Each of us face our own sets of challenges that impact our day to day lives. The sometimes invisible boundaries that make certain tasks more difficult aren’t always experienced by our friends, family, or peers. Although we all must find ways to work through our own challenges, we also must not forget to have empathy for those struggling in unique ways. This is just one of many morals Robert Kneitinger hopes to express in his children’s books.
Robert received an Aspergers diagnosis years ago. According to his online biography, he loves creating art, being an active member in his community, and cuddling his cat. Though Robert has found a way to balance his diagnosis and his interests, it hasn’t always been easy for him.
“I was labeled as being different,” Robert recalled of his school years. “They made my life so hard.” He experienced first-hand how difficult it can be to face life with this diagnosis, and how much harder it becomes when dealing with unempathetic and uneducated people. That’s when Robert decided to combine his love of art and creation with his desire to spread awareness about the neurodiverse community.
Robert connected with People Inc. and his mentor Don Jackson, who encouraged him to start drawing. This quickly lead Robert to the world of children’s literature and he has already published four of his own books! “In 2020 I started writing and illustrating my own children’s books,” Robert’s bio explains. “I do this so that parents and teachers can read my books to children and help them understand about the life of people with disabilities. My mission is to get awareness of people with disabilities out so that people don’t shy away from people with disabilities.”
Not only does Robert wish to reach a neurotypical audience so as to help educate them on the lives of people with disabilities, but he also hopes to exemplify how someone with his diagnosis can still lead a “normal life.” He wrote, “I have a job, my own living space, use public transportation, enjoy seeing live music and going to art museums… I want to spread awareness about people with developmental disabilities so that the world understands that we can also live normal lives. We can live by ourselves and we can be active in our communities.”
Robert created his website, “Robert Cares,” as a way to further spread awareness about the neurodiverse community through his art and upcoming books. He also recently spoke to students at West Seneca High School to give them advice about living independently and happily in the adult world. “I told them if you find something you are passionate about in your future, just go for it.”
The children’s author donates part of the proceeds he earns from his books and art to “help children and adults with developmental disabilities.” As part of his mission to increase awareness and spread empathy, Robert hopes to continue to pay it forward as much as he can. Though he struggled through many difficult years leading up to this point, he hasn’t been happier since he discovered his love for art and writing. “Everyday just gets better and better.”
You can find Robert’s children’s series, The Adventures of Bixie & Myron, on Amazon!Whizzco