J.R. got overwhelmed with the sensory overload and life in Southern California, so after considering several locations he somehow felt called to the Ozarks to begin writing about autism and working as an autism advocate.
It ended up being the right decision as J.R. and his work have been well received and Not Weird Just Autistic is a respected name in the community.
I'm a late-diagnosed autism and neurodiversity self-advocate with Asperger's, now known as ASD. I was out of high school for a decade before autism began being diagnosed in children, and, as I like to say, I, "Grew Up Without a Spectrum To Be On."
After spending two + years in the Navy as a Corpsman, I received a medical discharge. Years later my psychiatrist looked over my medical records and said everything in there was textbook Asperger's.
Like the majority of us on the spectrum, I bounced around from job to job, then finally decided to strike out on my own and began a 20 year career as a successful freelance writer, having been published in more than 30 national and local magazines, a dozen daily newspapers and scores of websites. After my diagnosis I chose to put all that behind me and began focusing my writing on autism, mental health, neurodiversity, and advocacy.
Diagnosed in 2011, I also left behind an award winning single parent blog and in 2012 created the first version of Not Weird Just Autistic. In 2017 I moved from Long Beach, CA to the peace of the Missouri Ozarks, mainly to escape the sensory overload that is Los Angeles & Orange County.
It was in my log cabin in the Ozarks that I began to self-advocate full time for others on the spectrum and with developmental disabilities. After participating in the 2019 Missouri Partners In Policymaking program, my opportunities took off. I began to get more writing opportunities, started a podcast, and began speaking to groups from 25-3,900.
A show on the Autism Broadcast channel is slated for August 2021 and Mental Health Happy Hour recently premiered on the Mental Health Warriors YouTube channel
It's been a wild ride, but something tells me the best is yet to come!
What People Are Saying
"JR gave a 15-minute presentation tonight at Slam the Hammer Mastermind that was nothing short of brilliant! What we experienced tonight is TedX worthy"
Loren Michaels Harris
"Moderating the panel (and also sharing their personal insights) are two more pre-eminent autism self-advocates: Lyric Holmans and J.R. Reed."
Hackie Reitman, M.D. Founder, Different Brains
A participant in a webinar
ABOUT TYE THE AUTISM SERVICE DOG
IT ALL BEGAN IN A GARBAGE BAG IN A DUMPSTER
Tye is a black and white black lab/boxer mix who was found at six-months-old in a bag inside a dumpster. He was taken to Dogs Nation, an organization that takes rescue dogs, trains them, and provides service dogs for those of us on the spectrum and military vets suffering from PTSD.
Tye was trained specifically for my individual needs and helps me with the things I deal with on a daily basis, such as social anxiety. Tye can sense my heartbeat and blood pressure from 75-100 feet away and will come to me when he senses either being elevated.
After he was trained, Tye was given as a gift. All service dogs from Dogs Nation are gifts to their owners. They work on donations and never charge for a dog.
Missouri State Capitol
Autism Parenting Magazine Summit
Southwest Autism Network
Christian County Links
Slam the Hammer
Companies both large and small
A lot of my life has been negative, and trauma, but you know what? I wouldn't change a thing, because it molded me into the person I am today.
Because of the exposure to the negative, my self-esteem has circled the toilet during a large part of my life. I've worked hard to replace the negative with positive and my self esteem has gone back up.
I spent 20 years as a freelance writer, writing for national magazines and large daily newspapers, but I gave all that up after my diagnosis.
A new chapter in my life was unfolding and I turned to writing about autism, neurodiversity, and mental health. A few years later I started speaking and am now a sought out speaker and guest on many different shows.
For years I coached youth hockey and also played. The last six years I coached was in the Anaheim Ducks Youth Development Department where I coached kids from 9-years-old through high school varsity at both the recreational and travel levels.
Many of my players were on the spectrum or had other developmental disabilities. I absolutely loved working with the kids other coaches didn't want.
My high school junior varsity team won an Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League championship, beating 38 other schools for the honor.
In 2017 I moved from Long Beach, CA, smack in the middle of L.A. and The OC. I did it mainly to escape the sensory overload that I faced on a daily basis.
I moved to a town of 4,000 in the Missouri Ozarks and things have been awesome since then.
I've gotten more opportunities to advocate and speak. 2021 marks 11 years since my diagnosis, and I feel like I'm now starting a new chapter in my life again.
I can't wait to see what the journey brings me.
J.R. & TYE
Tye travels with me as I make appearances, and is known throughout the Missouri autism community for his manners (while wearing a service vest) and his quirky personality. Because of how he acts at home, I believe Tye might be the only autistic autism service dog in existence, though I have no data to back that claim up.