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Finding Kansas: Living and Decoding Asperger's Syndrome Paperback – April 3, 2012


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Frequently Bought Together

Finding Kansas: Living and Decoding Asperger's Syndrome + The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome + The Asperkid's (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-so-obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens With Asperger Syndrome
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Trade; 1 edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399537333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399537332
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was always the "quirky" kid, as my teachers described me. No one knew what to make of me as I was smart and yet was oblivious to social situations. Over the first 20 years I had every diagnosis in the book it seemed, but it never really fit. It wasn't until I was the age of 20 that I got the right diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome.

Autism awareness, quite simply, wasn't what it is today. Because of this I had no idea what I had so I went to the internet to look it up. Sadly, the first thing I read about Asperger Syndrome was, "People with Asperger Syndrome will never have a job, won't have friends, and will never be happy."

That was the first thing I read and I believed it. The result was I slipped into the deepest depression possible and for 15 months I stayed there. I didn't care about anyone or anything. 15 months after reading that though, on one evening, I sat down at my computer and I started to write. Believe me when I say that I hated to write. Writing was awful as well as expressing myself, and yet, through writing, I was for the first time in my life expressing myself on the emotional level.

I never intended on being an author, or a speaker, and the genesis of my writing was because I simply wanted to tell my dad who I was and why I was by explaining why I do the things I do in ways that are easily understood. Some say I have created a new vocabulary, and that might be, but ever since I started to write my goal has simply been to describe the traits in ways that people get because understanding is the foundation for hope and because I lived without hope for those dark months after being diagnosed I hope I can do what I can to bring about an added element of awareness so the world might understand us on the spectrum just a little bit more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 38 customer reviews
Aaron gives a very insightful look into the mind of a young man who struggles with autism.
Bonnie Coatney
Finding Kansas really helped me to gain insight and understanding into Asperger's Syndrome and the way they interpret the world.
aschad
Well we may never know what the big damn deal is, we can only know how it may feel to our son.
Cynthia Walker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By NLE on April 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
Aaron Likens has done remarkable things but first he started out as a seriously annoying disruptive kid. He hated school; most kids do, but Aaron HATED school. He was bored, mostly, but also not functioning on the same level as his peers. By the time he was six, Aaron couldn't play monopoly with his dad because he always won. Always.
Taken to counseling he was compared to....wait for it.....the Unabomber or possibly a serial killer. Thankfully that didn't happen because we would have missed out the wonderful various tales of life that Aaron gives us in FINDING KANSAS. Aaron has autism in the form as Asperger's Syndrome. "Asperger's syndrome, also called Asperger's disorder, is a type of pervasive development disorder (PDD). PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination." Thank you Wiki!
He wasn't diagnosed until he was in his early twenties and his father did us all a favor by getting him a journal and encouraging him to write down his thoughts. They make up this book. Usually I don't do short stories but this isn't - it's a compilation of thoughts, reminiscing girls, jobs, Life and auto racing.
You soon learn that auto racing IS Kansas. A place of joy and comfort where Aaron is completely in control and where he excels. Aaron loves racing like most of us loves our kids; and that is also part of the Asperger's: he can remember events down to the last drop of water but he cannot remember the people he was with. Racing is when he feels he is meant to be. Too bad the Powers That Be don't agree.
A great story written by an amazing individual. A Must Read for those with Aspergers in the families and a Must Read for all the rest of us because it will completely change your frame of reference.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lemerson on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thank you Aaron for sharing your mind, thoughts, trials and tribulations with the world. Through your writings, I feel as though I finally understand what my 30 year old son with Asperger's has been trying to tell me forever. I finally get to understand. You are an amazing man with a fantastic gift for writing.

This is a remarkable book and a must read for anyone interested in Asperger's Syndrome and beyond.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Massoud on April 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a brother with Asperger's and I'm so thankful I happened upon this book. It has shed light on so many of the traits that sometimes exasperate the entire family.

This was very reminiscent of the film THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY about a stroke victim who was somehow able to transcend his condition and actually describe what was going on inside his head. Like this movie, the book FINDING KANSAS is wrenching in it's ability to throw back the curtain on medical diagnosis and assumptions and care-takers frustration with those with brain abnormalities, no matter what they may be, and eloquently illustrate that behind all these surface things, there is ultimately a person who is deeply suffering.

The author has uniquely described what he goes through on a daily basis, just trying to get through the day. What fascinated me most is the agony this writer goes through KNOWING he is not quite normal, but being utterly POWERLESS to do anything about it. It has always been easy for me to assume that my brother was just being difficult and stubborn. I never imagined that perhaps he doesn't WANT to be that way, that perhaps he is completely aware of what is causing other people distress and simply can't do anything about it. I never thought his actual condition could be causing as much deep internal pain for him as it does for all of those who love him.

In many ways this book is painful and heartbreaking, but it is also full of threads of hope. If the people surrounding those with Asperger's are better able to understand them, there has to be a chance that some of the internal pain can be slightly relieved. (For everyone involved!!!
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Massoud on January 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a brother with Asperger's and I'm so thankful I happened upon this book. It has shed light on so many of the traits that sometimes exasperate the entire family.

This was very reminiscent of the film THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY about a stroke victim who was somehow able to transcend his condition and actually describe what was going on inside his head. Like this movie, the book FINDING KANSAS is wrenching in it's ability to throw back the curtain on medical diagnosis and assumptions and care-takers frustration with those with brain abnormalities, no matter what they may be, and eloquently illustrate that behind all these surface things, there is ultimately a person who is deeply suffering.

The author has uniquely described what he goes through on a daily basis, just trying to get through the day. What fascinated me most is the agony this writer goes through KNOWING he is not quite normal, but being utterly POWERLESS to do anything about it. It has always been easy for me to assume that my brother was just being difficult and stubborn. I never imagined that perhaps he doesn't WANT to be that way, that perhaps he is completely aware of what is causing other people distress and simply can't do anything about it. I never thought his actual condition could be causing as much deep internal pain for him as it does for all of those who love him.

In many ways this book is painful and heartbreaking, but it is also full of threads of hope. If the people surrounding those with Asperger's are better able to understand them, there has to be a chance that some of the internal pain can be slightly relieved. (For everyone involved!!!
Read more ›
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