“AAAAHHHHH,” the man yelled and punched himself on his left cheek three times as I walked past.
I heard the man’s aid ask him, “You alright? Do you want to stay? Or do you want to sit outside.”
The man signaled he wanted to say and pulled his shirt over his head. He let out a hefty scream, muffled by the cotton of his shirt. Then he punched himself in the head three more times.
We were at Urban Air for another Special Needs night.
I was following my kids around, helping them have a wonderful night. Other parents, aids or workers were with their special people helping them have a wonderful night.
And it was all brought to us by an organization that opened their doors for one special night and accepted the special needs community in to come and participate in a really fun activity.
When I was interviewed by Autism Articulated I was asked the following question and responded.
what are your hopes for catelyn and declan’s future and for the future of autism awareness in our communities?
In the future, I hope Catelyn and Declan are happy, whatever that happiness may look like. Autism didn’t take anything from Catelyn or Declan’s future. I know that whatever they put their minds to, they will be able to accomplish.
My hopes for autism awareness in our communities? That autism awareness leads to acceptance and inclusion. At our church, we were told that Declan would need to go into the special needs room. When they ran out of teachers for that room, the doors to the special needs room closed. The church then closed its doors to our family. I realized they were aware of autism, but they could not find a way to accept the differences and allow for inclusion in their environment. I think this is true in many areas of different communities. I hope that awareness continues to extend itself into acceptance and inclusion for people on the autism spectrum.
As an autism parent, I spread autism awareness. Autism awareness became very near and dear to me when autism entered my family. I spread information about autism to anyone that will ask, listen or read to what I have to say.
I also encourage autism ACCEPTANCE. For individuals to try and understand and accept one another, regardless of their differences.
Acceptance is a choice. It is an action. And every person has this choice.
Acceptance is an Individual’s CHOICE
As we begin Declan’s transition into Elementary school, he will be greeted with a whole new set of potential friends, teachers, aid and therapists. As Catelyn continues to move to the next grade each year – both children will be given teachers that will be told the children are on the autism spectrum. They will be notified of their goals and of their strengths.
The professionals will be AWARE.
But it will be up to each professional to accept the children for their differences. To understand and include the children in all the activities. To not make them feel like they are any less of a person.
Acceptance in Action
There are a lot of wonderful people out there that accept people regardless of their differences. I met 2 boys a few weeks ago that accepted Declan and included him in their play at the playground.
We value the organizations that open their doors to our family and provide our, and other special needs families, the time to participate in an activity that would be difficult during normal business hours.
We value the INDIVIDUALS that go above and beyond to understand, accept and include individuals with differences.
Do you recall these wonderful people?
Sports Clips stylist, Kaylen sits on the floor with 4-year-old Isaiah, who has autism, for a hair cut.
British barber, Jim Williams get’s on the floor with Mason, a child with autism, to give him his first real hair cut.
I think it is fair to mention, this is also how Declan’s first trip to the dentist went. They did the exam on the floor.
Mall Santa goes the extra mile for a boy with autism
Travis Rudolph, a football player for Florida State, eats his lunch with Bo Paske. Bo is a boy with autism who is used to having eat his lunch alone.
Broadway actor, Kevin Moon Loh writes a letter to a boy with autism that interrupted Moon Loh’s broadway show.
You can find the entire letter, here
Autism awareness month is fast approaching. I will be spreading autism awareness. But I also will be encouraging autism acceptance. For individuals to try and understand and accept one another, regardless of their differences.
There are a lot of great stories of autism acceptance out there. I can’t wait to see it everywhere!