According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, 1 in 100 adults and 1 in 36 children in the United States are identified with having autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Yet, despite its prevalence, the majority of books written about the neurological disorder that impacts communication and social interaction are by non-autistic authors. Zachary S. Pike, a 26-year-old diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger syndrome, decided to change that.
His new book was released in February 2023 by AuthorHouse. Regular: A Young Man with Autism and His Journey to Be “Ordinary” Which Took Him to “Extraordinary” documents Pike’s triumph in achieving personal empowerment and a sense of normalcy despite living with a neurodevelopment disorder since childhood.
As the book opens, Pike, then a high school senior, prepares for his graduation commencement ceremony at Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington.
“I finally achieved one thing that every parent should be proud of, and that is seeing their child graduate from high school,” Pike recalled.
It’s not until after graduating that he unexpectedly learns his special diploma option 1 — an option for high school students with developmental disabilities — has diminished his college course choices considerably, and his only opportunity is to earn a high school equivalency diploma.
Spanning the four years following his graduation, Regular recounts Pike’s unremitting pursuit for personal and professional normality. In his book, Pike shines a light on the mental and psychological challenges he experiences as a young adult with autism, like juggling a career in the food service industry while taking GED classes at night. “Getting a job was one of the main achievements I have ever gotten,” he said. “It made me feel regular.”
One of the narrative’s most enduring qualities is the young writer’s frank refusal to become mired in defeatism. Pike excitedly shares small yet empowering milestones he achieved through determination, grit and a strong support team of family and friends. These include advancing from a hardworking busboy to gregarious host, earning his driver’s license and publicly petitioning the School District of Palm Beach County for a reissued high school diploma.
And while readers will be delighted to know that the author ultimately receives his official diploma, the takeaway is even more important. Pike’s autobiography provides a fascinating glimpse into the autistic mind that will fascinate both neurodivergent and neurotypical people alike.
Regular: A Young Man with Autism and His Journey to be “Ordinary” Which Took Him to “Extraordinary” can be purchased online at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.
Pike currently divides his professional life between the kitchen at Lake Worth’s Hidden Oaks Elementary School and Texas Roadhouse in Boynton Beach, where he serves as a part-time host trainer.
The 26-year-old is currently studying cinematography at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth and hopes to become a news cameraman after graduation. As a die-hard fan of Marvel and DC Comics, he enjoys attending comic conventions, where he commiserates with popular superheroes.