Add To Favorites

Ashtabula woman shares book on autism

Star Beacon - 4/19/2024

Apr. 16—ASHTABULA — An attempt to help her grandchildren understand autism led to a book that illustrates how a person on the lower end of the autism scale reacts on a day-to-day basis, said Rochelle Blee.

Blee shared her book "Jimmy's Magic Red Hoodie" with children and adults on Saturday morning at the Ashtabula Public Library.

She said the book focuses on how children can act compassionately to a person with autism who may react differently to life than they do.

"It's written about my son. It is trying to teach young children about autism," Blee said.

She said her grandchildren, very young at the time, couldn't understand the behavior of their uncle and Blee attempted to explain autism to them.

Blee said her son is now 30 and living in an excellent group home in Shaker Heights.

"He is non-verbal and autistic. ... He is 6-foot-4, but he behaves like a young child," she said.

She said the grandchildren couldn't understand, but when autism was explained and they learned more about it, they understood quickly. Blee said she was frustrated at the time that she didn't have any resources to make the explanation easier.

Blee decided to write the children's book to help others make that awareness bridge to understand people they may meet. She said the book was completed in 2018.

Several families attended the event, which included sensory mechanisms — uniquely shaped toys — that help children with autism learn. She said the toys were made available for the children so they could experience some of what an autistic child experiences.

Blee read the book with the assistance of David Waldron. She also used other props to bring the experience to life, such as a red cape.

The library hosted the event as a part of Autism Awareness Month.


(c)2024 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)

Visit the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.