A Columbus East High School senior who was diagnosed with autism as a child is raising awareness about his disability by writing a children’s book.
Kyndal Gary, 17, began writing and illustrating his paperback book, “Something’s Different About Andrew,” in August as part of his senior project at East. The title is based on the main character of the book, highlighting different scenarios that an individual with autism might experience, Gary said.
Illustrations in the 24-page book include the character Andrew wearing headphones, something Gary does in an effort to block out loud noises.
Gary said the book is meant to help people understand autism and view it differently.
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“I think it’s important that people see what it is and there’s a positive side to it,” Gary said.
More importantly, Gary said he wants people to know individuals such as himself have hidden talents and can be successful as well. His hidden talent is drawing and hopes to be a positive role model, he said.
“I think people with autism need a national figure to look up to,” Gary said. “This book can make them notice what they have is a good thing.”
The book, which took about two months to complete, has already landed on Amazon and Gary hopes his work will be seen across the country. The book was published by Sue Breeding, a local publisher.
“Andrew can be a character that people with autism can relate to,” he said. “People with autism are people too and they have special gifts.”
Romanski, who described Gary as a self-starter, said the book shows that students with disabilities should be comfortable with who they are as individuals.
As far as what the future holds, Gary already has a plan in mind that includes creating a series based off the book. He hopes to become a cartoonist someday. He also plans to read the book in April to the entire student body at East during Autism Awareness Month.
“This started as my senior project, but it could be the start of a career,” Gary said. “I’ve always wanted my drawing talent to be known and now it is.”
Kyndal Gary’s book, “Something’s Different About Andrew,” is on Amazon.