Randi-Lyn Miller-Gol uses her journey as a parent raising a child who has autism to educate and inspire others
CHESTER — Randi-Lyn Miller-Gol has a story to share, as well as the profits from that story.
“The Little Boy Who Didn’t Want to Sleep” is Miller-Gol’s first-ever book, and 100% of its royalties are being donated to non-profit organizations that advocate for people with autism. It is an issue that hits her right in her very own home, as her 5-year-old son, Kazim, is autistic.
“About a year after Kazim’s diagnosis, and with quite a bit of inspiration from various sources,” Miller-Gol shared, “I decided I needed to write a book about my journey as a parent raising a child who has autism.”
Miller-Gol realized numerous books existed from the first person perspective on what it is like to have autism, but not many from a parent’s perspective...which she knew was quite different.
That “aha moment” also led her to develop a multi-volume series, “Puzzled Parent.” The first volume was titled, “A Journey through Autism for the Puzzled Parent: Volume 1.” That was followed by “Stress Relief, Networking, and Advocacy for the Puzzled Parent: Volume 2” and “Faith for the Puzzled Parent: Volume 3.”
“Volume 3 is the heaviest book topic-wise, since it covers more widespread issues such as bullying, isolation, and epilepsy which is an ongoing battle of my son’s.” Miller-Gol said. “I feel it is extremely important to help spread awareness and a bit of education about epilepsy.
One never knows when you might find yourself in a position where you may need to save someone's life.”
Having a great passion for being an advocate for children with developmental disabilities, Miller-Gol is a family resource coordinator for the non-profit organization called ThisAbility in Hopewell. She also is a family navigator with VCU Medical Center under the Center for Family Involvement.
“A family navigator is someone who reaches out to fellow families in the community and offers emotional support and helpful direction to obtain services and resources,” explained Miller-Gol. “I attend educational conferences, speak on autism panels, and do motivational speaking based on my series.”
What is Miller-Gol working on currently?
“I’m in the process of designing a free public workshop on how to communicate with non-verbal children,” shared Miller-Gol with excitement. “And, I'm working on my next book to the “Puzzled Parent” series.
“But...first and foremost...I'm a mother, a wife, and a friend to many. I love helping people, but the most important help of all begins at home. Family First!”
Originally from Rhode Island, Miller-Gol has moved around a lot. She lived in Naples, Fla. for a few years and then made her way overseas to Istanbul, Turkey in 2012 where she worked as a volunteer to help people learn English as a second language.
“I married my husband in 2013 in Istanbul and in 2014, we had our son, the light of our life, Kazim Kit,” shared Miller-Gol.
Her work as an author and advocate is originally not what she trained to do. Miller-Gol is a graduate of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a degree in Graphic Design, and of the Berkeley Haas School of Business, where she earned a certificate in Global Social Entrepreneurship.
“It turns out I was never meant to actually be a graphic designer,” admitted Miller-Gol, “but I am definitely a philanthropist! In 2016, somewhere around 4:00 am...I realized I was meant to be an author. These major realizations in life really do come when we least expect them.”
In the wee hours of the morning, Miller-Gol wrote what was in her heart, which became “The Little Boy Who Didn’t Want To Sleep”.
“It's important to always listen to your gut,” Miller-Gol stressed.
For someone as busy as she stays, what does Miller-Gol do in her spare time? No surprise — reading.
“I'm a huge fan of James Herbert for horror, Janet Evanovich for romantic comedy, Elena Cardone for wisdom and empowerment, and Brene Brown for fine-tuning myself as a public speaker,” Miller-Gol said.
“I absolutely love art, especially traditional drawing with graphite and charcoal,” shared Miller-Gol. “I also have a passion for digital art, photography, book/DVD cover design, and creative writing.”
She also is interested in spiritual healing, crystals and meditation, which she called “super-special” to her heart.
“I believe in miracles!” she said.
Miller-Gol also loves going horseback riding with Kazim and spending time in the country.
“Most of all...I love doing absolutely nothing which is an extremely rare and precious thing,” added Miller-Gol. “Quiet times with a good cup of coffee are cherished.”
What does Miller-Gol dislike?
“Bullying and parent shaming,” stated Miller-Gol strongly. “Negative thinking, giving up, ignorance, and feeding into the lies that life hits us with like...you're too much, your goals are too big.”
Her life’s future goals are simple.
“To be a good mother and wife, to be healthy, to continue writing and publishing the ‘Puzzled Parent’ series, to help as many people as I can, to spread autism awareness and acceptance,” shared Miller-Gol. “...to make someone [anyone] smile every day, and to meet my inspirations.”
After a long silence, she added, “I spent most of my life hearing people telling me what I can’t do or what I’m not capable of doing...and, it made me do all of it! I’ve had people tell me what my son is and isn’t capable of…and, I never stand for it. We are extremely successful at proving them wrong.”
Miller-Gol said she vows to continue advocating strongly to influence as many people as she can in a positive way.
“I hope my mission to do God’s good work through my writing helps people,” shared Miller-Gol. “Or, at least, brings them a sense of peace through chaotic times.”
Kristi K. Higgins can be reached at 804-722-5162 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @KHigginsPI