JULIE LANE PHOTO | Alex Olinkiewicz has a new publisher for his book dealing with autism/Asperger’s and he’s about to go on a nationwide tour.
Shelter Islander Alex Olinkiewicz, whose book with Dr. Richard O’Connell, “In My Mind — A Journey Through My Life With Asperger’s/Autism,” has been invited to tour the country speaking about his struggles.
Future Horizons, an Arlington, Texas company that publishes books and offers conferences on conditions, will bring out the book that was previously self-published. The publisher has asked Mr. Olinkiewicz to travel the country offering his personal insights on what it’s like to live with Asperger’s.
The book was an outgrowth of a YouTube video, “In My Mind,” which Mr. Olinkiewicz posted, receiving 1.4 million hits from viewers. Dr. O’Connell, a retired guidance counselor and author, recorded and edited 110 interviews with Mr. Olinkiewicz to bring the book to fruition.
Most online reactions to the video were very positive, with only “a few jerks,” Mr. Olinkiewicz told the Reporter last year.
“I mostly shrug them off,” Mr. Olinkiewicz said.
While Dr. O’Connell assisted in the writing of the book, Mr. Olinkiewicz produced all the images that graphically describe his symptoms.
“Of particular interest is the second half of the book wherein Alex tells of his life experiences,” Dr. O’Connell said. “Some are quite painful, others humorous and all heart warming,” he said. He predicted that the chance to travel would open many new experiences and “enable him to encounter many growth challenges.” Dr. O’Connell said.
Since the book was initially published, Mr. Olinkiewicz has spoken about it to many local groups as well as professional organizations
The 22-year old graduated from Shelter Island High School in 2009 and has since spent much of his time engaged in graphics work at home.
While he recalled not liking school except for his tutoring with teacher Robin Anderson, who he has described as “one of my first and closets friends,” since graduating he’s found his life isolating. But since he began touring locally with his book, that aspect of his life has improved a bit, recieving accolades from many people he’s met.
People have called him “amazing” and “an inspiration.” A parent of a child with Asperger’s said the book provided a clearer understanding of what her child is going through and has given her hope and encouragement in dealing with her son.
The book is available locally at his father’s gas station, O’s on Route 114 or can be ordered from createspace.com/3899100.