Tag Archive: autismawareness


As a parent we want nothing but the best for our children and to watch them succeed. That still rings true when you’re a parent to a child on the spectrum only it’s harder to see the big picture or feel major judgmental guilt from yourself / others while your child is going through their daily struggles. Preeti’s post came up in my feed and it was a good reminder that I needed to tell myself, perhaps it will be useful to you as well. It doesn’t matter if your child is on the spectrum, is “normal”, has ADD or whatever their story may be all their paths will be different and it’s important to remember that being judgemental of themselves or other will get them no where. Be proud of who you are and what you yourself have accomplished, because this is your path that you are taking in life.

 

Original writer:Preeti Dixit
Original post: https://themighty.com/2018/03/from-one-autism-parent-to-another/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Autism_Page

 

Being an autism parent can be hard. Not only do we have to deal with substantial challenges while raising our kids, but we have to do so while facing social isolation. Ours can be a lonely road, marred by self-doubt and plagued by lack of validation.

While other parents talk about their kids excelling at school and sports and extra-curricular activities, we are trying to help our kids manage their sensory issues — perhaps to brush their teeth without crying, wash their hair without screaming, cut their nails without panicking, and generally go through the day without having a meltdown. Only another autism parent can understand why my son getting a haircut at a salon makes me want to celebrate, and why my son playing at the park makes me want to cry.

Parents of neurotypical kids cannot understand what we are going through because they haven’t experienced what we experience daily. It is important to keep this in mind, and not judge them or be affected by their judgment. It is also important to accept that our paths diverged the moment we started our journey and stop comparing ourselves to them and our lives to their lives.

It is very much possible to live a happy and fulfilling life with autism once we let go of our idea of a “good” life and focus on the good (which you will find in abundance once you start looking) in our life instead.

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When you see a blog that hits so close to home you have no choice but to share it

Written by : Rhona Silverbush
Original blog found here:
The Advice I’d Never Heard About Supporting a Child on the Autism Spectrum

“My son Jack gets on kicks. Remember those Magna Doodle drawing boards? We had several minis (understatement!), because we couldn’t leave the house without one for what amounted to a large percentage of my son’s young life. One of the many reasons?

One of the sweetest (says his unbiased mom) was his cash register kick when he was about 6. He had calculators with rolls of paper that print out the calculations that are punched in, and they were his “cash registers.” Everyone who works at our corner grocer has known Jack his whole life, and they were charmed by his sincere desire to help out. “Jack’s going to help me ring up customers,” one would declare when they saw us enter. “Oh, no — he helped you last time. I need his help today,” another would say. And Jack would beam. He’d take his station alongside one of the cashiers, who would call out the prices to him as he or she was doing the actual ringing up of a customer’s items, and Jack would happily plug in the numbers and crow out the final tally. The cashier would quietly adjust that to account for tax and complete the transaction with the customer, and on they’d go to the next.Jack would use them as signs — he loves signs. He’d pretend that a walk we were on was a train ride, and he’d write each stop on the board. We’d pause along our way whenever we “pulled into the station.”

The other sweetest? Label makers, when Jack was 7 and 8. He’d print labels for people in the building and the neighborhood that were mini “gifts” to them, and he would beam when the recipient “got it” that he or she had just been gifted something precious.

Every year, he trick-or-treats with his dad, always in a very singular costume of his devising, and goes into stores in the neighborhood. “What are you this year, Jack?” or “Wow, Jack, that’s amazing,” are the common refrains. And we live in a building with a doorman now, where Jack sometimes likes to sit in the lobby with his LED sign reading “Welcome to Our Building.” The sign scrolls. It has three colors. It’s truly awesome. In case you hadn’t guessed by now, Jack is on the autism spectrum.

Don’t get me wrong — Jack is actually quite shy. He hates being in the spotlight with every fiber of his being. But as I hope you’ve gleaned by now, he seems to enjoy connecting and forging relationships with people as much if not more than anyone you’ll ever meet, and that tends to win out over his shyness — so long as he can engage in his own way.

There’s nothing shy about me, though, and I wind up getting asked a lot to speak with moms of children newly diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. I recently spoke by phone with one such mom who said, “My 8-year-old son does a lot of things people find annoying, and they get irritated. I just don’t know what to do. He doesn’t mean any harm.”

I hear her loud and clear. Same here. Jack’s challenges aren’t always visible to the naked eye, and it can be easy for a stranger on the street to misinterpret them. As he gets older and wants to go places on his own, I worry that he’ll bump into someone and be scolded, or worse.

I had two answers for the mom on the phone. The first was obvious: As her boy gets older, teach him to advocate for himself. “I’m sorry — I wasn’t ignoring you. I have trouble with auditory processing and didn’t know you were talking to me. Can you please repeat that?”

But equally important, I believe, was my second answer, and it’s not one I’ve heard or read anywhere, which is why I’m writing about it now: This mom and her child’s dad need to get out there and actively build their son’s “village.”

A dear friend of mine lives in an actual village — a small seaside town, where nearly everyone knows her son, who is also on the autism spectrum. They’ve known him since he was born, so they really know him. In their minds, he’s one of theirs, and so they all adore him and look out for him. I don’t live in a small town, but my neighborhood in my big city is akin to one, and Jack’s dad and I made sure from the get-go that Jack’s neighbors knew him — really knew him — so that they, too, could truly “get,” appreciate and care about him.

Communities often rally around those they perceive as their own. I urged this mom of the 8-year-old to get him out there in ways he could tolerate and see to it he becomes familiar to those around him. And to fill them in about his diagnosis — engage their empathy, which can override their prior irritation. He’s a wonderful boy with many attributes, strengths and challenges. Let them see the full picture. I urged the mom to turn the people in her area from strangers into her son’s community, so that they, too, can see what she sees when she looks at and smiles on him. Yes, incidents with strangers will be unavoidable. But there could be far fewer strangers and far more people looking out for him as he grows older, far more people cheering him on. Far more people sincere when they say their version of our corner cashiers’ “No, you had Jack with you last time — I get him with me today!”

 

 

While reading a fellow bloggers newest post I felt the need to share it because it struck a cord. It made me stop and think about  how being a parent to a child on the autism spectrum (any parent in general can relate), we try to do everything to ensure that we are able to provide the best for our children however some times we often over look what they really need / would really benefit from. It was a good reminder to take an extra moment to really think about what my son and I are doing let alone looking at the bigger picture when it comes to helping my son grow.

The post was called Learning to Be More Open to What My Son on the Autism Spectrum Really Needs.”    and was written by Kim McCafferty.

“Twelve years ago this month, I walked into our pediatrician’s office with my then-17-month-old son in tow, hoping for a prescription for reflux. I walked out shaking, crushed by our doctor’s callousness, and clutching four mis-stapled and badly copied articles about autism in my trembling hands. Our pediatrician never uttered the word himself, just told me to call a developmental pediatrician, thrust some numbers on a stickie into my hand and left the room.

He wasn’t our pediatrician much longer.

I remember being in shock as I left the office, as we’d just been in four weeks prior and our insensitive doctor had not seemed that concerned with the delays our toddler was demonstrating. I also remember as I made my way to the pharmacy to fill that prescription, which would at least let me help him with his reflux. I called upon my experience with the few autistic children I’d had as a teacher in my homeroom and classroom, thinking those few encounters would give me a leg up on raising my own autistic child. Boy, was I wrong.

As they say on “Game of Thrones,” I knew nothing, Kim McCafferty.

The year was 2004, a time when Jenny McCarthy was talked about a lot in the autism community. While navigating doctors appointments and the murky and ultimately deeply disappointing world of what passed for Early Intervention in northern Virginia, I spent any time I wasn’t interacting with my son researching autism on the internet, and God was it confusing.

There were parents claiming the only positive outcome of this diagnosis could be a “cure.”

There were autistic advocates and parents of autistic children claiming an alternative neurology cannot and should not be “cured.”

There were professionals informing me that studies showed that sign language gave kids an edge over learning to talk and should always be employed.

There were professionals informing me that alternative methods should always be explored, matching the child’s strengths to the appropriate communication system.

There were parents telling me not to vaccinate.

There were physicians telling me I’d better vaccinate.

There were parents explaining to me that a public school program was the way to go for their opportunities for mainstreaming, which should be my ultimate goal.

There were teachers sharing with me that despite the push for it, mainstreaming might not be the most important goal regarding my son’s future education.

As I look over my list, I realize not all that much has changed in a dozen years.

I did my best by my son Justin in those early and isolated years, reading and attending workshops whenever possible. I often felt the two of us were drowning back then, combating my son’s insomnia, aggression, gastrointestinal disorders and his adherence to having things a certain way (he would eventually receive a dual diagnosis of OCD and autism). My husband worked, our families were three hours away, and all my friends either had careers or were busy raising babies of their own. I often felt adrift at sea, anchor-less.

Ultimately what I clung to to get through it all were my choices regarding Justin’s therapy, usually based on articles I’d read, clutching their information to me as tightly as I had clutched those initial articles which had in one instant completely altered my world.

I displayed my own rigid behavior regarding that information. According to studies I’d read, sign language more often gave way to words, in my opinion a must for my boy even though his fine and gross motor abilities were delayed.

I was told that he should absolutely attend a public school program both for the chance he’d mainstream, and so he’d make friends with neurotypical peers.

And if it weren’t for professionals who gently offered me alternatives to both of these choices and asked me to keep an open mind, despite my best intentions, I might have done my son more harm than good.

After we moved to New Jersey and actually received appropriate Early Intervention services (yay the Garden State!), I clearly recall one of the therapists from Rutgers gently pointing out to me that after more than a year of working with my son, he only had a handful of signs, and some of those were used sporadically at best. I remember initially feeling that using the PECS system meant giving up on words, instead of focusing on the fact that my then 22-month old might actually end up with a way to communicate his needs other than by mostly crying.

If I hadn’t listened, he might have spent many more months often frustrated by his mother’s inability to read his mind.

I had that same rigid mindset originally as from Virginia we attempted to find the most fantastical, amazing, perfect autism program in the perfect NJ town (oy!) because I wanted my son in the public schools for the mainstreaming opportunities, and I didn’t want him sent out of district. At the tender age of 3 I wanted him to have opportunities to engage with neurotypical peers. I wanted him to have friends, to interact with others. This was the most important goal in my life, more than losing that last seven “baby weight” pounds or consuming large amounts of chocolate every day.

OK, that last is still an important goal.

After four years in two different public school districts, it became apparent that the only one who cared about his interactions with neurotypical peers was me, and that his home school district really didn’t have an appropriate program for him anymore. I remember my mom, a special educator with three decades of experience, gently telling me to look at the big picture for Justin, that perhaps him having friends was not the most important issue now, that in fact Justin really didn’t seem to care about his peers. I recall making the mental shift to becoming open to sending him to a private autism school, where educators could help him focus on the academics he loved so much, where down the road he would have better access to job programs and adult programs, and hell, even a swimming pool he’d frequent daily during his eight-week summer program.

I’m still learning how to make the shift from wanting for Justin what I think he should need to what he really needs (it remains a learning curve for me), and by keeping an open mind, I know my choices for him have contributed to the thriving, happy teenager who loves school and loves his life. I still struggle to do this with both my boys (what parent doesn’t), often employing a “what would Zach/Justin do” mentality when considering my options.

And I still make mistakes. I am still sometimes slow to recognize a shift in need, still working on ridding myself of “what should be.

But as with many things in life, I’m still a work in progress, and keeping an open mind is one goal I plan to keep.

their opportunities for mainstreaming, which should be my ultimate goal.

I came across this and figure it’d be a good reminder with the holiday season about to ramp up.

 

Originally written by Heather Boorman 
And can be found here:
5 Ways Friends Can Support Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum

 

“I know many of us are probably glad to have another Halloween behind us and don’t really want to revisit the holiday for another 360 days (or in three days when our kids start planning what they’re going to be for next Halloween). Bear with me, though. This story does include Halloween, but it isn’t really about Halloween at all.

My husband Jon and I often work opposite schedules, and Halloween 2016 happened to fall on a night when I was parenting solo. I mentioned this to my friend, Rachel, who immediately invited me and my three kids over to eat dinner and trick-or-treat with them.

About halfway through dinner, I could tell my daughter KBear, who is on the autism spectrum, was getting overstimulated. About three blocks into trick-or-treating, she said her legs hurt. About three-and-a-half blocks into trick-or-treating, she said she wanted to go back. My 11-year-old and 4-year-old were nowhere near being done.

Before I even had a second to fret about what to do, my best friend came to the rescue! I’m pretty sure Rachel was wearing a cape and there was a superhero anthem playing in the background as she leapt in and calmly asked KBear, “Would you be OK going back with me? I think the baby’s had enough, too, and we can just go back and relax.” KBear slowly nodded her head and journeyed off with my friend. My shoulders dropped, my mind eased, and my boys and I carried on and stayed out as long as they wanted to.

I remember the first time KBear had a meltdown in front of Rachel. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen or how my friend would respond. I heard her son ask questions and express uncertainty about what was going on. And then I heard my friend calmly explain to her son, in a nonjudgmental and totally compassionate way, that KBear has some differing wiring that can make it difficult to control her body and emotions sometimes. I heard my friend help her son relate by bringing up examples of moments when he had felt out of sorts or overloaded. I heard my friend calmly ask what she could do, what would be helpful, and I saw her patiently sit with calmness, acceptance and love. She occasionally asked if there was anything she could do and then refocused attention off KBear’s meltdown by quietly entertaining the other kiddos. After the meltdown, my friend hugged me, told me I’m a good mom, and reinforced that she’s here for whatever I need.

I am tearing up now as I write about it. Why? Because I feel she was perfectly supportive. Because so many people respond differently. Family, friends and strangers oftentimes back away. Occasionally, they’ll stare or say rude comments. Sometimes they’ll give unsolicited advice. And I get it. Many people don’t know how to respond. Most often I don’t feel like I know how to respond, and I do this every day. How can I expect other people to understand and know what to do?

I didn’t realize just how much I was missing the type of support my friend provided until she gave it to me. I know my family and friends are there and would do anything to help, but I didn’t even know what would be helpful to ask for. They regularly ask what they can do, or tell me they don’t know what to do. And until Rachel intuitively showed me, I couldn’t put words to what I needed.

So I’ll use Rachel’s beautiful examples to highlight what I, and possibly other parents, would find helpful in the midst of a meltdown.

1. Respectfully taking initiative. One of the things I appreciate most is Rachel respects my role as the parent and follows my lead as I’m dealing with KBear, but she simultaneously steps in to simply do the other things that need attention. She entertains the other kids. She continues making the snack. She provides quiet space. In the midst of managing a meltdown, my mind is working fast to try to address safety and emotion regulation. I cannot always think beyond the immediate risk to provide direction for all the other stuff. It can be helpful when others just take the lead on those.

2. Occasionally asking if there’s something I need. She doesn’t ask too often, which I find helpful given my state of my mind, as described above, but every once in a while I’ll hear a simple, “Anything you need?” It reminds me my daughter and I are not in it alone. It gives me the opportunity to ask for something we’d need without having to take my full attention away from my daughter.

3. Validation. As parents of children on the autism spectrum, we sometimes live in high stress. We often need to simultaneously plan everything out and be prepared to have all our plans derailed as behaviors occur. To be seen, to be heard, to be validated, I’ve found, can be so incredibly healing.

4. Validation. No, this isn’t a typo. We need validation of the challenges, but we also need validation that we’re doing a good job. It can be so easy to doubt ourselves as parents. And something that worked yesterday may not work today. We can easily feel like we’re failing or completely screwing up. Hearing from my friend that I’m a good mom, hearing from my family that I am patient and compassionate with my daughter — these are things I cling to on the days when my thoughts tell me otherwise.

5. Eyes filled with compassion and acceptance. I feel this is by far the most helpful thing. I’ve found fear, uncertainty, worry and concern can all start to look like judgment, whether intended or not. Eyes that turn away because they don’t want to stare can feel like avoidance, judgment, or like we’re all alone, or that we’re too much for others. Looking the meltdown square in the face, seeing the people who are in pain underneath the behaviors, and showing compassion and straightforward acceptance helps set my mind at ease. It helps me be able to focus entirely on my daughter and my own reactions instead of getting distracted by potential judgment. It can create an environment of love, which girds me up to respond with love, which I think is far more effective in any meltdown situation.

And here’s the deal, it is necessary for us parents to have this. It is necessary for our own well-being to have at least one or two people who can provide these things. It is necessary to feel supported, understood, like part of a team. And sometimes, we can simply be blessed with people in our lives — like Rachel — who do these things naturally. More often, we may need to teach people what to do. Most often, loved ones want to help; they just don’t know how. And if you take the time to teach them, to assertively ask for your own needs to be met, you just might be able to enjoy trick-or-treating next year, too!”

From one parent to another…

If you hear about an autistic child wandering away from their parent, home or school on the news PLEASE DON’T CRITICIZE THEM!!!

My son is eight and this is a constant worry that I have from the moment he wakes up to the time when he closes his eyes and sleeps. It’s why when I came across a blog post about this topic I felt the importance to share it.

 

The original blog can be found here :
When a Parent Gets Criticized If Their Child With Autism Wanders Away

It’s written by

Every year I feel like I hear more stories of children with autism who have wandered away from their families. It’s often one of the scariest feelings in the world when that situation occurs. Instantly the trigger kicks in, and it becomes a time when families start alerting law agencies, neighborhood watches and their friends and family members to help in the search for their child.

The issue I constantly see is when a parent receives criticism for not doing a better job of protecting and watching their children. Often times, the interrogation begins and these parents are asked why they didn’t do this and why they didn’t do that, while others say they would never let their child get into that situation to begin with.

Whenever I hear someone make a comment like that, my bottom line is simple: Never criticize anyone until you know all the facts.

Being a parent to a child with autism can often be a 24/7 job. You support them and you become their champion for supports. Until you’ve walked in their shoes and understand that child as well as that parent does, you don’t do anything by criticizing them during a time like this. The important thing to do is find the child.

When children go missing, it becomes imperative to find them as soon as possible. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the nation’s clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children, and they do their best to assist families and law enforcement agencies to help find missing children. New technologies are also being developed that focus on safety for families, from smart homes to wearable tracking devices, so you know where your child is at all times.

While I never went missing in my life, I was prone to bolting during my first few years of adolescence growing up on the spectrum. Each individual is different, but today this cause is near and dear to my heart. Every life is precious. And according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, 49 percent of “survey respondents reported their child with an ASD had attempted to elope at least once after age 4 years.” 

There is still so much more we can learn out there about how to protect our loved ones. When the time comes, though, please don’t criticize. Instead, help explore ways with them of getting things back on track.

Be safe and show love during both the good and bad times we all have. I pray for the safety for our families often and always.

If you are looking to learn more about this subject you can find free resources at The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website here.

 

Even though Kerry’s blog was written about children on the autism spectrum (an the main reason I am sharing it since I’m a mom to a wonderfully amazing autistic little one) this mentality of quick to criticize needs to end when any child goes missing. The line  “When the time comes, though, please don’t criticize. Instead, help explore ways with them of getting things back on track.” needs to be remembered and I hope by sharing the original blog post it will help the message get back out there.

 

 

So to keep up with April being Autism Awareness / Acceptance month I wanted to share this animated video.

In my opinion it is by far one of the best videos for children of all ages to see so those who are on the spectrum get a little more compassion/understanding.

 

 

 

At first I wasn’t sure how / if I was even going to share this on the blog but with today being the start to Autism Awareness Month I think it would be rather fitting to finally share it.

I am writing this in hopes that someone can help or perhaps a bunch of people can help. I’ve already contacted many children’s charities, autism foundations as well as big name companies only to be turned away and I’m starting to feel deterred in even asking for help anymore. Like many parents with children who have Autism daily tasks that are simple and enjoyable for other children can be a huge task to even start for our family (like going for a walk when it’s nice out). For those who have read my blog before you are aware that my soon to be eight year old little man is on the spectrum and was diagnosed a couple of years back with being high functioning autism. Even though he is a happy, healthy little boy like anyone on the spectrum has his challenges it’s why I’m asking for help with our GoFund Me to help make his life a little easier. You see we are without a vehicle and when we had a vehicle (it was under Keegan’s biological fathers name and when we divorced he sold it) Keegan loved going on nature walks, special events (mostly train or animal related), camping and going on other random adventures that little did he know were educational all while being fun. Since 2013 Keegan and I have had to rely on family/friends for help, however since a majority of them work a standard 9 to 5  we can only get transportation help on weekends which means that during the week Keegan and I take public transit. This is overly tricky for Keegan since he gets overstimulated by the sounds/smells on public transit. Since we have no other option and are stuck to rely on public transit Keegan regularly shows up to appointments physically tired from being overstimulated, can’t focus at the tasks that need to be done and has mood issues/out bursts. If this wasn’t an issue in itself he has also missed out on school field trips, birthday parties, specialized events (like the ones held by the Canucks Autism Network and Pacific Autism Family Network) and even after school programs such as soccer, swimming lessons, gymnastics..etc. I know that asking for help with a vehicle is a lot to ask for but hopefully someone can help so Keegan can help feel like a “normal” kid and partake in things that he shows interests in.

I’ve already contacted every children’s charity, autism support group/organization/charity, Justin Trudeau /my city mayor / city counsel / other branches of the government, every local vehicle dealership and big name companies…etc all to be told “We’re sorry to hear about you and Keegan story but at this time there is nothing we can do to help” . Charities (like Variety, United Way, Presidents Choice Children’s Charity..etc) say “Funding is limited” or ” We don’t help with transportation have you tried contacting local companies“. Meanwhile those companies reply with “Sorry we don’t help individuals only charities , have you tried them?“.  I have even applied for disability grants, low income grants and children’s with disability grants all to be told they can’t help with transportation either. I have well over a hundred e-mails (No, I’m not exaggerating) to show that all these places that claim to help children with disabilities don’t really want to help ALL the children with disabilities even if their parent has letters from professionals (like their child’s pediatrician and speech therapist) backing up their request for help along with every piece of medical history showing that their child does in fact have autism.  Even our GoFund Me hasn’t had much help, don’t get me wrong I am very grateful for any donation no matter how big or small but I just though that perhaps with it being shared well over 200+ times we would of had more donations by now (as of writing this we’re at $20).

I’ve started asking for help and applying for grants at the start of this year and every day since then I’ve heard some sort of “No, we’re not going to help your son” even when asking if they could just share our GoFund Me link. I’m a mixed of emotions (angered at the so called children’s charities / autism foundations, frustrated at the situation as a whole, saddened by the fact that it seems like I really am doing this all on my own which feels like it’s going to take forever since we’re considered / are low income…etc) and as much as I feel like giving up I know I won’t/can’t because it truly would make my son’s life so much easier / better for him . It’s just now getting harder for me to stay true to myself when I am then asked for help by those in my son/my life or even complete strangers (Yes, I’m that person who will give a stranger my shirt or buy a homeless person a warm drink / meal…etc )because even though it’s easy to turn people away or leave someone in the lurch some times the smallest gesture can give someone hope and help them better themselves even if it is just for 24hours or perhaps change their mind about helping out others when they see someone in need of a helping hand.

If you want to read more about my son and my story or help our GoFund Me (by sharing or donating) our story can be found here :

https://www.gofundme.com/letsmakelivingwithautismeasier

I don’t really know how else to end this blog entry other than by saying that it really is true that parents will try to do everything / anything to help their children and to those who may be in a similar situation as my son and me don’t give up. I know you feel like you want to but don’t do it, you will find a way ❤

blue-puzzle-pieces-and-paint-splashes-background_23-2147491304

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-6-29-23-pm
It’s that time of year again but this year instead of a necklace you can show your support via these lovely earrings. They can be bough at any London Drugs location across British Columbia and Alberta, are only $20 and the proceeds go to the newly built Pacific Autism Family Centre

The puzzle piece to me has many meanings the most important part is that it is a small piece to help represent my son. No matter what he will always be my son, my world, my heart and my reason for doing a lot of the things I do. Without him I wouldn’t have a complete picture and don’t think my life, much like a puzzle, would ever be complete.

Autism is something we’re still trying to understand since everyone who is effected by autism is affected differently, even if they are on the same part of the spectrum. I’ve mentioned the following groups / sites before for those looking for support / information or just to see that you’re not alone and your child (or yourself) will be just fine even though they have autism. Autism doesn’t need a cure it needs understanding and less ignorance by those who don’t have it in their lives either by themselves, family or friends. There are many successful people who have kept their autism quiet in fear or being judged or thought less of. We hear about some of their stories but in the end anyone autism or not are capable of wonderful things and can be/do anything they work for.

In case you missed the links to the group / sites I normally mention when I bring up autism awareness here they are again.

Pacific Autism Family Centre,
a centre of excellence / network of supports for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (both young and old) and their families across the province.
http://pacificautismfamily.com/

Bryan’s’ group
, it is a great source of support for those with Autism or parents / friends of those who are living with Autism:
https://www.facebook.com/AspergerSyndromeAwareness/

Autism Speaks Canada, has lots of information and goes into deeper detail then I ever could.
http://www.autismspeaks.ca/

Canucks Autism Network (CAN), they provide year-round, high- quality sports, recreational, arts, and social programs for individuals and families living with autism, while spreading awareness and providing training in communities across British Columbia.
http://www.canucksautism.ca/

When my son Keegan was diagnosed with Autism, it helped shed some light on why some things are the way they are. With his diagnoses came a whole new world of information that would be overwhelming for anyone, let alone a newly single parent who like any parent just wants the best for their child. I came across Puzzled Jewelry while learning about autism activity groups / random information on autism itself and the Pacific Autism Family Centre, since then I have followed their projects that bring more awareness to those with autism.

This year Puzzled Jewelry are doing it again and came up with wonderful puzzle piece earrings that will be hitting the shelves of London Drugs at all locations across British Columbia in March. HOWEVER you can get yours early with the purchase of your ticket to their fundraiser  A Night to Support The Pacific Autism Family Centre . It will be held on February 18th, 2017 and will be a night filled with food, drinks, music, dancing as well as some casino fun! Plus when you buy your ticket you’ll get the lovely earrings before ANYONE ELSE ! !

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Tickets to the event can be bought here:
https://tricitiesbc.snapd.com/#/events/view/1015018

For those who can’t make it to the even but still want to purchase a pair of earrings remember you won’t miss out, these will be available March 2017.

If you want more information for the Pacific Autism Family Centre it can be found here:
http://pacificautismfamily.com/

To find out more about Puzzled Jewelry you can find them on Facebook and their website

Again I’d like to personally thank the moms who started Puzzled Jewelry for not only making cute jewelry but more importantly bringing more awareness to autism and helping the Pacific Autism Family Centre.

A small thank you….

I’m going to start off by saying that I did not write this, it came up in my news feed and I had to spread the message along. As a mom to a little one on the autism spectrum I can relate to it on many levels, even with my son now being in grade two.

The original blog came from From The Bowels of Motherhood a mom who writes about raising three littles, autism and military family life. Here is what she wrote….

This is your first week of kindergarten. You are nervous and excited. You are getting into a new routine and meeting new friends. One of those new friends is my boy. He comes into your class only for a half hour each day because being in there all day would be too much for him. He goes to recess with you, but he has a grownup right there with him because sometimes he tries to runaway and he doesn’t always understand playground rules.

When I saw the two of you holding hands today, my eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with joy. I know you don’t understand why it means so much to me that my son has a friend. I know you are happy to play with a boy who is filled with life and laughter. I won’t say thank you for being his friend, because I know you like him for him and not to get a pat on the back.  

I do have a favor to ask you, though.  Right now your days are filled with story time, play time and crafts and you both do pretty well side by side.  But, you see, my son has autism and I know there will come a time when you will start to notice his differences. 

You’ll notice the holes in every shirt he has because when he’s anxious he chews on his collar. You’ll notice he runs back and forth and flaps his hands when he’s excited. You may start to notice he often talks a little too loudly.  You will start to wonder why he covers his ears when he’s surrounded by people. You will start to notice the stares from other kids when he gets upset about seemingly little things.  You will notice he often asks the same question over and over again.  You will see he often gets stuck on a subject and can’t always move on to talk about something else.  You will start to wonder why he rides a different bus or why he spends so much time in another classroom. You will notice he does different school work and he can’t ride a bike. You will hear other kids making fun of him. You will then realize he doesn’t understand they’re mocking him. These epiphanies won’t hit you all at once, but I know they’re coming just the same.  

For today, I am going to hold onto and cherish the image of the two of you holding hands, blissfully unaware of your differences.  But as time goes by and you start to notice, I ask with all my heart that you don’t let go.

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A special thank you to the mom for writing this and expressing the emotions / thoughts that I have had many times. A big thank you to the little man in my son’s class who has become his friend and looks out for him, I really must meet your parents to give them the biggest hug on raising such an awesome little man.  For everyone else, I hope this can serve as a reminder that people with autism or any mental health issue have so much going on already that all they need is a little understanding / compassion. They still want to learn, have fun and be included like everyone else.