When her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, Irma Velasquez was devastated. It was the pre- internet era of the early 1990s, and both information and experts were hard to find. Desperate for answers, she sought out therapists and educational programs designed to teach Aaron how to become successful in school and in life. But those early years ended up teaching Irma more than they taught Aaron. Irma realized her desire to “fix” her son had been a masquerade to fulfill her own needs, and she began to love him just as he was: perfect. In her new book, Fish Dreams, Irma writes poignantly about how she channeled her fear and frustration into love and acceptance. Told through detailed memories and raw inner truths, she recounts how her personal growth led her to a very special bond with her son; one that taught her a new way of looking at the world, and at herself.
About the Author
Irma Velasquez was born and raised in El Salvador and immigrated to the San Francisco Bay area in the early 60’s. Her son’s unexpected diagnosis of autism moved her to address a gap in the education system and social services for underserved youth. She launched a school for children with autism and designed creative programs for young adults of different abilities. Her memoir is inspired by her love for her son, her dedication to her community, and her passion for art. Irma is a social entrepreneur and an artist and advocate, inspiring social change through the power of self-expression, social engagement, and inner awareness.
A Fish Out of Water
As an immigrant from El Salvador, Irma often felt like a fish out of water within American society. She soon realized that her son’s experience was, in many ways, similar to hers: born into an over stimulating environment and being forced to swim.
Raising any child is a challenge. Raising a child with autism — a syndrome that is both complex and varied across individuals — is simply a challenge of a different kind.
Over time, Irma discovered that she could step into Aaron’s world and let him lead, and through that shift, he began to open up and share his inner world with her. She became his safe space, and as he became more comfortable in his own skin, he became her window to a more spiritual way of living in harmony with herself.
Written By: Irma Velasquez
Publisher: Deep Living Lab
Published: Late Summer 2022
ISBN: 979-8-9860193-0-7 paperback
ISBN: 979-8-9860193-1-4 ebook
Contact: Jean Blomo
Email: jean (at) deeplivinglab.org