Published by Naturally Autistic ® Press
Review on Amazon: By Palmer August 26, 2014 - This review is from: Anthony's Story: An Autistic Mother & Her Autistic Son (Paperback) "It's obvious Leonora is brilliant and adores and "gets" Anthony. They are lucky to have one another and we're all lucky to have them."
Review on Amazon:- By Judy Contois August 11, 2014 - "Surmounting obstacles that would defeat the lesser among us, Leonora has striven to understand and support knowledge shared by others, especially and uniquely within the autistic spectrum, and her drive toward the betterment of understanding and the attainment and provision of resources for the autistic community at large is unmatched. I have never met another individual who can get the job done as Leonora can---hence my use of the word ‘unique’ so often in this review---and I know without any doubt that there is not a better Mom on all the Earth than Leonora, for her Anthony."
This book is the first in a series of books setting the stage for the ANCA® story, the history, philosophy and approach behind Naturally Autistic® ANCA®, ANCA® Consulting Inc. and ANCA® Foundation. It is more about the substance of commitment to life, humanity, diversity and the possibility for the potential of opportunities to be created for all people – autistic or not.
The woven threads of an autistic woman’s journey, as daughter, sister, mother, wife, colleague, choreographer, business woman, writer and teacher, questions her to examine the experiences that reside within her life and that of her son. As an autistic mother (a woman, a human being, who happens to be autistic), these experiences ripple outwards to community in support of herself and her son and within such, expanding toward a larger community, one greater than oneself.
The recounting of an inspiring journey as a child, single mother, business woman and wife contributes and validates all of those lives connected to being a part of society, a part of humanity.
The reader may gain insight into their own journey and experiences, creating bridges to their present life today. It is the desire of the author to enable individuals to positively and proactively respond to situations they may encounter or find themselves, to find intention and hope and, above all, to “aspire.”
By Judith L. Contois on August 11, 2014
We were both ‘young Mums’ at the time; I was 43 and my daughter Jaimie was 3 and Leo was a single parent who would then have been about 32.
We owned condominiums adjacent to each other on a lovely street located near the Seawall in Vancouver, BC, Canada.From my perspective as a personal friend, I began Leo’s book with a natural curiosity about events that had taken place since our last meeting in the 1990s, as well as those that had led up to our first meeting.
As Leo had yet to be diagnosed as autistic herself when we were first acquainted, I found her story’s outline of the discovery in adulthood that she had Asperger’s Syndrome to be quite compelling.
Though some personal questions may remain, I feel highly enlightened after reading this book concerning the differences AND the similarities between that of one autistic person and that of the world at large conveyed in Leonora’s writings about the way one perceives one’s surroundings, how those perceptions influence, are manifested and incorporated into one’s being/persona/self and, above all, how each insight gained, good or bad, can be shared to achieve the greatest benefit over all, not just to achieve success on a personal, individual level, but to benefit family, friends, associates, professionals, clients and, in this case, the autistic community at large.
This, Leo has done—over and over again—yet with the utmost humility and enthusiasm for any new knowledge gained from others, praise for others where praise is due and an undaunted belief that more can be gleaned within the autistic community from those ‘deep in the fight’ that can only contribute to the betterment of all.In her book, Leo describes the situation leading up to Anthony’s birth, her frustrations at not being listened to by medical personnel, the ensuing lifelong complications that resulted to Anthony’s health and the bureaucracy surrounding even her fight to obtain her son’s own personal medical records! Unbelievable! (Though it reminded me how stunned I was to learn of the amount of paperwork required for me to simply find out my daughter’s blood type when I inquired at her birth hospital, years later. Ridiculous!)
It becomes so obvious in Leonora’s telling of the tale how a mother’s rights can be and are tread upon and given secondary concern when the medical community feels threatened by exposure of malpractice and wrongdoing or feels it ‘knows better’ than she.I reveled in reading of Leonora’s self-discovery, both in adulthood and in her early life where she and her family lived in countries all over the globe experiencing their different cultures and uniqueness.I marveled at her weaving of her own perceptions into a unique understanding of her son Anthony’s perceptions, behaviours and ways of communicating. Her eagerness to see all things through her son’s eyes and encourage and praise and nurture his natural abilities rather than disdain his lack of ability to function in what might be deemed ‘normal fashion’ in some respects is immensely and eternally inspiring to me; what a magnificent people we could be if we were so selfless that we would take the time and effort to see this wonderful world through eyes other than our own, even now and then!Surmounting obstacles that would defeat the lesser among us, Leonora has striven to understand and support knowledge shared by others, especially and uniquely within the autistic spectrum, and her drive toward the betterment of understanding and the attainment and provision of resources for the autistic community at large is unmatched.
I have never met another individual who can get the job done as Leonora can—hence my use of the word ‘unique’ so often in this review—and I know without any doubt that there is not a better Mom on all the Earth than Leonora, for her Anthony.
Now a married woman in her mid-fifties, Leonora hosts a daily online radio show, runs a consulting firm supporting the ‘naturally autistic’ community with her husband Charlie where they also produce a periodical free magazine and she is in the midst of organizing an annual international autistic awards event which she and Charlie conceived of and created 5 years ago, all the while administering to the daily needs of her husband and her mother as well as those of her beloved Anthony who is now approaching the age of 30; she continues the ongoing fight for his rights and the rights of those similarly affected and marginalized.
Do not miss this glimpse into the life of this indomitable spirit!!
My Book Review: “Anthony’s Story” 2/1/2011
My Book Review: “Anthony’s Story” — An Autistic Mother and Her Autistic Son, by Leonora Gregory-Collura
“A unique and identifiable journey into the culture, discovery and dedication of a mother and son–who both, happen to be autistic. Leonora builds the branches of her son’s future by remaining fastened to her roots whilst providing the nutrients to the soil beneath. As she so fluently interweaves her experiences with that of her son Anthony–there is a certain stillness that remains a constant beacon of light upon the inner depths of the human soul. Mirrored from within the very consciousness of our being is that distinguishable voice that so many have yet to encounter. I particularly enjoyed how Leonora incorporates the physical photographs with her imagery; giving chronological events more clarity & meaning. As another human who happens to have autism–I have to mention the fact that this is the only book that I have ever read, from cover-to-cover, without exploring the contents for further clarification. By further clarification, I mean–looking for something that tells me–this book is one that I will not desire to place upon a shelf to collect dust. I also have the tendency to look ahead to the photographs that so often give more clarification of the text. In Anthony’s Story, Leonora has taken this painstaking process from the reader. She speaks from the volumes within her heart & soul & transcribes them in a way that connects our physical being with the spiritual. Leonora summarizes her attitude, beliefs & customs that she so eloquently sets to intricate patterns of flowing expressions. In the midst of medical fallacies–this is one mother who stood her ground, while she & her son faced the opposition & proved the opposite to be true. While giving evidence of her natural supports, Leonora explores the opportunities that were not merely coincidental. She travels the earth & brings to life her passion from within. Both mother and son share a natural bond that is so apparent throughout the pages of this book. The social cohesiveness, purposeful relationships and cultural exchanges–all interwoven in volume, endurance and historical context. I highly recommend this book to families, caregivers, teachers, students, professionals and Paraprofessionals.” — Scott A. Jackson
PARTS OF A WHOLE
Reviewed By: Tim Pylypiuk
January 24th, 2010
“When one is left to their own devices, it seems precarious to expect to endure hardships and challenges. The deciding factor is the knowledge accumulated, passed down from people who care and on into their future generation. This bridge is vital to remaining in balance when reality’s hand pushes back. Community also makes the difference, no discounting that.
What we have here in this true story from Leonora-Gregory Collura, an autistic adult and parent of Anthony Gregory, the subject of her work, is an example of individuals with a strong bond towards each other navigating their way along their roads of development using what they were born with while interpreting and translating the messages they absorb from communicating with systems and people. We are reminded that they are naturally autistic as a forewarning, giving the story an additional layer of uniqueness. However, the naturally autistic system alone, along with awareness of its potential, doesn’t guarantee success.
Leonora wouldn’t learn about the autistic system until her own diagnosis. The supportive environment she was raised in as a child, thanks to open-minded and loving parents, integrated the system early on enough so she could eventually realize that being autistic only meant she had a different way of absorbing and processing information. As a result of this, Leonora makes an effort to instill the values she was given into her son. His own birthing circumstances the catalyst pushing this goal forward, right from the minute the medical profession dismisses his chances of a healthy life.
And what a journey they both undertake, laced with reflections of her past as daughter of a world renowned geographer, ferreted to different areas of the globe and educated in its cultures. While in the present, Anthony’s story takes center stage and is entwined with a delicate touch. We are also given a sampling of the story behind “ANCA Consulting INC.” an organization conceived by Leonora, how it started out and began taking form at the same time as Anthony’s development.
This story isn’t like other biographies, autistic or not. Layers exist that are used with an honest instead of subtle or over-the-top approach and the full story of Leonora’s past awaits in future books. There is also more to Anthony, Leonora, ANCA, and others mentioned. Book 1 is only the beginning of a greater narrative, ambitious in scope. This is something Leonora has worked hard to muster up the proper words to express. You can feel the heartbeat behind the structure and how she tells it; the project that is Leonora-Gregory Collura and Anthony Gregory, how their navigation of the world brings out a variety of reactions from people of varying forms.
As quoted in the book: “No matter the systems, no matter technology, there will always, for now at least, be humans behind the wheel, navigating their own paths and forks in the road.”
Leonora and Anthony are parts of a whole, as we all are in the end. Their brain wiring, sensory reactions, and bond connect the pieces to the boundless shape that is life and human nature. For this, I salute them.” – Tim Pylypiuk, autistic adult, writer, facilitator and performance artist
“I’ve been waiting for years to hear more of Leonora’s and Anthony’s story. Leonora gracefully weaves vignettes of her past with principles from her childhood and teen years which she implemented from the time of Anthony’s birth. I especially appreciated that throughout Anthony’s life, Leonora has always focused on what her son could do, rather than what he couldn’t. This has been my life’s work with my daughter, and the world would be a different place if all parents raised their children with this attitude.” – Laurie Geschke, parent
“At ANCA® you have always stressed how important it is for children to have as many experiences as possible. After reading your manuscript you showed how important it is to have so many different experiences. Autistic or not these life experiences help us to grow as people and we are better able to process new information by bridging back to our previous experiences.” – Lori Stoughton, parent
“Ms. Gregory-Collura states many times in her book that only by exposing a person to a wide variety of stimuli (cultures, locations, and experiences) can a person gain knowledge and social adaptability. I agree that to know anything about life you have to live it.
Whilst I only have had a small amount of the worldly experience compared to Mrs. Gregory-Collura, our experiences effect our decisions. As Leo states that our experiences affect the way we think and our decisions shape our future decisions. I gained so much useful knowledge after reading this book. Leonora really lets you into her life and how she was and is feeling.
After having gone through Anthony’s birth problems, the death of her daughter, the car accident, and being sued by her students, she expertly demonstrated how to keep pushing forward through life and that during times of difficulty friends and good Samaritans can be the very thing to pull someone out of the darkness.
Her ‘BodyTrack’ system sounds very revolutionary as the dances she taught. This made me very wishful that I’d known my autism during my childhood. Anthony and Leo’s relationship is very unique and inspirational. Anthony is about the same age as me and I am glad to see another example of autism not defeating an adult.” – Erik Estabrook, autistic adult, published international poet