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Author Paige Snider speaks about autism awareness

Author Paige Snider, center, surrounded by the students

Author Paige Snider, center, surrounded by the students from Kim Cawley's fifth-grade class, East Lake Elementary School, Massapequa. (Feb. 28, 2014) Credit: Mark Snider

Our class, Kim Cawley's sixth-grade class at East Lake Elementary School in Massapequa Park, had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing author Paige Snider, who wrote the book "My Special Family" (Bish Bash Books). April is Autism Awareness Month. Snider, 19, is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, and she visited our class when she was home for her winter break.

This book is about Paige's two autistic brothers, Corey and Trevor. Paige wrote her book as a fifth-grade school project, when she attended Birch Lane Elementary School, for the Massapequa Magnet program called Expert Night.

At Expert Night, Paige had to choose a topic that she would like to learn more about or become an expert on.

Paige's book is about her and her brothers and some things that they like to do, including solving jigsaw puzzles, watching sports and taking family vacations to Disney World. Paige's book is a spectacular book for everyone to read. Classmates got to ask her some questions, too.

Tell us about your brothers.

My brother's names are Corey and Trevor, and they're 24 and 23. When I wrote the book, they were 13 and 14. They went to a special school called Rosemary Kennedy Center, and now they go to sort of their version of college, which they get to go to and hang out with their friends; and they get to pick classes they want to take, and it's like theater and art and music. It sounds super fun -- more fun than regular school; I went to Birch Lane Elementary.

Why were you inspired to write about autism?

Since my brothers have autism, it was something very close to me. It was something I thought I should know more about, since I was living with them. I felt it was something that if I knew more about, it would be beneficial.

What was it like growing up with autism in your family?

I don't have any other siblings that aren't autistic, so it just seemed very normal to me that like nothing seemed very super different about them. One of my brothers, Trevor, he gets frustrated very easily and he'll get angry, so that was kind of something that you had to learn to deal with -- and how to talk to him so that he calms down. But I think it's very similar to any sibling relationship where you love them and you also want to beat them up. They're a pain, but it never really seemed different to me.

How do you your friends treat you and your brothers?

All my friends were super understanding. One of my brothers, Corey, he loves sports, so he'll literally talk about sports with anyone who comes in the house. Who's your favorite team? Do you like the Mets? And I wouldn't be friends with people who wouldn't treat them nicely and be kind.

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