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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author and autism advocate Matthew Kenslow talks about writing his book, Juggling The Issues, about his life with Asperger’s Syndrome.

JJ Barnes editor of The Table Read online creativity, arts and entertainment magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed Matthew Kenslow about how Autism effects his life, what inspired him to start writing, and the creative process that went into his new book, Juggling The Issues, about his life with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

I am Matthew Kenslow. I was diagnosed with a speech delay at age three and with a subsequent diagnosis of “Asperger’s Syndrome” circa 2001. I grew up feeling awkward and shy. A couple of my own classmates in kindergarten would yell at me to go away and that I wasn’t their friend.

As I journeyed throughout the rest of elementary school, things progressed from name calling to having a handball chucked at my face for being who I am. Nevertheless, I’ve made dozens of friends, especially beginning in 3rd grade.

Matthew Kenslow on The Table Read
Matthew Kenslow

The teasing and discrimination for having Autism significantly declined from elementary school to university. However, that was just one aspect of Autism. I still had struggles that most of my friends did not seem to have, such as a lack of focus and concentration, being the last person to finish a test most of the time, inundating bashfulness, taking everything literally and to heart, and so on.

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In the midst of these storms, I found catharses. I always loved art and creative writing. In 3rd grade, I began learning how to play keyboard/piano. In 5th grade, I started to juggle. In middle school and high school, I memorized the presidents by their number, birthdate, death date, term dates, native states, and political parties.

In 11th grade, I had all the countries of the world memorized, and on July 21, 2014, in my early college days, I had the elements of the periodic table memorized. Contrary to popular belief, I do not have a photographic memory at all. If I did not pursue piano, juggling, or presidential knowledge, then I have no idea where I would be today. I used those talents that I was given to bless others since the middle of elementary school. In total, I performed piano and juggling for thousands of people in my life from elementary schools and beyond, brightening people’s days and putting smiles on their faces.

Several years ago, I decided to make an analogy about perseverance out of it, where I drop an item I’m juggling with on purpose; then I pick it up and keep going, all while speaking the meaning of this analogy.

I have been a part of Royal Rangers which shaped me into the man and leader I am today. I began when I was five and earned the Gold Medal of Achievement in 2013, which is equivalent to the rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America. For the past nine years, I have been a commander, teaching and training boys in survival skills, life skills, and Biblical wisdoms. None of my commanders as a boy had ever given up on me and likewise, I will never give up on anybody else.

Academically, in 2018, I completed my coursework at Orange Coast College, earning me an Associate of Science degree in Chemistry, followed by a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Vanguard University in 2021. I am currently a graduate student at Vanguard and am approaching my final semester in getting teaching credentials. I am a student teacher for enhanced mathematics at Ensign Intermediate School (NMUSD) in Newport Beach, California. I plan on pursuing a Master of Arts in education hereafter.

To communicate with the rest of the world about Autism, who we are, and what we go through, I became a royalty-published author to Juggling the Issues: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2019, when I was twenty-three. It was subsequently republished in 2020 for complicated reasons. It thus far earned two awards from BookAuthority and I get the compliments from all around the world (US, UK, India, Australia, etc.) on how much of a help it is in understanding Autism.

Earlier in 2017, I became a YouTuber, and begun getting vocal about Autism in 2018. Later in 2018 was when I became an Instagrammer.

When did you first WANT to write a book?

In early elementary school. That was when I discovered my passion and creativity of writing. Consequently, I had discipline taken on me because I had written too much. When I tried to sneak over to the other page, the student next to me was required to confiscate my pencil. I ultimately resorted to fitting three or four lines into one line, writing small.

All throughout elementary school, middle school, and high school, I would go home and type on the computer, among other hobbies. I would write stories for books, movie scripts, and television scripts. I intended for every single one of them to be published, but absolutely none of them were. However, I’m thankful that some of my early writings were not published.

As I stated in my book, in 10th grade, I written a 32-page essay on a creative writing story, even though it was supposed to be only a few pages. I just couldn’t stop, and it was my joy to do after school. The teacher still tells the tale to this day. At this same time, I still had ideas for novels and series, as well as movie ideas. I entered a couple of contests for my local library foundation but did not win.

In 2013, during my first semester of college, I began writing again, but this time, I told myself that I was not going to let this be a waste, where I don’t publish it. I was going to publish my writing this time at all costs. From this developed the book I have out today.  

When did you take a step to start writing?

In the summer of 2013, after a lifetime of being disappointed that none of my works were published – most of which remained unfinished – I decided to take up writing once again. However, I was wanting to write very short pamphlet-like books based on Biblical devotions that I came up with. Suddenly, I began thinking about making a series of short stories where my character delivers the devotions himself. I then began contemplating about having my character grow up with Asperger’s Syndrome too. This called for a storyline.

For days and nights of October 2013, I could not stop typing, and a common trait for us who have Autism is not wanting to stop until we finish what we start. Pretty soon, my short story morphed into a novella, which subsequently morphed into a novel. After ten months of waiting for a few friends of mine to get back with me on what I had written, I began writing again in August 2014. I literally turned about 100 pages to hundreds of pages. For the next couple of years, I went through the entire manuscript a few times, doing more adding than taking away.

Finally, in 2016, I found a literary agent in Pennsylvania who read my work. We had a subsequent 90-minute consultation call, in which, he brought up my original idea of writing short stories. He also encouraged me to take that idea and make it autobiographical, talking about my own self in lieu of my character. That way, this will introduce me to the world, so that my fictional piece will be more successful. After publishing the anthology that I have out now, I cannot thank him enough. He was also the one who later helped me choose to make my hyper-novel into a trilogy of three novels. 

My first steps in starting to write my anthology includes the following: listing all the traits of Asperger’s that I can talk about – the good and the not-so-good – where each trait will be a short story. In July 2016, I began writing a couple of the short stories, but then I got super busy pre-studying for my upcoming semester which turned out to be a doozy. 14 units of two science classes, two labs, and precalculus. I actually did not start my next step until mid-April 2017, when I sat down and went through my entire trilogy, this time, making color-coded highlights where I discuss different characteristics of Asperger’s.

After a month and a half of doing that practically everyday until I was finished, I took each highlighted excerpts and pasted them in several different Word documents, depending on the color. From there, I took what I explained through my character (all my allegories) and reversed it back to my actual story. After a month and a half, I got my first draft completed and shipped it to my agent; July 17, 2017.

In early October, he came back with suggestions, such as cutting it down…a lot. I do have a habit on overwriting after all. By mid-November, I had it completed, and my agent submitted it to various publishing houses. In March 2018, I got my first contract from Axiom Press.

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How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

I officially completed the book to my satisfaction on November 18, 2017. I did not have the book in my hand until June 13, 2019. Due to complicated reasons, I did not launch it all over social media until July 10th. The reasons why it took so long is because I was completely underprepared of seeing how much it cost to publish a book. I spent nearly half of 2018 coming up with the funds from scratch, which initially ushered me into another dark season of hopelessness. However, I did get my first employed job ever at the OC Fair that summer.

Everything was paid off by January 2019. Unfortunately (and by admission of the publisher), things were abnormally slow. I should have gotten the book out by January or February 2019, according to what they first told me, but instead, it was not until June 2019. I even took off an entire semester because I assumed that I would spend that time touring around with the book. Alas, it took the duration of a semester before I could even have it in my hands.   

What made you want to write Juggling The Issues?

For over twenty years, I have had a nonstop, harsh, inundating life of discrimination and innuendo because I am autistic. Even in modern times, being a college student and later university student, I still face discrimination in my own neighborhood. I was stared at, given the weirdest looks, ignored, laughed at, teased at, cussed at, ran away from, begged not to have children a couple of times, followed by a vehicle, and even had to gone near run for my life.

It hurts me day and night, and even past midnight; it keeps me up practically every night of my life. I’m like, we are one score in the twenty-first century; shouldn’t bullying and discrimination be eradicated by now? That’s why I took on the mission and have fought with my life to educate the entire world about who we are at all costs. This behavior is unacceptable and if it’s happening to me, then it’s happened to several other people. In fact, I witness that on other people, including on social media.

In March 2020, the CDC said that the prevalence of Autism in children is 1 in 54. A scientist at MIT – one of the country’s leading universities – claimed that by 2025, this country may have an Autism majority. Regardless, Autism is on the exponential rise.

What is going to happen in ten years when there are a ton of Autistic people out in society? Currently, a ton of neurotypicals do not accept us out of ignorance. My goal is to educate every single person in the country and on earth about who we are, so that nobody (especially children) will ever be harshly discriminated again for “disabilities” they never asked for. That can be done through my book. That can be done through other people’s books. And that can be done through my multitude of YouTube videos.

Juggling The Issues, Living With Asperger's on The Table Read
Juggling The Issues, Living With Asperger’s

My book and YouTube videos explain from my thorough firsthand perspective about what goes through our minds. All I care about is doing my part in transforming a world where there could be “disabilities,” and that everybody accepts one another (including themselves) for who they are. I will never give up in that.

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What were your biggest challenges with writing Juggling The Issues?

Overwriting and having to stop for the night (or day).

Honestly, I often stayed up most or all of the night in the summer of 2017. I was so passionate about helping this world as soon as possible, insofar of endeavoring to finish it as quickly (but thoroughly) as possible. Simultaneously, I was still being hammered with discrimination in my own neighborhood. I knew I had to put an end to it as soon as possible, especially since not everyone with Autism (or any disability) has the strength and perseverance as I do to continue living in life.

Without being an author, I assumed that I wouldn’t reach as many people over this pressing issue, consequently being ignored, suffering the continuation of discrimination, including the discrimination of others who cannot advocate for themselves. That is partly who I believe I am: a voice for the voiceless. 

What was your research process for Juggling The Issues?

Having Autism, I am an expert and know how to explain everything from my firsthand perspective. Additionally, I spent my life observing others, how I was treated, and how other people were being treated. Thus, I did not have much research being put into this, other than my own mind and heart.

How did you plan the structure of Juggling The Issues?

My book is an anthology, thereby being a collection of short stories, with which there are twenty-nine of them. Most of the short stories is all about an aspect of living with Autism/Asperger’s. For instance, shyness and social interactions, speech delay and impediment, habits and worries, organizing and finishing what I start, changes, sharing ideas, et cetera.

I typed in separate Word documents – one for each short story. Then I took some time to scrupulously order them so that it makes the best sense, if the readers want to read from beginning to end. Being an anthology, as I said in the preface, the chapters can be read in any order; I recommend every reader, however, to start with the preface, for I believe it is an imperative introduction to my anthology.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Juggling The Issues need?

My publisher provided an editor to read through my anthology and make changes if necessary, such as making some parts easier to read. There were not a ton of changes, since I grew up writing my entire life and spent years on developing grammar, diction, archetypes, similes, and metaphors.

I only lament that the editor took out most of the times when I have given an exact date. Remembering exact dates is a huge part of Autism. The editor kept some of them, but now, the readers will probably think I only remember the month and year. Most of the places in my book that you read a month and a year; I most likely had the day in the original manuscript too.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?

I would say to go for it. With a computer and an imagination, you can escape from the current stresses of the world around you, thereby releasing you to go anywhere you desire. You make the rules. To me, writing is a catharsis, and I can be certain that it will be yours, especially if it is what you love to do. I would additionally encourage to get a special notebook to help organize your thoughts and keep track of the characters and storyline.

Make sure that you keep a discipline routine with adequate breaks. Once you have finished your first draft, take a couple of days before reading it over for flow, ensuring that you had written down everything that you wanted to capture.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

As I have said earlier, my anthology exists because I began writing a fictional piece in 2013, which turned into a trilogy. Therefore, I plan on having at least three more books coming, but I am waiting for a lot more people in the world to read through my anthology in order to get to know who I am. One of my short stories (chapter 25) is entitled “My Trilogy,” in which, I talk all about it. 

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I am categorically proud of my accomplishment, and it was unequivocally worth the effort. In 2019, when I was flipping through my new book, I’m like, “I written this. Oh my gosh, I written this and finally gotten a book published after writing my entire life.” I would be more proud, however, if my book continues helping the millions and billions of people in this world, from my own neighborhood that’s been so prejudice against me, to the ends of the world.

I have thus far received the multitude of compliments and in-depth reviews, not just in the United States, but throughout the United Kingdom, India, Australia, and beyond. If it is helping many people so far in understanding and accepting people with a “disability,” it can help everybody else on earth, and the next generation.  

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

Amazon US: (This is the link to the 2020 version and it’s available in print and on Kindle.)

Facebook page:


(My channel trailer explains all what my YouTube channel is about.)



(Just started TikTok in May)


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