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From Georgia to “Florida,” Lyon’s Book Educates

NICOLE TANG

STAFF WRITER

   A Pinewood student has found an incredible way to educate others about her experience with autism. Senior Georgia Lyon, who is autistic, wrote, illustrated, and published her book, “How to be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl,” a couple years ago. Since then, she’s received raving reviews and support for her wonderful story.

   Around her freshman year, the sister of Lyon’s autism therapist approached Lyon with the idea of publishing a book about autism. The process mainly included putting together her illustrations and paragraphs to create a successful book, along with signing legal paperwork. “How to be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl” was published at the beginning of Lyon’s junior year.

   Lyon began writing when she was about eight. She was influenced by many great authors including J.K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter series motivated Lyon to begin writing about her own life. The entire process took approximately two years; however, the work was spread out over a span of seven years, as Lyon did not actually begin to put together the pieces until she was 15. The book was not originally meant to be published but rather was created as a leisure project and for
educational purposes.

   “I guess what inspired me was that I wanted to help others, and I figured my life experiences could do that,” Lyon said.

   Lyon wasn’t sure how people, especially at Pinewood, would respond to the book. She mentioned that sometimes people can be extremely rude, and sometimes they can be extremely nice. Lyon, only a sophomore at the time the book was written, was afraid of people thinking of her expression of her autism as ‘weird’, which is why she decided to write under the pen name “Florida Frenz.” She explained that she wouldn’t have been able to handle the social pressure on top of the fact that she was taking several hard classes at the time, and the book would have only taken away focus from her schoolwork.

   “I walked away from her book with a profound understanding of what it’s like to be trapped in a world that feels foreign to you. Georgia’s book accomplishes the goal of all great reads; it increases the reader’s empathy for someone or something she might not have experienced firsthand,” English teacher Sabrina Strand said.

   Especially with such an intimate and emotional book, Lyon was grateful to have her family alongside to support her. Lyon’s parents encouraged her to pursue her writing dreams by hiring a professional to mentor Georgia with her illustrations, pay for therapy to help her process feelings, and allowing her to attend Pinewood, which provides rigorous writing courses, to improve Lyon’s writing skills. Lyon dedicated the book to her parents for their complete support of her throughout the
publishing process.

   “If I could tell my readers anything, it’s that it’s good to be weird, and we can all learn from each other. Have compassion for people even if you don’t understand where they’re coming from,” Lyon said.

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