April 2014 – Karen puts a daily post on Facebook during April about raising her son with Asperger's Syndrome. Her circle of friends vehemently coax her to turn the posts into a book.
May 2014 – Karen spends countless hours writing and re-writing the story in to book form. The process would go on for months as she tweaked and edited and added memories.
September 2014 – Karen sends the manuscript to her Mother-in-law, Pat MacNeill. Pat reads the story and the next day she writes a check to help defray costs of self-publishing. The check sits in a cabinet for months as the decision is made to publish, and how.
December 2014 - After a lot of research, the decision is made to self-publish using AuthorHouse.
March 2015 - The book, Pieces That Fit, is published.
April 2015 - Karen gets multiple media coverage items. She becomes relevant in the Journal Tribune (Biddeford, ME newspaper) and the Derek Volk Radio Show (Portland, ME). Link to the audio as follows:
Find out what drives me to do what I do
Planned author events and Autism Awareness events.
Links to Autism Spectrum Disorder Organizations
"As a mother, Karen MacNeill brings light to her personal worries, struggles, but most importantly, her triumphs as a mother. After reading her story, my eyes are wide with awareness as to how important my job is to provide a safe haven for all my students AND their parents. I was able to make myself a better professional simply by reading this one mother's story."
- Brandon Gallagher, Special Education Teacher, Biddeford Primary School
"A look in to the very real life of raising a child with Autism. A mother's journey filled with challenges and triumphs that will bring you to tears. It will leave you full of hope and inspiration."
- Heather Barrow, Parent
Chandler recently texted his dad.
It was an early Saturday morning. Jim was shaving in our bathroom. I had awoken easily and slipped into the bathroom to say good morning to my beloved.
“Here,” he said, handing me his cell phone which was sitting on the counter. Puzzled, I looked at what he wanted me to read. It was a text from Chandler, written the night before. “Dad,” it began, “I want you to know how much I love you. I know I grew up loving mom, but then you became one of the most important people in my life....” In that moment, reading what Chandler said to Jim, what he felt about Jim, I knew I was accomplished as a mother and a wife. My autistic son was beginning to be able to feel, to communicate, to broaden his scope of love. My husband was beginning to feel that scope, understand Chandler and connect.
My mission and vision are synonymous. I want families who are afflicted with autism to feel love and connection. I want them to go through the journey not with embarrassment or unhappiness or grief or anger, rather I want them to embrace it and feel it and deal with it with courage and hope.
As a wife, mother, teacher and advocate I am here to help, to listen, to cheer you on.