12 April, 2012

Autism: Around and About and Aware

We are on week two of spring break around here, and my lovely pre-teen son is taking nicely to sleeping in until 9:30am (thank you to Sage who is getting my girl to kindergarten this week!) While it usually feels a little frantic and unstructured during spring break, this year feels like some mostly calm time I've been able to spend with each of my kids, and around visits to the movies, day trips and the museum,  I've been keeping myself busy.

It's Autism Awareness month. Since we are well aware of autism in this circle we have moved on to Autism Acceptance month instead. Thinking Person's Guide to Autism has a great "Slice of Life" series where we have given the same set of questions to autistics all over the spectrum. These are people in your neighborhood, in your classrooms. They work in the cube next to you, and skateboard at your local park. They are individuals, not statistics. Those 1 in 88s and 1 in 54s and all of that data that's been flying about? 'Those people' have always been with us, but we are getting better at spotting autism earlier, which will hopefully get everyone the support needed to be a happy, healthy, valued, and productive part of society. I know that "awareness" is still important because there are people that are ignorant, misinformed, or disinterested...even my spell check does not recognize 'autistics' as a word, and we have a long way to go, but we are focusing on acceptance around here.

I have another post up at Dandelion. I'm a regular contributor there,  or at least I am when I can get my act together. Dandelion is a great resource for Bay Area parents, and is not just autism focused.  I write there about three times a month. They have a very active events calendar, and happily take new events, so if you have a special needs benefit, auction, speaker series, or sibling group, head to their calendar and ask to have it added.

Last month Care.com asked me to write an article about Learn the Signs, Act Early campaign that the CDC has put together. It can be very emotional when you think your child is developing differently than other kids, but the important thing to do is keep your head on and check-in with a professional who can complete an evaluation of your child's development. With good information you can get your child every support he or she needs. I have more to say on this, and some good tips that I figured out when we were still figuring out our boy when he was very young.

The wonderful Ellen Seidman, who writes Love That Max turned over her Parents.com column this month to celebrate Autism Awareness/Acceptance. Shannon wrote a lovely post about Parenting Autism in the iPad and Internet Era.
Ellen asked me so great questions, including what are three things I want other people to know about my kid. My number one answer was: “Just because he can’t talk doesn’t mean he can’t hear you. Kind words, mean words, he hears all of it. With my son, and with any person with disabilities we should start with, “Hello.”” You can read the entire post here. 
I'd like to thank Ellen for hosting us in her column. I feel lucky to have her on "my team."

And I am nominated at Babble.com as a Top Autism Blog for Parents. Thinking Person's Guide to Autism has been nominated in the "write-in" section too, so stop by and give us a thumbs up if you think jennyalice.com or thinkingautismguide.com serves parents well. Maybe one of these days I will either a) make it on a list that does not require someone to vote or b) stop feeling like I need to chase votes once I am on a random list. Next year I am going to create a list of Top Autism Blogs in My Family. I am pretty sure I will make the cut :) I was happy to see so many of my fine friends and their amazing words honored already, and knowing that we are all serving this community is a great feeling.

There are lots of other exciting things in the works. TPGA  has been all over the radio across the country, so if you thought you heard Shannon Des Roches Rosa, you probably did. And we are working on more venues for book readings. I was thrilled to find out last week that an education class for teachers is using the book as classroom text. If you know anyone who is interested in using the book as a text in an educational setting please contact me: jennifer dot myers at gmail dot com. I am happy to help get the book out to you.

My voice is hoarse and my house is a mess, but my heart is full and my kids are happy.
Be well friends.

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