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A North Texas mom was inspired to write a book after her daughter’s autism diagnosis, and she hopes now to inspire others touched by it.

“These are my very best friends for life.”

Meet Lizzie. A high school cheerleader, volleyball player, back flip expert, and the inspiration behind the book United in Autism: Finding Strength Inside the Spectrum. The was written by her mom, Julie Hornok.

“When you hear the words, ‘Your child has autism,’ you think you can fix it. You think, ‘We’ll do therapy for a couple of years and we’ll be back to normal.’ Your life totally changes with the diagnosis,” Julie says.

With Lizzie’s diagnosis at a young age, Julie experienced firsthand the hardships that come along with it. “Your finances are drained. Your emotional stress is tapped out. You have given everything you have to this child. There is no time for relationships,” she says.

Julie decided to find the perfect book that would help her relax and connect with others going through the same thing. When she discovered no such thing existed, she decided to write it herself. “I interviewed 30 different parents around the world. I wanted all different parents, from all over the world, with kids on different parts of the spectrum — in different religions and races,” she says.

The result, United in Autism: Finding Strength Inside the Spectrum, a book Julie designed to empower and inspire everyone touched  by autism. “Taking joy in the journey, because even when they are pretty severely affected, they are amazing people,” she says.

Amazing people like Lizzie, who is pretty busy as the new leader of her cheer team and the creator of a new pep squad for younger girls. “We made these to put on their lockers, so they won’t feel left out because the older girls have locker covers,” Lizzie said.

Foreword for the book was written by Dr. Temple Grandin. A majority of the book’s proceeds are going to autism-focused non-profits around the country.

United In Autism: Finding Strength Inside The Spectrum is available now for pre-order on Amazon.