Judy Endow, MSW, is an author and international speaker on a variety of autism-related topics. She is part of the Wisconsin DPI Statewide Autism Training Team and a board member of both the Autism Society of America, Wisconsin Chapter and the Autism National Committee. In addition, Judy works with the Autistic Global Initiative (AGI), a program of the Autism Research Institute. She maintains a private practice in Madison, Wisconsin, providing consultation for families, school districts and other agencies. Besides having autism herself, she is the parent of three now grown sons, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. Judy’s website is www.judyendow.com.
• Visit Judy’s website.
• Listen to New York Times audio profile of Judy for Patient Voices: Autism.
• Read Chantal Sicile-Kira’s HuffPo article referencing Judy.
• Watch a book trailer for Making Lemonade.
“This collection is a beautiful and complex expression of what it is to know autism from the inside out. These poems are more than moving, they are instructive and teach much about how to support, listen, and appreciate.”—Paula Kluth, Ph.D., author of You’re Going to Love This Kid!: Teaching students with autism in the inclusive classroom.
“Autism has many faces and ‘ARTism’ is surely one of them. Judy Endow captures the fluid world of the autistic person with ‘artism,’ so naturally compelled by a world of pattern, theme and feel. This natural alternative ‘normality’ is one of the most misunderstood ‘functionally non-verbal’ worlds of cognitively different people. Judy playfully addresses her audience through a middle world where the language of ‘artism’ is those with autism can borrow the interpretive words of the mainstream world to build bridges and entice and invite them to respectfully do likewise.”—Donna Williams, bestselling author of Nobody Nowhere and Autism and Sensing: The Unlost Instinct.
“Throughout human history the really important stuff of life has not found its place in prose, in ordinary discourse. Art and music and poetry have helped bridge the gap. Yet, people who live with significant differences have seldom been allowed to sing their song or share their art except in a limited space called ‘special’ meaning ‘other.’ Judy Endow has given us a book from her heart and from her experience that is truly extraordinary. Her beautiful poetry lets us join her in her unique life journey and wonder from whence she drew the strength and the courage to keep from letting her autism define her and her life. And with her words she offers a way to redefine autism and those who have been burdened with labels and places of otherness to see them as one with us. Read this book. It’s wonderful.”—Anne M. Donnellan, Professor, School of Leadership and Education Sciences, University of San Diego; Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and author (with Martha R. Leary) of Autism: Sensory-Movement Differences and Diversity (CBR Press 2012).
“I’ve had the honor of hearing Judy speak at several autism institutes geared at educators over the past several years. One book she shared with us is Making Lemonade, her first publication. Judy read poems from this book that artistically describes what it feels like to live with autism: getting stuck in moments everyday, interpreting language literally and dealing with sensory input that is inescapable in our world. Her positive outlook to deal with the ‘lemons’ life offers is of course, ‘to make lemonade!’ This is a must-read for those who work with individuals on the spectrum.”—Carrie Heinbuch Anciaux, photographer, carrieanciauxblog.com.