NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Local author and artist Cindy Gelormini was featured on NBC's Today show on Friday, April 2 to discuss her children's book trilogy released in time to kick off Autism Awareness Month. One in 54 children in the US is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, said Hoda Kotb, Co-host of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna.
Gelormini, a mother of four, lost her son Robbie in 2017, who had severe autism and suffered from seizures.
When Robbie passed away from a seizure in his sleep, he was 27 years old. Gelormini wanted to continue to spread autism awareness through telling Robbie's story. The idea of writing a children's book was introduced to Gelormini through a friend. "I was in a writing workshop and a friend had said to me, 'You should write a children's book about a little penguin with autism about your son' and I said, 'Oh, that's really nice'," said Gelormini.
"I've met a lot of parents that compare their autistic kids to typical kids and the key I've learned is to accept who your kid is and loving just the way he is. That was the answer for me, just love Robbie -- and I did," she said.
The trilogy of children's books is called "Robbie's world, and his spectrum of adventures." Each book starts with "Robbie is a penguin who loves riding in the car, his mama always says, 'I love you just the way you are'."
She hopes that her children’s books featuring adorable penguins bring healing and hope to families with children who were recently diagnosed with autism. “Parents are going to learn a lot about autism, and they are going to learn about it in a funny way,” explained Gelormini. At the end of each chapter she offers "Mom's Minute" where she tells the real life story of what the chapter was based on and educates parents about autistic behaviors like "stimming" and "eloping." Gelormini also hopes to broaden awareness of these behaviors so that the peers of autistic children will become more accepting and understanding. “I have already heard from teachers that cannot wait to read the story to their students, it will teach all the other students about autism and how to understand their fellow students who may be on the spectrum,” said Gelormini.
The following book signing events are scheduled in the area: Linda's Creative Gifts in New Providence on Saturday, April 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Paolo’s Kitchen on Saturday, April 17 from 3 to 6 p.m.; and Tons of Toys in Madison on Saturday, April 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"Robbie's world, and his spectrum of adventures" can be ordered through Amazon.
To view Gelormini's full Today show interview, click here.