Aspergers & The Spirit of the Stallion

12 Dec

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logo3Today we’re taking a bit of a turn in our interview with Joyce Anthony.  I had a line up of questions I’d asked months ago and was ready to post them, but I really felt inspired to do a  little something different this time. Follow me here if you don’t mind.

Joyce is a single mom like me and has done such an amazing job of raising her son Shane on her  Her struggles have been more than that of an ordinary single parent situation. Shane has Aspergers (among other disorders), but this is the one that sticks out most for me. It’s one close to my heart. I have a step-son that also has Aspergers and I just can’t imagine the struggles Joyce must endure on a daily basis.

For those of you that may not know what Aspergers is, it is a high-functioning form of Autism. I won’t bore you with what little information I have on the topic, but I will allow Joyce to share her story a bit as well as to discuss her next book and why she chose to write it.

montanamountains1Shane is an amazing artist. Here is one example of his work.

Today’s topic is one you won’t want to miss, so pour yourself a nice warm cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and sit a while. It’s a long one today, but it’s  a good one.

Please welcome once again Joyce Anthony, author of Storm and soon to be released Spirit of the Stallion (in Shane’s honor).


Katrina:  Welcome back, Joyce. It is so great to have you here again. As I’ve said, your next book Spirit of the Stallion has just really tugged at my heart and I’d like to focus a bit on that today.  First of all, could you share an excerpt of the book with the readers so they get a bit of what we’re talking about. Then we will move further into your personal experience of Aspergers.

Joyce:  Certainly. This excerpt is the piece that brought forth the title.

He didn’t like being held.  He had been born to a life of freedom and it ran through his veins as plentiful as blood.  His thrashing and bucking did no more good than his vocalized cries to be let go.  He needed his freedom.  The ropes held him tight–too tight.  The harder he fought, the tighter they became, choking both his body and his will.  He couldn’t fight any more.  Sinking to the ground, the horse lay still, no longer noticing the ropes that pulled at him.  No longer caring.


A child with emotional differences like those with bipolar disorder or Asperger’s is very much like a wild stallion.  Trying to get this child to become like the rest of the horses in the pasture is a daunting task at best.  You have to be careful with this precious little human as the line between taming and breaking is so very thin.  Tame him, and you enable him to be the most incredible being; break him, and all he is or can be is forever destroyed.


Katrina:  That’s an amazing piece. A very vivid description of how an Asperger’s child could relate to a wild Stallion. There’s another excerpt you’ve shared with me about a day of Shane’s life when he was just seven and the events of that day. Share a piece of that here.  (I will be posting the full extent of the excerpts for Joyce for those that are interested in reading it all. It is rather long so I didn’t want to post it all here. Click here if you’d like to see the extended version).



…Shane, who was only seven, thought she was there to replace the fired TSS worker and he took all his anger out on her.  She listened calmly and did not allow him to phase her.  He went outside and slammed the door. 

It was still warm, so the garden hose was hooked up.  Before we knew what was happening, water started pouring in through the mail slot on the door.  When I went to stop Shane, he sprayed me with the hose.  I got the water turned off and by the time I had gotten back into the house, he had dumped a half full bucket of blue paint over the flooded kitchen floor.  The mobile therapist’s time was up, so she had to leave. Once again, I was left to deal with the situation alone.

I stood there ready to cry as I surveyed the blue paint spreading quickly with the water.  I told Shane, whom true to form had calmed down once everything was out of his system, that we had to clean it up.  He made the mess, so he had to help. 

By now his mood had switched to mania.  Within minutes, he was using the rags as skates and slip-sliding all over the floor, laughing like it was the most fun in the world. 

Exasperated, I nearly did cry.  Then I did the only thing that I could to keep my sanity at the moment—I joined him.  We got the kitchen cleaned and headed off for a bath and bedtime.  Another day over…

Katrina: I know with my step-son Ricky, he seems to be emotionally detached. Socially, he just doesn’t appear to mingle well with others. Do you find this to be true with Shane? It has to be tough on you both, I can imagine.

Joyce: We tried hockey and soccer and that also did not work.  While all the kids were gathered talking or listening to instructions, Shane was in the middle of the gym walking along the lines on the court, totally tuned out to the rest of the room.  He again lasted only a couple of weeks and begged me, with tears pouring down his face, not to make him go back. 

He wanted nothing to do with groups.  He was happy to be around adults.  As I watched him outside with the neighborhood kids, I noticed that it was always our yard they gathered in.  They would play.  Shane would be surrounded by kids, but would be doing his own thing.  Often he would wander away and the rest of the kids would continue playing.  He was a loner—alone in a group as well as by himself.  Even at a very young age, he seemed to realize he was not like the other kids.

Katrina: Wow…that has to be painful as a parent to watch. I’d like to hear some experiences from our readers. I know for myself, it has been very difficult for me to relate to my step-son Ricky. To be quite honest, it just doesn’t make sense to me sometimes. He is so different from my own children and it seems so difficult to connect with him or have any sort of emotional relationship with him. It does seem to be improving but I know it will take a lot more on my part. I’ll gladly take any advice any of you have to give.

I know we sort of got off subject here a bit but it just felt like something that needed to be addressed and I thank you for sharing such an intimate portion of your life. I’ll be posting the full excerpts as well as others here. You can view Joyce’s books on her site.  



Now, as promised, I want to close with a few photos of Joyce’s furry family members. Enjoy!




If you missed the first two portions of Joyce’s interview, click here and here.


Posted by on December 12, 2008 in encouragement


20 responses to “Aspergers & The Spirit of the Stallion

  1. unwriter1

    December 12, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Spirit is just the right name for this book. I’m very proud to say I know Shane and consider him family. He started out rough, I know the whole story as told to me by Joyce. There is no one quite like him. He has his moments but all in all, you won’t find a better friend, better family member, than Shane. He is homeschooled and believe me, that whole idea was turned around for me after talking with this young man. I could easily write a book about him today.

    As for the kritters, they are something else. They are in a home full of love. The biggest cat is sam although a vet would call him a dog. These fur/feather kids are in the right place. Caramel is Shane’s favorite. But if you don’t say hi to telio or tia, you hear about it. Yes, Shane is an amazing young man and his story must be told. From how he started to the way he is now is a journey only two amazing people could have embarked on and with such wonderful success.

    Thanks Kat, for sharing this beautiful story. The world needs to hear more like this.

  2. Katrina Wampler

    December 12, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you so much Ron for offering your personal insight into this remarkable family. I agree, their story must be told and I am glad I switched gears on this interview.

    I will have the links completed soon for the extended excerpts. Got the post up late last night so Joyce could go ahead and check it out.

  3. Joyce A. Anthony

    December 12, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Wow–it looks wonderful, Katrina–thank you for puting so much time and effort into this.
    God blessed me with Shane. He has thanked me more than once for sticking by him-little does he know that it was often he who was the teacher.

    Oh-and Ron was wrong–Sam is actually a mini-horse disguised as a dog–who thinks he’s a cat 🙂 Sam and Othello (the tuxedo cat) are the best of friends 🙂

    I will be stopping in off and on all ay and will be more than willing to answer any questions anyone may have.

  4. Helen Ginger

    December 12, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I know next to nothing about Aspergers. Thanks for sharing your life and that of Shane with us.

    And I love the picture of Sam!

  5. Joyce A. Anthony

    December 12, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks, Helen–he’s my baby 🙂 A Mama’s boy through and through! Can you believe that sweet face has elicited (I think I spelled that wrong) such as:
    “He doesn’t like anyone.” and “He’d bite my head off if I get too close.” ?

  6. Katrina Wampler

    December 12, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Joyce, did you see the extended posts? Let me know what you think of Shane’s full page!

  7. Sara Thompson

    December 12, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    This was a beautiful interview. I have an 11 year old boy with Pervasive Developmental Disorder. I was single the first 6 years of his life and it was hard. We found a great man to be a part of our life and that boy sure has blossomed. I can’t wait to read your book Joyce and I am sure it will be one I pass around to all my friends.

  8. Tricia Ballad

    December 12, 2008 at 6:06 pm


    Thanks for sharing such an honest, authentic slice of your life with your son! Your strength and commitment are a model for us all 🙂


  9. Marvin D Wilson

    December 12, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Amazing. More amazement – Joyce the person, the author, the mom, the nurturer. I’ve only recently become aware of Aspergers, looking into the phenomenon. I believe we ask for our parents/life situations when spirit beings seeking incarnation – surely a special kid like Shane couldn’t have chosen a better mother.

    Looks like you too, Joyce!

  10. Connie Arnold

    December 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Thank you, Katrina, for sharing this. Joyce, I knew already you are a special lady, and reading this makes me realize what a true inspiration you are! God has given you and Shane a particular blessing in having each other. And what a great group of furry family members too!

  11. Vivian

    December 12, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    My heart goes out to you, Joyce, and Shane.

    God was good to us. Our younger son, third child, was born with brain damage, but it was such that in time another part of his brain could with training take over the duties of that part of his brain. He had a struggle, but he did it. Now, as a PhD, a teacher, coach, and father, he doesn’t accept “I can’t.” He tells the person who says that, “You may not do it well, but you can try.”

    God bless you, Joyce, and your son.

    Thank you, Katrina, for bringing this insight to us.


  12. Joyce A. Anthony

    December 13, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Thank you for all the wonderful words everyone!! Katrina, you did wonderful withe extended versions page. Sara, I’m glad you and your son found a man that made the family stronger!! Tricia, remeber what I told you–you have the strenth within you. Connie and Vivian, thank you so much for your kind words–Vivian, it sounds like you have a very strong son–one to be very poud of. Marvin you hit on something I’ve often passed onto other mothers. Ibelieve we do choose our parents. There was a woman in one spiritual group I belonged to who happened to catch me on one of my “bad” days and she said simply–special kids need special parents. I never have considderd myself special, but I have passed those words onto others. I will say, however, thatit has given me strength for I may not be the best mother in the world–but I’ve come to believe I’mm the best one for Shane.

  13. Tanja Cilia

    December 13, 2008 at 7:55 am

    Thank you, Joyce, Thank you, Katrina.

    Listen! Shane’s giggling!
    The echoes of a blessing –
    The picture of hope.

  14. Janet Elaine Smith

    December 13, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    As a social worker and a missionary, I have had a few encounters with young people with Asperger’s. While it is definitely a challenge, there is always something extra special about these kids. I have known both Joyce and Shane (he calls me “Aunty Janet”) for several years, thanks to the Internet. They are both very special people. I lost my husband in Jan. this year, and he had asked me to see that Shane got some of his art supplies. I was delighted to fulfill that wish. Shane did the artwork for the cover of my book “Bank Roll: A Max Stryker Mystery.”

    I loved the excerpts from the book, and I thank both of you for sharing a peek inside with us. I can’t wait to read the rest of it. Best to all three of you.
    Janet Elaine Smith

  15. Joyce A. Anthony

    December 13, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Tanja–what a precious thought–thank you!! Janet you are family–you know that, don’t you?

  16. Pee Wee

    December 13, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Joyce, what a great job you’ve done with an obvious difficult situation. I believe it takes an abundance of love to keep on– keeping on. You show strength and determination in your efforts. I had the pleasure of corresponding with Shane a couple of times. He has a great sense of humor. It was fun.

    The story you’ve written about him is as awesome as your book, Storm, which I absolutely loved. If every book you write can be as good as that one, you’ve got it made.

    Take care, dear one.

    Pee Wee

  17. Joyce Scarbrough

    December 13, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    What an apt analogy of the stallion and a child with Asperger’s. I loved the excerpts, Joyce. Thanks for sharing what I know is a big part of your heart with the world!

    And I’ll be buy two copies of this book as soon as it’s available–one for me and one for my friend whose 21-year-old son is autistic.

  18. Joyce A. Anthony

    December 13, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks, PW and Joyce–coming from two great writers in their own right–I am honored at your comments 🙂

  19. Penny Ehrenkranz

    December 13, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    An inspiring interview. Thank you for sharing Katrina and Joyce. I have two friends who have children with Asperger’s, and I know that these children are both a challenge and people to be cherished.

  20. aspieluvr

    April 21, 2010 at 2:17 am

    Awesome and wonderful. I loved it and it was so inspiring. I have a son with Aspergers and I just recently started my own blog. I am hoping to show people how truly wonderful these children are. My son amazes me everyday. I just love him.

    Thanks for such a wonderful place to come and read!


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