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Poets raise autism awareness through anthology

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Five award winning poets came to the Broome County Library Saturday to perform work from Alongside We Travel, the first ever international literary anthology on autism. The anthology is a compilation of poems written by parents and caregivers of children living with autism.

“We put together this anthology because a lot of us are poets who kind of write out of the struggles we face,” said author and organizer of the reading Emily Vogel.

Vogel says that raising a child with autism represents it’s own unique set of challenges.

“It’s just not the same when you can’t communicate with your child and you can’t have a conversation,” Vogel said.

The book looks to raise awareness of those challenges through poetry written by parents and caregivers who experience them firsthand. Not only giving parents the opportunity to raise awareness, but also work through their own struggles.

“Some people say no, poetry is not therapy but poetry is a way of purging yourself of the things that are irking you or bothering you,” said Vogel.

Vogel says sometimes those struggles include feelings of guilt or self blame.

“You feel like it’s your fault– that’s another thing some parents feel like what did I do to make my child like this,” said Vogel.

She also says it’s important to write about the ups and downs that all parents go through when raising a young child.

“I’m talking to my husband about something I want to talk to him about and there goes my daughter into the kitchen going ‘chips chips bread soda’ but that’s something that I would assume is a typical developing thing to do,” Vogel said.

Proceeds from the book will go to Sharing the Weight, a non-profit that creates hand sewn weighted blankets for children living with autism.

Jack Arpey

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