Mother takes chapter of loss and turns it into a book to raise awareness for autism


WEST MONROE, LA (1/12/20)– Turning a family tragedy into a positive impact for the community. Dr. Dawn Stanfield lost her daughter, Kirsten, back in 2016. Writing a book in her memory has been something Stanfield has been chasing after the past few months.

“In the 12 years that she was here, she changed a lot of people’s life. Everybody she met, she made an impact on. I just wanted her name to continue and for other parents to know they are not alone in their journey of autism,” said Stanfield.

Though Kirsten had autism, Stanfield says it wasn’t something that defined her. Instead, she taught others to accept her.

“She taught me to view the world in a different way. Just because her way was different didn’t mean it was wrong,” said Stanfield.

Standfield says her book, “Sweet kisses” have no boundaries: Glimpses into the world of autism, covers funny stories, topics that aren’t talked about, and is a light to other caregivers and family members. Not only bring awareness to autism but also acceptance.

“I never wanted to change Kirsten’s perception on life, but I did want to change others’ perception of her. She was a normal kid,” said Stanfield.

Kirsten’s memory is also remembered by an elephant statue that stands in the middle of Smiles Park. The elephant is also found on the cover of Stanfield’s book.

“She one time rode an elephant at the circus and when they went to get her off, she punched the volunteer. She got three extra rounds on the elephant by herself. We kind of had a funny story with the elephant,” said Stanfield.

The elephant is a symbol that will forever hold Kirsten’s memory, her 12 years of life, and the impact she left in teaching the world about autism.
You can buy a hard copy or an electronic version here

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