Posted on Friday, May 09, 2014
Author, speaker, and autism advocate Jesse Saperstein '04 has a new book coming out in August, "Getting a Life with Asperger's" (Penguin Group U.S.A.). Saperstein was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a mild form of autism, at the age of 14. This is Saperstein's second novel. His first book, "Atypical: Life with Asperger's in 20 1/3 Chapter," was published by Penguin Group (USA) in 2010. It immediately became a popular memoir due to its practical advice and outrageous humor.
Along the road to adulthood, Saperstein has learned many lessons the hard way. In this honest and engaging book, he offers a guided tour of what he's learned about getting along with others, managing emotions, succeeding in school and work, building relationships, and more.
He presents a set of rules for Asperger's. Among these are:
1) Clean up your own mess (including but not limited to credit card debt, out-of-control collections, and your cesspool of a room).
2) You can't bail out the Titanic with a wine glass (or change the world of online dating).
3) Serving as a role model to the next generation of Asperger's syndrome.
4) Navigating the challenges of college and the unrelenting storm of transition.
5) The road to catastrophe is paved with good intentions (understanding how others perceive you, even if they're wrong).
6) WIN (Work Is Necessary). You are talented enough to maintain employment even if your options are not ideal
7) Confronting memories of bullying and showing mercy toward yourself.
Saperstein shares his unique perspective on such topics as overcoming bullying and chronic rejection, finding purpose and strength, coping with compulsions, and making peace with ritualistic obsessions (including an enduring love of the postal system).
Critics have called Saperstein's book "Heartfelt, insightful, and generous, this book will enlighten and inform readers, whether they are on the autism spectrum or not."
Saperstein graduated from Hobart with a BA in English. He then set out to conquer the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail to benefit the Joey DiPaolo AIDS Foundation. Shortly after his hike ended, he was exposed to some of the cruel realities of living as an adult on the autism spectrum and was treated as a social pariah by members of the community who did not understand. His decision to write was an opportunity to escape these realities and advocate for his peers who are not always granted a voice.
Saperstein visits schools on a regular basis and has been successful with wiping out bullying or at least dramatically alleviating it with every presentation. He is currently working on initiatives to pioneer a middle/high school class in New York State that will be similar to Health, but will focus on educating young people about misunderstood disabilities as well as the psychological and legal consequences of bullying. He returned to campus in January of 2013 for an alumni event.
To learn more about Jesse Saperstein visit: www.jessesaperstein.com