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Devereux New York adult writes children’s book about journey with cerebral palsy


Samantha VanAlstyne, who receives services through Devereux New York, recently wrote a children’s book titled, “Hi, I’m Sam,” about her journey with cerebral palsy and learning self-acceptance.

VanAlstyne says she began the writing process in October 2020, and the book was published in January 2021.

Samantha VanAlstyne is a devoted aunt, dedicated college student – and most recently – published author.
VanAlstyne, who receives services through Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health New York, wrote a children’s book titled, “Hi, I’m Sam,” about her journey with cerebral palsy and learning self-acceptance.

“The whole thing started as a conversation with my niece who’s 7. She wanted to know why I live in a group home instead of with my dad,” VanAlstyne explained. “Then, the idea evolved into a teaching tool for children and adults who might not otherwise know how to broach the subject.”

Devereux New York Executive Director John Lopez noted, “We are extremely proud of Samantha and all she has accomplished. She is a talented young woman who, during the COVID-19 pandemic, decided to take the time to write and publish a book – on top of completing several college courses. At Devereux New York, we strive to help the individuals we serve pursue their dreams, and Samantha is doing just that!”

Writing from the heart

VanAlstyne says she began the writing process in October 2020, and the book was published in January 2021.
The description on the back cover reads, “Meet Sam, a young woman who is a little different than most. But that’s okay! Come along on this journey of learning about who you are, and that with the right attitude and a little help from those you love, anything is possible.”

“I learned from this experience that the book was more needed by the public than I anticipated,” VanAlstyne shared. “I had zero intention of selling more than a handful of copies, but here we are a few months later having sold 200-plus copies.”

A future filled with possibility

In addition to writing, VanAlstyne enjoys knitting, crocheting and watching movies and TV shows on Netflix. She is currently pursuing an associate’s degree in psychology from Hudson Valley Community College with the hope of one day helping individuals with substance use disorder.

She credits Devereux New York team members with helping her “come into my own and become more independent.”

As for her next writing venture, VanAlstyne says, “There will be sequels to ‘Hi, I’m Sam,’ I’m just not sure when.”

Learn more about Devereux New York, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


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