The Facebook page ‘My life with Yianni’, translated to English from ‘Η ζωή μου με τον Γιάννη’, presents stories from the life of a mother, Ada Stamatatou, with her adult autistic son Yianni.
Talking exclusively with The Greek Herald, Ada shares her surprising reaction to the incredible growth of her Facebook page, her role in the global autism community, as well as discussing her newly written book on her life.
How Yianni’s story began
Ada’s inspiration for sharing her daily interactions with Yianni arose from a disturbing video she witnessed almost 3 years ago.
The video depicted a young adult in a playground who was presenting slightly awkward and compulsive behaviour towards younger children. In the video, the women was yelling at him to leave, calling him a pervert.
“I recognised immediately that this young man was an autistic man,” Ada says.
Ada came to realise that the reason that Greek people were lacking in recognising autistic behaviour was because not many Greeks had ever seen an autistic adult on the streets.
This led to the start of ‘Η ζωή μου με τον Γιάννη’, a Facebook page where she shares weekly updates of Yianni’s struggles as he moves through life with autism.
Shocked at the overwhelming amount of support received when she began, Ada was thankful that so many people looked forward to seeing their journey.
“I realised that sad news has a bigger impact on people than good news! People need to see someones sad story to feel better for themselves unfortunately… But people also need to see a hero story.”
Ada shares that her and Yianni’s story is not a sad one, and she is not a hero mother.
“This is my family. My truth. And they are others like us everywhere on the planet. We live among you.”
From Facebook to a published book
Ada recently revealed that she has been writing a book of her life, taking families back to the beginning of Yianni’s birth; The diagnosis, the shock and the early intervention.
The book spans through the twenty-two year life of Yianni, showing Ada’s activism in raising awareness for autism, running marathons around world, and trying to help schools for autistic children find financial sources. Ada says that her story is one that many families will find familiar, and it is important to spread autism awareness to the global population.
“The book ends on the days of COVID-19 and the global lockdown. How the strict measures affected the autistic people,” Ada says.
Speaking of the upcoming launch of her book, Ada was shocked to find out that she had such a large audience in Australia.
“I did indeed asked my publisher to translate it in English for all of you. And for all the Greek people who live all over the world.
“After all… autism has no borders. No country. We must be united in this.”
People can expect the book to appear on the shelves in the beginning of June, yet Ada says she is trying to be optimistic during this COVID-19 period of time.