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, the brain, 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.
In late-May, 2021 the Examining Neurodiversity podcast, with my co-host, the amazing self-advocate Lyric Holmans, A.K.A. the Neurodivergent Rebel will launch on Different Brains. Stay tuned for updates!
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
You were definitely an angel put here on earth to mentor and guide others that are trying to find ways to navigate this crazy world!! You made such an impact on Nicolas’ life that I believe that’s the reason he’s made such improvements and continues too, because you believed & supported him!! "
Jenn (parent of an autistic hockey player)
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 J.R.'s individual needs and helps him with the things he deals with on a daily basis, such as social anxiety. Tye can sense J.R.'s heartbeat and blood pressure from 75-100 feet away and will come to him when he senses either being elevated.
After he was trained, Tye was given to J.R. as a gift. All service dogs from Dogs Nation are gifts to their owners. They work on donations and never charge for a dog.
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.
Missouri State Capitol
Southwest Autism Network
Christian County Links
Slam the Hammer
Companies both large and small
In fifth grade I moved to Christian school and it all went downhill from there, I was constantly being called, "Weird, stupid," and, "lazy," by teachers, in front of my classmates. I also repeatedly heard that I would never live up to my potential or that I couldn't reach my potential. That last part still happens today, though not as much.
My self-esteem circling the toilet, it was off to the Navy as a Corpsman (medic). Less than two years later I received a medical discharge. Years later I got my hands on my military medical records, and surprisingly, every reason they gave for the discharge described Asperger's perfectly.
Next it was off to the workforce, where I eventually ended up as a Sales Manager at a successful auto dealership. There my boss referred to me as Forrest Gump on a daily basis, both to my face and in front of my employees.
It was then that I turned to writing full time. After receiving my diagnosis, I made the shift from writing full time and coaching youth hockey part time to coaching full time and writing/advocating part-time.
I landed in the Anaheim Ducks Youth Development Department where for six years 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.
I made a name for myself as a coach who took weaker players and developed their skills to prepare them for higher levels of hockey. My underdog teams won league championship after league championship and various tournaments above their skill level.
My high school junior varsity team won an Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League championship, beating 38 other schools for the honor.