Fifteen-year-old Haley Moss is a talented artist whose artwork is on display in several galleries. She recently got a book published called Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You
filled with tons of advice on navigating through the often-tough world of middle school.
What’s even more impressive? Haley accomplished all of her feats with high-functioning autism. Keep reading to hear about her book (which we wish we had in middle school!) and her plans to raise awareness about autism.
GL: So tell us a bit about your book?
Haley: Okay, my book is to help middle schoolers through all sorts of situations. It talks about friendships, academics and what to do in certain situations that are hard for most people, especially those with autism. I talked about parties, lunch, who to sit with, bullying, boyfriends, social networking--things that apply to teenagers and pre-teens.
How do you hope your book will help people?
I hope it will make it easier for other girls because, for me, middle school was really hard. I had a lot of different social problems. I wasn’t sure what to do and I was like a pioneer.
When did you realize you want to actually raise awareness about autism?
I was asked to speak at the Autism Society of America Conference when I was thirteen. I was on a panel with three boys. I was the youngest one and I was the only girl. All the parents had questions for me. They asked, “How did you handle middle school?” “How did you find out you had autism?” I realized that a lot of people wanted to hear from me.
You’ve written a book and created lots of art. Have you ever thought about combing the two and illustrating your own book?
Not only am I thinking about it, I’m working on it! It’s a children’s book about autism to help them understand and to illustrate some of the characteristics better. It’s about people preferring to be alone, things we went through, and being sensitive to sounds, and I illustrated these so it would make more sense to kids. [It shows that] other kids are okay even though they’re different.
Do you know what you’d like to be when you grow up yet?
I’ve thought about it, but honestly I don’t 100 percent know. I either want to be a psychiatrist and help parents and kids with autism or I want to keep writing or keep drawing or doing all three. I have no idea.
What do you like most about making art?
It’s relaxing, it doesn’t create pressure, and it’s an escape from school and everything else. You get to be in your own little world for a bit of time.
Check out Haley’s website to find out more about her and to view more of her artwork: haleymossart.com.