Annalaura Brown is a health coach, podcaster and blogger. Diagnosed with autism at the age of 5, she wrote her book A Spectrum of miracles to help other parents and adults on the spectrum. A thriving adult today, her childhood wasn’t easy, but she has experienced many miracles and blessings along the way. Learn from her experiences and get a recipe and an essential oil blend at the end of each chapter.
Interview Transcript Annalaura Brown
Richard Lowe 00:01
Good day. This is Richard Lowe with author talks. Thank you for showing up. I am the writing king. And I sell ghostwriting book coaching and LinkedIn branding services. And I’m here with Anna Laura Brown, and she’s a health coach podcaster and blogger. She’s diagnosed with autism at the age of five, and wrote a book called a spectrum of miracles to help other parents and adults on the spectrum. Thank you for coming to the podcast.
Annalaura Brown 00:28
Yeah, sure, absolutely.
Richard Lowe 00:31
So tell me about if you want to tell me about this autism diagnosis. And I assume that led to your book.
Annalaura Brown 00:39
Yeah, I did. Absolutely. Yeah. So like I said, I got diagnosed at the age of five, which was pretty young. Back in the 80s. I, in the very first chapter of my book, I talk about how when I was 17 months old, I almost died from really severe illness. And one of the complications was brain damage, which led my parents and doctors and everything to be a lot more only alert for potential problems. And so that was one of the reasons they were able to diagnose me at such a young age.
Richard Lowe 01:05
I gotcha. Yeah. Back in the 80s. They weren’t diagnosing that many children with diagnosed with autism, right?
Annalaura Brown 01:11
No, not really. And it was kind of everybody was all lumped into one diagnosis, if you will. Now, I know I probably would have been more like the PDD NOS kind of autism, which is like the, what they diagnose you when you have a lot of the autism symptoms, but you don’t fit in classic autism per se.
Richard Lowe 01:27
I have a cousin who’s autistic and he, my sister sent him into school. And the first thing they wanted to do was put him on a lot of drugs. And she said no to given the middle finger literally, all our kids out of school, homeschool them. And I liked it so much. He started her own school. And the autistic kid now he’s an adult, he’s been through college and things. He’s got his own company, graphics art, great artist, you can still tell he’s a little autistic. But you know, nothing that needed drugs, and Ritalin and think they think they’re gonna put on Ritalin, which I’m not sure what that does. But it doesn’t sound like I’ve heard it’s not the right drug. In any event,
Annalaura Brown 02:05
yeah, it will. Ritalin is used with a lot of ADHD. So it seems kind of crazy to me, because unless he actually had ADHD, it would be pointless to consider it because that’s the other thing too is that a lot of doctors are in schools or whatever. They try to drug up kids that have autism when sometimes kids, you can’t have autism and ADHD both together, but not always.
Richard Lowe 02:28
I really don’t know that much about it, except for what my sister has told me. But I understand it can be tough for parents. And probably tough on the autistic kid too.
Annalaura Brown 02:41
Yeah, I mean, it was I think the hardest thing for me is that I knew I was different, you know, and I was constantly going to a lot of doctors and therapists as a kid. And it’s I come from a really unusual background, my grandparents owned a private school. So I was at the school that my grandparents ran. So it was kind of, you know, I had unlimited access to a lot of special tutors and schools and things like that. But I was still, you know, in and out of school. I didn’t go to school all day long until I was in sixth grade. I only went half day because I just couldn’t handle the full school day in a regular school environment. So, you know,
Richard Lowe 03:16
make sense to me. Makes sense to me. Yeah. And you wrote a book. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?
Annalaura Brown 03:23
Yeah. So this is what the cover of the book looks like. It’s called the spectrum of miracles, hope and healing for parents of children with autism. And what I did with this book is a combination of things. So some of that is partly my own story. Some of it based on, you know, just my own experiences, things that my parents told me, that kind of thing. Also talking about a lot of the things that I feel like really, really helped me when I was a child. Things like music, things like some of the different therapies, I went through some of the diet changes, things like that. I grew up with parents that really didn’t believe in a lot of drugs. My mom was not really a big fan of even using antibiotics unless they were absolutely necessary. And so that’s the other thing my mom did. That was pretty revolutionary, too. She took me to a couple of naturopathic doctors and nutritionists and things. And I started on the gluten free casein free diet from a pretty young age, probably around six, probably about a year after my diagnosis or so. And that’s pretty unusual for the time. Now, it’s pretty common. It’s one of the more common nutrition interventions that a lot of holistic and functional medicine doctors will recommend for kids on the spectrum because a lot of kids on the spectrum have digestive issues and gluten and dairy are the things that bother those systems the most. And I was on it for quite some time. Then you know, as I got to be older, Junior High High School, I kind of went off to college, but as an adult, I’m 100% gluten free and 95% casein free so I’m pretty much almost on it back on it as an adult as well.
Richard Lowe 04:57
Interesting, interesting. So how does it help parents understand the spectrum.
Annalaura Brown 05:03
So the main thing it helps them with is just gives them basically a story of an adult of a male adult and her experiences and what kinds of things she went through. But then I also give some tips and tricks to parents of things that I feel like parents should know, I have recipes that are gluten free and casein free in the book. So there’s a recipe at the end of each chapter. Then I also was an adult got really into essential oils. And so I have included some different diffuser blends and different things that I have found helpful for different issues. At the end of the chapter, and the other thing I also have throughout the book, is I have scattered quotes about miracles, because I feel like throughout my life, not only was the first miracle in my life was that that I actually survived. So I previously mentioned that I almost died as a baby. And so that was pretty miraculous in and of itself, I was in a coma for a whole week, it was really, really bad. I was too young to remember it. But my parents had told me that yeah, I basically almost died. And it was miraculous that I didn’t. And so I’ve experienced some other miracles throughout my life. So I have quotes from different people that relate to miracles throughout the book, as the reason why the title is a spectrum of miracles.
Richard Lowe 06:16
I understand I understand. And what do you think? What do you hope anyone who reads it gets out of it,
Annalaura Brown 06:22
I hope what they get out of it is that, especially if it’s a parent that’s got a child on the spectrum that’s younger, that’s reading it, I hope they get out of it, that there is hope that you can help heal your child, that your child can become a functional adult, that there are ways to help your child that are not all about drugs. And that, you know, to look for the little miracles and the little things in life and not necessarily expect to find only these big grandiose miracles when it comes to their kids.
Richard Lowe 06:51
I understand. So what, just so I understand that our audience understands what do you think the problem is with drugs in this? In these cases?
Annalaura Brown 06:59
I think the biggest problem is, is that well, two things. One thing, I think often it’s a cover up. And two, I also think that a lot of times, it isn’t really addressing the root cause, or the root problem that helps kid the kids to function. And I also want to say that I don’t really think there’s a total cure for autism, I don’t think you necessarily want to cure it necessarily. There are definitely some positive things, a lot of kids on the spectrum have very, very good abilities with math or science, or language or music or things like that, they have a lot to contribute to the world, and drugs are certainly not going to cure it. And you know, I don’t know that there’s, like I said, there’s anything that’s really going to cure it, that a drug basically, a lot of times is an attempt to use chemicals to potentially control the child’s impulsive behavior or that kind of thing. And instead of, you know, maybe going through therapies or other holistic things that can actually really help the child rather than cause long term harmful side effects. So, yeah,
Richard Lowe 08:02
it so if the parents just want to have their child kind of become a zombie, then drugs are the thing for them. Yeah, the child to actually be productive and turn into a functional least partially functional adult, then nondrug therapies might be something to look at.
Annalaura Brown 08:20
Yeah, absolutely. And that said, there are exceptions, obviously, like, if you have a really severely autistic child that’s also having seizures, then, you know, drugs may be an appropriate measure, or something that may be needed. Or, you know, if a child’s got really, really extreme ADHD, then you might need to involve that too. But for your just average, you know, moderate to have a highly functioning child with autism that doesn’t have any of those things that isn’t having seizures, it doesn’t have a lot of other medical issues, then, you know, drugs are not really the appropriate course of action, in my opinion.
Richard Lowe 08:54
So what is ADHD? And how is it different for autism?
Annalaura Brown 08:57
So ADHD is where kids use it? Well, it can be kids, it can be adults, too, but it’s where they just don’t have that hyperactivity and the inability to, to focus and concentrate. Personally, I don’t have that. So it’s not something that I know a ton about, but it’s basically the whole different disorder really, and what can go with autism? It’s, it’s really not the same thing. So basically, it’s, I guess, where I’m coming from is that drugs are not really a solution for autism in and of itself. Now, if you have a child that has autism and has other health issues, then you know, those may be necessary. But autism in and of itself is not something that you can cure or control with a drug.
Richard Lowe 09:38
Gotcha. Gotcha. Other than just putting your kid to sleep more or less.
Annalaura Brown 09:43
Yeah, exactly. Well, and there’s even things like there’s a lot of essential oils are actually really good for helping autistic kids calm down sleep. So you know, you don’t necessarily need drugs for that either. But
Richard Lowe 09:56
I understand I understand what motivated you to start Writing this book.
Annalaura Brown 10:01
So I had thought about writing a book for a long time. And I’d had people ask me to write a book I’d had people tell me oh, you know, you have a pretty unique story
Richard Lowe 10:17
Annalaura Brown 10:37
On You still there? Yep, I’m still here somehow lost each other. I don’t know what happened.
Richard Lowe 10:59
Yep. Well, let’s just, we’re still recording I think let me check. Yeah, we’re still recording. So let’s just keep going. Okay.
Annalaura Brown 11:10
Maybe let me just start over with explaining how I decided to write the book. So yeah, so I had a lot of people tell me for a long time that I should write a book. And that I had a pretty unique story as to you know, what my childhood was like, what it was like growing up, and where I’m at today. And so I finally just decided to take the leap and write the book. I especially decided to write it after I had become a health coach and started, you know, talking to a lot of parents that had kids with autism and started realizing that, hey, you know, I have some pretty unique things that I could share, I have some things that I feel like are pretty helpful. And so, you know, I just decided to do the book. And it’s self-published on Amazon. So I didn’t, you know, go through a publisher or anything fancy, but it’s definitely been a good thing. I’ve definitely had some parents that have read it that have told me they really found it helpful.
Richard Lowe 11:56
Nice. Now, what are your you said, your health coach, does that require training or some kind of statistics, certification, or
Annalaura Brown 12:02
some people just call themselves health coaches without it but I actually had a years online schooling training through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
Richard Lowe 12:10
Gotcha. What does Integrative Nutrition mean?
Annalaura Brown 12:12
So it’s an online school that has been around for probably like 25 years. Now they’re based out in New York, they originally were in person, and then they transitioned fully to online, probably, I graduated from there in 2014. And they had just gone fully in line probably about a couple years before that. So it’s, they what they do is they bring in a lot of different instructors, they have their own philosophy about nutrition and health and that kind of thing. But they teach you how to be a coach, they teach you different skills, they talk about all the different diets that exist out there, lots of different health and wellness trends, things like that different things that you need to know in order to be able to adequately help coach people with their health. So it’s kind of similar to like, if you become a life coach or a business coach, both of those people have some kind of experience or background in it, but not necessarily a full academic degree. Gotcha. Gotcha.
Richard Lowe 13:06
And you include, say, you included recipes and essential oil blends, what are those two.
Annalaura Brown 13:10
So just to help improve your oral health. So the recipes are, like I said, are gluten free and dairy and casein free recipes. And the purpose I didn’t have to put in those is that I said, like a lot of parents are will put their kids on that diet for at least some sort of a timeframe to help them with their overall health. So having those recipes, I felt like it was helpful to parents plus there are also a lot of them are recipes of things that my mom gave me when I was on that diet. It’s a kid and so it kind of just, you know, it’s kind of a little bit reminiscing but also and quite frankly, there’s still things that I really like to to eat today to do today too. So like one has like a basic green smoothie recipe. One is barbecue chicken one is like a stir fry. So you know I have one here that’s actually buckwheat waffles recipe which buckwheat is gluten free? A lot of people don’t realize that because it has wheat in the name but buckwheat is not the same thing as weak.
Richard Lowe 14:07
Okay. Okay, now you in your description hear you say that you’ve experienced many miracles and blessings along your journey. What are some of those?
Annalaura Brown 14:17
So Well, the first one is that I’m still here live today. That’s a good thing. It’s really good health. And I talked about a lot of in my book, and I don’t want to give away too much of it. But just different things as far as like, you know, I felt like one thing I was really blessed with was being born into the family I was and having the parents and the grandparents that came from background in education. Because otherwise, you know, it would have been I probably would have been in public school on special ed and who knows, you know, what I what my life would have been like today so sure,
Richard Lowe 14:47
sure, but you’d have any honest to god miracles that you can think of.
Annalaura Brown 14:51
The first one is that I’m a well I died.
Richard Lowe 14:56
I understand. That can definitely be a miracle. Yeah. I was born with the color blue baby, which is a low Rh factor, and you basically don’t breathe and had to do a full transfusion on me. I don’t remember any of that, of course, because there’s only hours old. But apparently, it was pretty dramatic traumatic for my mom. My father, of course. Yep. So I guess I’m a miracle to you. Because we’re all kind of miracles in a way when you think about it. Let’s see, if you also have a podcast,
Annalaura Brown 15:36
I do. My podcasts were a little bit of a different audience. So in 2018, after a long journey of figuring out a bunch of mystery health symptoms that had popped up as an adult, I got diagnosed with Hashimotos, and which is an autoimmune disease at the thyroid. So my podcast, I do some solo Anna, so episodes where I talk about different aspects of autoimmune healing and wellness, wellness. But I also focus primarily on interviewing different guests. So I have people come on and talk about their journey to get a diagnosis, what they’ve done to start healing, you know, where they’re at, in their journey, what they would recommend to somebody who’s just been diagnosed, or you know, has been diagnosed for a while, but is still struggling with their health. And the other thing that I have found kind of interesting from some of the research that I’ve done, and some of the people that I’ve talked to is that a lot of kids that have autism, their mothers have autoimmune conditions, a lot of times, and a lot more adults, especially women that are on the autism spectrum grow up to have autoimmune conditions, for various reasons. And so, you know, they’re not totally unrelated. But yeah, on my podcast, I don’t talk about autism at all, I talk about autoimmune conditions,
Richard Lowe 16:50
I see and what’s, how would a parent know that their child has autism, or suspected?
Annalaura Brown 16:58
Well, there’s a lot of different symptoms, sometimes you can catch on if there’s like some kind of a family component, like, you know, if you’ve got somebody else in the family is potentially got it. In my case, my parents were on high alert, because I had had a disorder that had almost taken my life, as I mentioned, that causes, one of the things that does is cause brain damage. So my parents kind of knew that could be a possibility. But you know, different there can be different signs. And the more severe it is, the easier it’s going to be to figure out but you know, a lot of things like if the kid has social challenges, sensory issues, challenges with, you know, just some of their or sometimes they don’t start talking till later in life, different things like that can be assigned the signs of autism.
Richard Lowe 17:48
Okay. Now, you said you published a book, well, why don’t you describe your journey of writing and publishing that book?
Annalaura Brown 17:55
So yeah, so like I said, I kind of had people tell me, they thought I should write a book for you know, a while and then once I decided I was going to write it, I still sat on it for a few years. And I think this is pretty common. I think a lot of people don’t really, actually start writing, they talk about running the book, but they don’t actually do it for a variety of reasons. And so for me, then once I finally decided to write it, I basically just opened up a Google Doc and started, you know, periodically, I would start writing things down, okay, you know, I think if I’m gonna write this book, if these are the things I want to include in it, here are some stories here, some outlines, that kind of thing. And I took an online course xe through Institute of Integrative Nutrition as well, because in addition to their regular, you know, health coaching program, they offer some additional things. And one of the things they offer is a is a, an online course on how to write and publish a book. So I went through that course, and that going while I was going through that course, that was the time when I actually wrote the book. And I basically just kind of would write outlines and rough drafts of some things that I would start filling things in that kind of thing. And then I Yeah, so I got to the point that I had kind of a rough draft written and I have a coach that I work with to help me with some different things on my business. And I had she has some experience in writing and editing because she self published a few books her own her own, used to work for a self publishing company. So she went through and read it, and helped me edit it and made some suggestions that I changed a few things based on what she told me I should change. So she was kind of my editor even though she’s not on here officially. And yeah, and then I just kind of you know, started brainstorming titles, a few things like that. And different things like that. And yeah, then I just went through and I hired a graphic designer to put this cover together actually found a guy on Fiverr based on a recommendation Since from a couple of people that have used him before, and got the cover done and self published it on Amazon and then started promoting it.
Richard Lowe 20:09
Yeah, Fiverr is sometimes a good place to find good help. On my profile photos, I got massage through Fiverr. And it looks pretty good. And I get a lot of book covers to them. Do you have you published an audiobook yet?
Annalaura Brown 20:22
Not yet. I have debated whether or not to do the audiobook one of the reasons being that I kind of liked the idea of doing it myself with my own voice. But then again, I don’t know, I had kind of haven’t decided where I’m gonna head with that. So no, I haven’t yet I haven’t in physical and then I have it on Kindle.
Richard Lowe 20:41
Highly recommended. I’ve got all my books on audio, and more than half of my sales are through audiobooks.
Annalaura Brown 20:47
Yeah, love to think about that. Yeah,
Richard Lowe 20:50
I would not recommend using ACX, which is the back end audiobook. Audible has the the ability to hire people there and give them a revenue split. Don’t do that. You’re stuck with them for seven years. And they started out, they start off getting 80%. And then there’s a sliding scale down to you know, 8020. And then it slides down over the years, depending on what you sell. And you’re kind of stuck. And you can’t even set the price. Oh, well, they set it for you. My understanding is you can go through draft to digital. Of course, all of all of mine are through ACX or audio audible. But draft to digital does it apparently, they partner with a company. So I’d recommend that over over a ACX. Although my experience wasn’t bad, it just was a few points where I wanted to remove a couple audiobooks. And they were like, No, you can’t. Because you’re basically following it with the producer. Which makes sense because they did the work for free for free for the royalties. So it makes sense that they they have some rights to it. This is all expire in about a year for me and I’m gonna be real glad. Yeah. Yeah. Another thing you might think of as a workbook
Annalaura Brown 22:00
Yeah, I had thought about that too. Um, it’s, it’s the book is kind of a shorter book. And the and I also have questions and answers that people can think about and write down. So a whole separate workbook and not so sure that that really makes sense. But maybe,
Richard Lowe 22:19
yeah, in case you do, you can get spiral bound books on Lulu and still post them on Amazon. And that’s pretty cool. So done that before a couple times for calendars, and it worked for books too. Okay. Just thoughts. Just thoughts. Yeah. Is it available in ebook or paperback or just paperback?
Annalaura Brown 22:35
And Kindle and paper book? It’s okay, good.
Richard Lowe 22:39
Very good. Yeah. Kindle is a good place to get it. Lots of people buy under Kindle, because that’s a good it’s a popular place. What does it run? What does it cost?
Annalaura Brown 22:50
So the Kindle only 99 cents? And the heart the paperbacks 599. Because, you know, costs a lot more to produce those and for them?
Richard Lowe 22:59
Of course, yes. Lots of pictures are just just
Annalaura Brown 23:04
not a lot of pictures. No, it’s primarily in fact, it’s all text except for my picture on the back right there.
Richard Lowe 23:11
Okay, very good. Very good. Well, do you have any questions for me or any final thoughts?
Annalaura Brown 23:18
I don’t think so. Nope. So anybody that’s listening to this, if you’re interested, I’d love it if you need to check out my book and where you can get in touch with me? And how do they get in touch with you? So my main website is analog brown.com. So that’s my actual website. And I don’t know if you wanted to, if you want to link to the actual book and shownotes somewhere or whatever, you could do that. I don’t know if you’re gonna do that, but I’ll have a link to your website in the description. That’ll work. Yeah.
Richard Lowe 23:46
Okay, well, this has been Richard Lowe, the writing King, and I’m a I’m a ghostwriter, a LinkedIn branding expert and a writing coach and thank you for the interview.
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