Come Into My World

Story by Alley L. Biniarz 
Photography by Carrie J Photography

From the outside, Rita Miceli’s book Giaci and Me looks like an overnight success; but when you peer behind the scenes, you’ll see that this local mother and educator has spent decades with this story in draft. 

Giaci and Me, which launched in late March of 2024, follows the story of a mother’s journey of loving and raising her Autistic child, Giaci. While covering the practical lessons of raising a child with Autism, the book also takes us into Rita’s world, where she vulnerably shares her fears and expresses some of the deepest parts of what many caregivers may feel but may never have had the space to share. This was one of the hindering elements for Rita in finding the courage to get the story into the public. “It’s so personal and raw. I feel like I cut myself open and let people see really deep down,” Rita shares. “I was so afraid of putting it out there to show that vulnerability and my inner thoughts. I was ashamed of a lot of it.” 

Before the book took off, Rita’s twin daughters had their own idea of how to share their family’s story and educate the community on the day-to-day realities of Autism. They started a TikTok page for Giaci (@giacimiceli), which has reached over 600k followers today. “It was hard for me to let the girls do this,” Rita admits. “I knew there was such beauty in sharing him with the world, but
I still had fears of how he would be received. But the educator in me wanted people to understand how we operate. Most people don’t see the day-to-day of what it takes to go somewhere with him or how we prepare him for an event.” 

Together they share the behind the scenes of seemingly ordinary events, like getting Giaci ready to say the prayer before his sister’s wedding by buying a microphone and allowing him to practice every day before the event, then bringing him to the venue weeks in advance to physically prepare him for the space. With change being a challenge for Giaci, the family has learned how to teach him the skills to achieve an everyday event that others may take for granted, like getting a haircut or going out to eat at a restaurant. 

The TikTok page has been a success so far and Rita says that it’s been incredible to see how the strangers of the world have fallen in love with Giaci. With his fame also came messages from other families from around the world who saw Giaci living as an adult and the beauty of what could become a reality for their own story. All the questions that came rolling in confirmed for Rita the deep need for resources in the community and she was ready to provide the answers she always wanted. “This is what drove me to get the story out there. I knew I had to sedate my fears and take a deep breath. This is what it was all for.” 

What started as a yearning to provide the community with the educational resource on Autism that she didn’t have, soon spun into the story we see published today; one that weaves in these personal elements of faith, culture and family. Rita realized the story that needed to be told was her own, where she showed the years of coping, learning and unlearning all while sorting out her own belief systems. 

“As a mother, I envisioned a different life for him and us as a family. I had thoughts of what he would be like, the relationships we could have and I had to mourn that. That’s not what we have and I had to come to realize I couldn’t change this about him. The acceptance piece took me a while—I am a stubborn Italian girl,” Rita laughs. “And I wanted him to come live in my world. I had to learn to accept, reassess and change my perspective with what beauty I had in front of me.” 

Rita wished for so long to have had more guidance at the beginning of her journey and she is humbled that her book can come in to help a new generation of families, caregivers, educators and professionals along theirs. She has been thrilled with the response to her book so far and is in awe of everyone who has already reached out with kindness, tears and with reassurance. Giaci and Me is exactly what it needs to be: a resource for readers to feel what a family goes through. “It’s hard to understand what anyone goes through if you’re not walking in these shoes, but by reading our story, you can be put into our shoes for a period of time and transported into our life. You can feel through words what we’re feeling and understand our journey a little better.”  

Rita confides that there were many times throughout her life where she felt consumed by the fog and darkness of unknowing and her desperation for answers and although no two stories are alike, Rita hopes that this book will be good company for families who may feel alone upon receiving a diagnosis. “As hard as it is to ask for help, which I learned the hard way, it is so important. There’s so much power in community and in connecting with others going through it and there are so many people out there willing to help,” Rita offers. 

She leaves those of us who are walking with Autism with the message she shared in her book launch speech: “When we first started our journey, it felt like an insurmountable mountain. Acceptance felt like uncharted territories unknown to me. But mountains are made to be climbed and uncharted territories are meant to be explored and learned about.”

Giaci and Me is not just Rita’s story, it’s for everyone who loves or cares for someone who is Neurodivergent to embrace that there can be joy and happiness with how life presents itself. It’s never as easy as it looks from the outside, but the peaks and valleys are well worth the trip. For more information visit

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