(Press Release)Biddeford, ME, Sept. 28, 2015 — To significant international acclaim, Maine businessman Derek Volk has released his poignant memoir Chasing the Rabbit: A Dad’s Life Raising a Son on the Spectrum. Co-written with his twenty-four-year-old son Dylan, who has Asperger’s syndrome, the book highlights the Volk family’s significant challenges and heartfelt triumphs as well as the various coping strategies they have employed throughout Dylan’s life.
“Chasing the rabbit,” explains Volk, “is an apt metaphor. In greyhound racing, dogs are lured to race around a track by chasing an artificial rabbit until they cross the finish line, but the greyhound never actually catches the rabbit. For Dylan, he sees normalcy as the rabbit and believes that if he runs fast enough, he can catch it. He doesn’t, no matter how hard he runs.”
The book details the Volk family’s frustration before Dylan’s diagnosis at age eight. It also offers an honest account of the experiences raising a son with Asperger’s, a developmental disorder that most notably affects the ability to socialize with others. Stories in Chasing the Rabbit range from Dylan’s early days to the specific behavioral challenges of his adolescent years to life in the “real world” as he transitioned to a young adult with the dream of pursuing a career in comedy.
Throughout the book, readers are treated to “Dylan’s Take,” which offers Dylan’s perspective on the topic at hand. Volk explains that not only does his son’s voice make the book complete but that he and his wife Amy along with their three daughters learned even more about Dylan when they read his thoughts.
“I wrote this book because I want people to know they are not alone, even when they feel like no one could possibly understand what they are going through with a child who isn’t quite right,” comments Volk. “I want families to have hope that there are better days ahead, and I also want them to know that Asperger’s isn’t always easy to spot. The weird guy at work or that girl in your class who is obsessed with dinosaurs may have more going on than anyone imagines.”
“Chasing the Rabbit is so honest and transparent that as you read, it feels that you are walking on sacred ground, a quiet participant in their intimate family moments. Derek and Dylan’s journey is an inspiration to any family who has struggled with their own uncertainties in how to manage chaotic and unpredictable situations,” shared Dr. Norman E. Thibault, Ph.D., LMFT of St. George, Utah.
About Derek Volk: Derek Volk is a Maine businessman and supporter of autism awareness as well as a volunteer, philanthropist, softball coach, and author. He is currently the president and co-owner of Volk Packaging Corporation, a third-generation family-owned corrugated box manufacturer in Biddeford, Maine. Derek actively participates on the Maine Business Leadership Network (BLN), a national organization that focuses on connecting employers with employees who have disabilities. His own company currently employs those who are deaf, blind, and on the autism spectrum. He is married to Maine state Senator Amy Volk, with whom he has four children.
About Dylan Volk: After years of membership in what his parents often called “the diagnosis of the month club,” Dylan was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of eight. He graduated from high school in 2010. Dylan’s ultimate goal in life is to earn a living making people laugh. He currently lives in Austin, Texas, where he can be seen around town performing stand-up at several open-mic nights. He has also produced satirical videos for his YouTube channel, Dielawn Comedy.