“My book may need only ‘light’ editing,” the author over-optimistically assured me. As it turned out, editing Real People, Regular Lives was a real challenge. And an exhilarating journey.

Decades before earning a Ph.D. in Special Education, Dr. Young determined to give voice to non-verbal individuals with autism. Now, she was pouring her heart, soul and life’s work into a book she hoped would compel readers to look behind the veil of disability.

Far more than minor edits were needed to transform what began as a research thesis into a cohesive, powerful argument for the quality-of-life benefits of facilitated communication. Dr. Young had created a viable structure and meaningful content. Her passion for the subject and her subjects was apparent, and infectious. But this skilled kayaker’s deep entrenchment in the topic put her at risk of floundering in a rolling sea of details and detours.

Before excising a single word, I needed to gain Dr. Young’s trust and confidence. We facilitated a bond through open, direct, mutually respectful communication.

The creation of Dr. Young’s excellent book became a transformative experience for her, for me and, we hope, for the world.