Thank you to Nupur Chokshi with Inspiration Matters for interviewing Sarah for your Inspirational Interviews! Napur conducts interviews with famous personalities of all abilities, so it is an honor.
“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” – Gustave Flaubert. Sarah, who is a critically acclaimed non-verbal writer, has discover her expressive writing path through typing. Once typed words became her voice, it helped her to convey her message to the world. Sarah began her writing career with the acclaimed children’s book, Do-si-Do with Autism. She has successfully published numerous books for both adults and children. Sarah is the proud recipient of The Arc of Maryland Self-advocate Award and the Frances and Lease Bussard Award for Self-advocacy. She has been featured in publications such as the Baltimore Sun, Frederick News Post and many more.
S: All of my expression is through the written word since I have no speaking voice. When I was in the fourth grade, my teacher had me write daily journals, and I decided to become a writer then. For me, to write is to be alive and a real person. Before I could type, people did not know I was a thinker.
: Can you tell us more about your book Do-si-Do with Autism? What message or experience do you want to convey with your books?
S: I am pleased my first book is helping young children to enjoy reading a story that shows students with autism can be good friends and citizens. It is set in school on square dancing day, and later in the story, everyone learns to dance with differences, or do-si-do with autism. The “Do-si-Do with Autism Friendship Kit” is a CD/DVD set that is based on the book and characters and is packed with materials and activities to help kids (and adults) learn about and make friends with children with autism. Autism is a disability that results from experiencing the world differently and, therefore, people with autism may react in unusual ways.
: How do you usually get ideas for writing a book? How many books have you authored so far?
S: I think about getting entertaining stories that will convey my messages of hope and understanding for people who have differences.
1> Do-si-Do with Autism (the book) – Do-si-Do with Autism Friendship Kit (CD-DVD set) for Levels Pre-K through 4. Includes a Common Core Standards-aligned Teacher’s Guide, the book in many formats, disability awareness lesson plans and activities, dozens and dozens of games, puzzles, and skills-based fun sheets, inspirational gifts and downloads, and more! Learn about and make friends with kids with autism. Do-si-Do Stageplay
2> Are Your Eyes Listening? A book of collected works for adults and teens
3>Inspirational Keepsake Collection – Gift booklets
Heart & Spirit: Words to comfort, inspire and share
Nest Feathers: A celebration of family, home and memories shared
4> Paul and His Beast A middle-grade novel
“Entertaining, accessible, and beautifully lucid look at what it is like to have autism.” —Kirkus Review
Includes Reader’s Guide, group activities, information about combatting bullying, and a Common Core Standards-aligned Teacher’s Guide with lesson plans and activities
5> Numerous videos, downloadable gifts, and a collection of quote designs on SarahStup.com
: Can you share a memorable event from your school days? What is the one thing you would like to change in our present education system for kids with autism?
S: When I was about eight years old and could not speak or tell my body what to do, my teacher found a way for me to type to communicate. With my new voice, I felt like a real and true person.
Schools try to have students with autism pose as normal, which is painful for us. Please allow us to be who we are. We experience the world differently, and therefore we sometimes react in strange ways that are necessary to protect ourselves from your confusing world.
: You have received plenty of awards and recognition. Which award is closest to you heart and why?
S: I am proud of winning my own voice, and I thank God for the highest award He could give me.
: Who is your favorite writer? Which of his/her character do you like the most and why?
S: I am a fan of Anne Frank who hid and wrote, like I do now, but I am fortunate to be doing it simply because of shyness. Robert Frost is a poet I enjoy.
: What are your other hobbies?
S: I enjoy reading, writing, walking, and going to the beach.
: What is your favorite place to visit? What do you like about that place?
S: The ocean is a place where normality is tossed away and only spirit counts.
: Any advice/tips for our community who may be interested in becoming a writer?
S: Let your heart lead you. Also, keep a daily journal and, after it gets cold, find the best seeds from it to grow your prose.
: Any special message for our community?
S: Please help me to build a new, exotic garden where two worlds meet and differences are celebrated, not feared.