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Literary Types: ‘It’s just’ addresses kids with social differences

Rick Stewart has a lot to say about his gifted son, Kyle. Kyle is a 20-year-old man with Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism that affects 1 in 54 children in the United States.

Despite Kyle’s social difficulties, he studied at Suffolk University in Boston, cultivates healthy relationships with friends and family and maintains a job. He even drives.

Rick Stewart captivates the true essence of what it means to be a good father, In his children’s book called “It’s just,” the author reveals what a person with Asperger’s syndrome might be thinking or feeling. The purpose of his beautifully illustrated 12-page book is to “help other kids and their friends and family realize that they are not alone, that is OK to be different.”

The story originated from a poem Rick wrote about Kyle when Kyle was 8. It applies a mild tone and is illustrated by his youngest daughter, Shannon, who is an art major at UConn.

Raising a boy with a disability can be overwhelming, but in addition to the challenges and perils of parenting come tolerance, patience, and love.

As a kid, Kyle attended Norwich Public Schools and the Magnet School in New London. It was not until second grade that a teacher recognized Kyle was different, showing characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome. A person with Asperger’s syndrome might lack social awareness, have special interests and exhibit repetitive behavior.

Kyle developed a passion for Greek mythology and an acute interest in the National Football League.

Kyle has been blessed with a loving family and a determination to make plans for the future. He has a sister, 29; another sister, 21, and a brother Zachary, who is 26. He plans to work for his father’s landscaping business for two years in order to earn money to move to California.

Rick Stewart and his family live in Norwich. You can buy his book online from Dorrance Amazon, and from Barnes and Noble. It may also be purchased at Small Potatoes at 50 Pleasant St. in Norwich and at Bank Square Books in Mystic.

Kyle’s response to his father’s book is that he “hopes that is helps other kids like him.”

Lisa Shasha lives in Norwich.

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