MONROE, N.C. — A 12-year-old boy from North Carolina is raising awareness about autism through a book.
David Leake wrote a children’s book called "The Awesome Adventures of AWE-TISM (Autism): With DJ and Vance" with his mother, Tempest Leake.
In it, David Leake shares his experience of having a brother with autism.
“It shows Vance has his own little superpower with his autism of it being awesome,” David Leake said.
Vance Leake has autism, a developmental disability that causes him to communicate, learn and interact differently.
For the 8-year-old, that means having limited verbal ability and not always responding to questions.
“Being patient is one of my specialties, especially with my little brother,” David Leake said.
In the book, David Leake describes some of the challenges of growing up with Vance Leake.
“I used to feel sad when my brother did not want to play with me, but my mom says, ‘Give him some time and keep trying and he will come around,'” David Leake said.
Tempest Leake said they started making strides once they shared more about autism with David.
“David began to understand he needed to interact with his brother differently, and he began to be more accepting of his differences, and that kind of allowed them to open up to one another,” she said.
Their relationship has also gotten better with age. Now they play together often, building structures with cardboard bricks or drawing and coloring together.
David Leake and his mother hope their story and this book inspire acceptance starting at a young age.
“Disabilities come in so many different forms and they surface in so many different ways that we have to make sure we adjust and allow them to be themselves,” Tempest Leake said.
The book includes information about autism and resources available for children.
It took the Leakes a year to work on the book before publishing it in March.