Autism: Hot Pink and Zebra-Striped

by Simone Brenneman



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 22/02/2013

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 196
ISBN : 9781481716147
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 196
ISBN : 9781481716123

About the Book

Please note: this book was originally published as Effervescence: A True-Life Tale of Autism and of Courage

Please visit Simone’s website to view more information, as well as TV and radio appearances: or

An excerpt from Autism: Hot Pink and Zebra-Striped:

      Imagine a beautiful little girl, with long curly, wild red hair, spinning in circles, completely delighted by all that she feels!  She wears a long, blue dress, a replica of the one Cinderella wore to the ball.  As you watch her, you get the sense that she isn’t dreaming of Cinderella; in her heart and in her body, she is Cinderella.

     Now picture the same little girl, lying on her tummy, spinning on a merry-go-round, dipping her beautiful, long red hair in the puddle of mud that encircles the merry-go-round.  When it comes to a stop, she savors the wonderful sensation of the cold mud running down her face.  She then submerges her entire body in the puddle, as happy as can be and entirely oblivious to the stares of the people around her.

     Now picture that same little girl, in her comfortable home, surrounded by a family who love and adore her.  Her mom asks a simple question, like: “Sweetie, what kind of cereal would you like?”  Instantly, her beautiful face is filled with intense emotion and she screams, more like a wild animal than a child, for five minutes, or it may continue for two hours.  The only thing that might interrupt the screaming is her stopping, occasionally, to frantically bite her wrist, hard enough to leave teeth marks.

     Would it surprise you to learn that I have just described a high-functioning autistic child?

     Now take a peek at the same child at age twelve, entering her classroom each day.  Her teacher marvels to herself, as she watches this young girl navigate skillfully, smoothly and seemingly naturally throughout the classroom.  Had the teacher not known her student’s history of autism, she likely would never have guessed.  In her own words, the only time this teacher is aware of the child’s autism, is when she reads the amazing stories and illustrations created by this extraordinary girl.  She would then muse to herself: “There is no way a “typical” grade-seven student could write and draw like this!”

     Do you get the feeling that an amazing transformation has taken place?  Is the child no longer autistic?  Has she grown out of it?  Has she learned through behavior management to “manage” it?  Was she just “a little bit autistic” and now she’s “better?”  There is no simple answer; autism is far too complex and diverse a disorder for it to be addressed so simply.  But it is a fascinating disorder and this child’s life has been an incredible journey!  Her name is Genevieve.

About the Author

Simone Brenneman is a mother of two autistic children, and two typical children. She works as a behavior interventionist, a dance and yoga teacher and a writer. She has delved deeply into the world of autism through the minds and bodies of her children, as described in both and Autsim: Hot Pink and Zebra-Striped and The Castle We Called Home. The pervasive challenges of both of her unique children enticed and demanded that she live very much submerged in their unique worlds, to help them to emerge. In her words: "Back then, when Hayden and Genevieve were so small and so overwhelmed by the world, I took their lead and I trained myself. It was out of desperation, so I was highly motivated. But it was also out of fascination. In some ways, getting in and living in their world was the easy part. The tough part was getting out and reprogramming myself.” Simone became her children's "stepping stone" as well as their therapist and program designer. All levels of her work and experiences are absolute joys, equal to the joy of speaking and presenting through the media and her writing, about autism and the endless ways of embracing it. She has appeared on numerous television and radio programs across Canada, and into the United States, speaking about her experiences and perspectives pertaining to autism. The challenges of being relentlessly driven, creative and insightful in forging out successful paths for her children, is met with her desire to focus on the impact of these unique children on their families. Both of her books explore lovingly and realistically the far-reaching effects on siblings and parents. She speaks candidly about the intense joys and equally, about the intense difficulties and complexities. Simone writes with passion, and yet as though she is sitting across from the reader, conversing over a cup of coffee. Her writing and insight have been recognized and acknowledged by the highly-esteemed animal scientist, author and autism advocate, Dr. Temple Grandin. Simone lives a fascinating life in British Columbia, Canada, where she daily integrates her bountiful experiences, observations and musings about the world of autism, with her other passions of working with, and affecting children and adults, through dance, yoga and writing. Her Bachelor of Arts degree in English provides the backbone for past, present and future writing endeavors. However, the heart of her writing comes from the incredible life experiences she has been blessed to have! Please visit: /