HPU dean publishes book on autism

BROWNWOOD – Aug. 7, 2012 – Though not a student or employee at Howard Payne University, Joel Tucker is widely recognized on campus. His father, Dr. Robert Tucker, serves as the dean of music and fine arts and extended education at HPU, and Joel is on campus often, visiting his father or stopping by Fambrough’s Grill and Eatery for a burger and Coke. Dr. Tucker recently wrote a book inspired by Joel, titled “Like a Crown: Adventures in Autism.”

like_a_crown_coverTucker’s book discusses the trials and joys of raising Joel, 22, autistic from birth. Tucker and his wife, Clairissa, have two other sons – Jacob, 25, and Jordan, 19.

A television reporter from Abilene was on campus recently to interview Dr. Tucker and Joel.

“My other children excelled academically, but Joel is gifted in his own way,” Tucker told the reporter. “Raising him was a different set of challenges, so that changed our family dynamic quite a bit.”

Dr. Tucker began chronicling his experiences, which eventually led to 49 chapters of anecdotes, advice, conversations with his son and more.

The chapters are of different lengths and can be read in any order. The book is intended for parents, educators, employers, community leaders and anyone else whose life might intersect with autism in some way.

Clairissa Tucker designed the book jacket, which features a photo of Joel when he was 14. The meaning of the title, “Like a Crown,” is revealed at the end of the book.rob_tucker

Dr. Tucker said that Joel does not fully grasp the concept of having a book written about him, but that his son did enjoy seeing himself on television.

Published by AuthorHouse, the book is available in paperback and hardcover as well as electronically, and can be purchased from Barnes and Noble, Buy.com, Amazon.com and Apple iBooks.

“‘Like a Crown’ is a delightful addition to Dr. Tucker’s record of scholarly contributions,” said Dr. Mark Tew, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “In addition to this important work on autism, Dr. Tucker is a published composer, a sought-after music adjudicator and a frequent author in music education journals. I am proud of and appreciate his leadership as an educator, scholar and citizen.”

The Tuckers are available for workshops and presentations on Autism Spectrum Disorders. They hope their experiences will be beneficial to other families.

Writes Dr. Tucker, “We now recognize the blessing poured upon us in the form of this incredible boy – Joel. We did not deserve him, but he is ours just the same. For that we are lucky and thankful.”

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Photo cutline: Dr. Robert Tucker, dean of music and fine arts and extended education at HPU, recently published his first book, “Like a Crown: Adventures in Autism.”