Author defies the odds to inspire special needs children
AT THE age of one, Josh Chapman was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and doctors predicted he wouldn't be able to walk, talk or go to school.
The Maroochydore 21-year-old went on to graduate from a mainstream Coast school in 2014 and has used his life experiences to pen a fantasy novel about special needs children.
When Josh was asked how he managed to defy adversity in the face of years of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and operations, he modestly replied, "I just went on with my life".
Josh was also diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at the age of 13, which he said was his "greatest gift" as it provided him with the ability to use his imagination.
Under the pen name JJ Fryer, Josh will launch his new book Inner Reflection at Books of Buderim on August 25 at 1pm.
Josh's first novel follows the story of a girl named Ana with Asperger's syndrome who discovers she has magical abilities.
She and her friend Fletcher are thrown into a hidden world where other people with special needs have powers too.
Josh said the book was important because he wanted to bring visibility to disabilities that are harder to see.
"I just want more representation for less visible disabilities," he said.
"I've always loved the fantasy book genre, so I just put two and two together.
"I guess in some ways I wanted the magical abilities to be an extension of their special needs."
It took Josh about a year to write the novel "bit by bit" and his family couldn't be prouder of what he's achieved.
As for the future, Josh said he wanted to pursue writing further in the hopes of "international recognition" in between his acting classes.
"I am working on a sequel.
"I'm hoping I can just awaken people.
"Just show that you can do all this even though you're different."
Josh's book is now available for pre-order from www.ouroborusbooks.com.
The Inner Reflection book launch will take place at Books on Buderim at 1pm on August 25.