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About Joseph Rinaldo

Joseph Rinaldo by day works as Credit and Financial Manager for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning distributor. At night or whenever he can find the time, he writes. When he first started writing, he thought being a numbers guy would make him an oddity as an author. That’s proved to be wrong. The more people he meets in this industry, the more he runs across accountants and CFOs. Apparently, creativity infects a variety of people. Of course, he has the same dream as other writers. He hopes his book sells a million copies and becomes a smash hit movie. A Quote from Joseph: “Selling ebooks isn’t the get-rich-quick scheme I thought it was before being published. It’s been a lot of work.”

Down Syndrome and Public Perception

So many times in my journey as the parent of a child with Down syndrome (now 38 years old), l I have heard people say, “Oh, kids with Down syndrome are so affectionate and loving and want to hug people all the time…..” etc. I am here to tell you that classifying all people with Down as “affectionate and loving” is the same thing as saying all African-Americans love fried chicken and watermelon. It’s preposterous.

People with Down syndrome have one thing in common – an extra chromosome on their 21st pair. That’s pretty much it. Oh, they have similar features, but as to their personalities and behavior, they are as different as people without special needs are.

My daughter is a wonderful, intelligent, funny, confident adult. She is NOT publicly affectionate, and she really considers her personal space her own. If you met her, she would certainly NOT come up and hug you. As a matter of fact, she has a great deal of respect for other people’s personal space as well. I’m not saying she doesn’t love some people – she certainly does love her family and friends. But don’t expect her to love you automatically just because she has an extra chromosome. It ain’t gonna happen. You have to earn her love and respect, just as you would if she didn’t have Down. If would not be any more appropriate for you to hug her than it would be for you to hug any stranger upon meeting them, and you certainly shouldn’t expect a hug from her any more than you would from any other stranger. After I married her mother in 1999, it took nearly a year for her to feel comfortable enough with me to hug me goodnight!

And so, a word to the wise, as I’m sure any other parent of a child or adult with Down would tell you – they are so much more like “us” than like each other. Don’t assume anything about people with Down that you wouldn’t assume with “us”.

Because of my relationship with my daughter and her mother, I have become deeply involved in the community that serves the needs of those with intellectual disabilities. This has made a deep emotional impact on me, and I am inspired to educate others about this population and the gifts they bring to all of us. Several of the books I’ve written (including the two that are currently available on Amazon, A SPY AT HOME and HAZARDOUS CHOICES) have characters with Down syndrome. These characters are far from the stereotype many people have of these folks. They are just people, doing the things people do, feeling the things people feel, and yearning for the things people desire. Living with and writing about a character with Down has given me a much deeper understanding for what these individuals are capable of. It has been a rich experience.

*Joseph Rinaldo

Joseph has two novels available Hazardous Choices and A Spy at Home.

After surviving life in a violent Chicago street gang through his high school years, Darnell Jackson’s future appears promising. A football scholarship gives him the chance to escape the thug lifestyle.

During his first year in college, Darnell safely resides in a small Kentucky town, playing Division Two college football and trying to make something of himself. Adjusting to the new surroundings proves tough, but a teammate and a girl give him hope that his future will be better than his past.

In the summer after his freshman year, he returns to the old neighborhood to be with his mother. The gang reasserts its hold on him, and the leader orders Darnell to kill a member of a rival gang.

Nearly dying in a gang fight, Darnell shoots an enemy gangbanger. This forces Darnell to re-evaluate his future. As a result, he lies to the mercurial leader of his gang, claiming he completed his assignment.

After “doing work” for his gang, Darnell receives permission to head back to school and the security of small-town life.

When the head gangbanger learns of Darnell’s lie, the small Kentucky town isn’t so safe anymore. Available from Amazon

A retired CIA operative comes to believe he wasted his professional life not only promoting questionable American policies, but missing life with his family. To ease the pain he diverts millions that the CIA expected him to use funding a coup attempt that would establish a pro-American government in an African country. Seeing the coup would fail, Garrison decides to save the money for himself. You, the reader, can decide if he’s a villain with evil intent, a hero with altruistic motives, or a regular guy sick of working for peanuts in a dangerous environment.

Back at home he and his wife look forward to their golden years being luxuriously comfortable and opulently relaxed. Unfortunately, after his wife dies in a tragic accident, he must learn all that she knew about caring for Noah, their mentally retarded son. After a life of planning for contingencies, the former spy must deal with the possibility that he may die before his son. Who will care for the son when the dad spent a life out of the country and now has no one to lean on? Available from Amazon.

Joseph can be found on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and his Author Website. You’ll also find his books on Orangeberry Book Collective.