Marc Pulver, a 54 year-old single man has lived his entire life struggling with the knowledge that there was something about him that made him different from most people. At age five he had not yet exhibited normal communication skills. Doctors evaluating him at Johns Hopkins suggested he be institutionalized. His parents rejected the suggestion and began searching for help in other directions.
Marc attended special needs schools as a child; found learning to be difficult for him; and because of his affect, had trouble making friends. His mother was determined to see that her son had every opportunity to help him reach his full potential. She was tireless in her search for teachable moments and never wasted a chance to challenge her son to do the best he was capable of. Marc graduated from Coral Gables High School, his first experience in a public school, and commenced his life as a young adult.
His working life began in his father’s business where he learned to key-punch data cards with remarkable efficiency. He also learned to drive a car and take on the additional responsibility of making pickups and deliveries. Marc wanted desperately to go out on his own, so he enrolled in a certificate program that taught basic skills in the culinary arts. For many years he has practiced what he learned in a variety of restaurants. As he grew older, Marc began to experience episodes of irritability, depression, and general dissatisfaction with the way his life was going. He had difficulty in establishing healthy relationships with women. The feeling of being different was still very much with him, but he could not understand why.
In February of 2008, his mother decided to take him for a psychological evaluation in order to gain some insight into what was causing Marc’s unhappiness. After five days of interviews and testing Marc was diagnosed with an Autistic disorder. This was the first time in his life that he was given a reason for why he felt different, had problems relating to his peers, and could not achieve some of the goals he set for himself. He became a different person. He was very willing to accept his autism and decided that he had a mission. He would devote his life helping others who faced the same obstacles he had to overcome. Marc thought that the best way to do this was to write a book that would tell what it means to live on the Autistic Spectrum.
Robert Shostak, Ph.D., retired professor of education has authored and co-authored several books and written numerous articles for educational publications.