This week I've partnered with Sevenly + Autism Speaks to talk about autism awareness.
If you've noticed, there have been quite a few posts recently related to charity and certain causes. I have been feeling kind of blah about blogging, and so I've been trying to blog about things I truly care about that are bigger than me. It has given me new energy to focus on blogging and it makes this time spent on the computer much more enjoyable and I actually want to spend time doing it.
Also, if you haven't read about sweet little Charlie yet...go do it!
"Shine a Light" tee available here
So today, April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day (pretty appropriate day for the post, right?). I think it's safe to say that since autism is so common now (1 in 68 children), lots of us have experience with ASD to varying extents. I want to share a story with you quickly about what made me passionate about this cause.
In high school, I got the opportunity to be a tutor in a Life Skills class and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. All of the kids in the class were about the same age as me. Actually, the boy who I became the closest with, we'll call him Kyle (I like to keep people's privacy!), was a year older than me. One of my favorite parts of my day was going to hang out with Kyle. Even though he couldn't communicate with me verbally, we got to know each other.
He had this cool computer (forgive me for not knowing the real term) that he could type into to let us know what he wanted, and almost every day he'd ask to go get chips out of the vending machine. The sheer joy on his face when he opened the bag instantly turned any bad day upside down. We want on walks to open his locker, walks for exercise around the hallways, worked out in the gym. Hanging out with him was the only thing that ever made me like routines. I loved watching him do his circuit on the strength training machines and was ever in awe of the way he whipped out a math worksheet before I could even get my calculator out to check the first problem.
He liked to go swimming at his family's lake house and I even got to go to a graduation party for him at school a couple of years after I graduated.
I want to be able to connect with people in that way again. Not so much as an educator, but as someone who can hang out and enjoy life with some of the most amazing people this world has to offer.
I have this dream of one day being a stay at home mom when Carter is in high school, and having the ability to decide that instead of going out and getting a "real" job, I will go volunteer all of my time away. Who knows if that will ever work out, but it's a pretty good dream to have (at least I think it is).
And now let me segue into something not so smoothly. Being a parent is terrifying, but I think it can be even more scary with a child with special needs. Wandering is a behavior associated with ASD. 48% of children with ASD wander from a safe environment (this is a rate about 4 times higher than children without ASD). 58% of parents said that wandering is one of the most stressful ASD behaviors.
The good news? This week, your purchase at Sevenly provides locating devices that will help keep children with autism safe.
Find the shirt I styled here.
Visit Sevenly's website for more information.