“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.” Viviane Greene
Today on April 2nd, 2021 World Autism Awareness Day, LIGHT IT UP BLUE by bringing kindness, and offering love and support to people with Autism. Together allowing us to bring a new awareness to people on the spectrum. We can simply bring more awareness to Autism by setting an intention to bring awareness with kindness as well as wearing blue, putting a blue light or flag outside of our homes or businesses. Pictured above is one of the many autism puzzle’s, the pattern represents the vastness and complexity of the spectrum. The colors and shapes honor the diversity of families and people who live with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Many supporters of autism such as Autism Speaks helps bring a connection of kindness to the spectrum of life and allows people to better understand what Autism is and the different way it impacts people, find out more HERE.
Support and Kindness will Bring an Awareness to Autism
A little over a year ago my eleven-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Autism and today I write to give support to special needs mamas, we are in this together. With love and kindness we can bring Autism Awareness.
The word Autism used to leave me in confusion and disarray, and now it helps me better understand my daughter and the spectrum of life.
Here as I rock from side to side, making circles with my daughter’s one-legged wiggle stool my stomach tightens, and my throat pulses. These are all signs that would shut me down, “Red alert Shelly, don’t talk about your daughter anymore. It’s not a big deal, it’s fine, just live and keep quiet”. Not today. Today I speak for World Autism Awareness Day. I open up to sharing my love for the spectrum and the people who are affected. Together we can allow a deeper understanding, and increase the world’s ability to generate a collective awareness for Autism with kindness.
Allow Autism to Move Us Out of our Comfort Zone
From my heart to yours: Our editors encourage and uplift us writers to push us out of our comfort zones. They say to write from our most authentic-selves, write the uncomfortable and say the hard things. Write until it comes time to press the publish button, and I am sweating, yet exhilarated I wrote this thing. The deepest hardest things to write are the biggest messages the world needs to hear is what I understand best. There are moments I freeze up trying to understand because this spectrum is so vast. There are so many different ways, emotionally, mentally, and physically how autism shows up for children and people.
What has been brought to my awareness is comparison and judgment must be left out. Each person with Autism is unique. These people are not problems to the world they are expansive gifts and it is up to us to have Autism Awareness.
The Gifts of Autism Awareness
My daughter’s heightened sensory perceptions, and taking pictures with her mind, yet she can struggle with short term memory. And there are moments her memory is miracle and I tear up when she recites a dress, song or words spoken in a moment I have long forgotten. Watching her spin like her own kind of ballerina guides me into great joy.
The compassion and kindness pouring from my daughters heart is like nothing I have ever experienced. Juney is a spiritual sprite and how she perceives the world is a gift only for her to experience.
Bringing awareness to Autism means we must step out of old ways of thinking. It is possible to find acceptance for Autism. If we can be open to experience the world, even if it is only a glimpse. These can be moments of joy where we can be grateful for the gift of Autism.
Brilliant Minds with an Awareness of Autism
Today I hold space for all toddlers, children, teens, young adults, adults, middle-aged, and senior citizens with Autism. Alongside to parents, siblings, aunties and uncles, teachers/care providers, grandparents, fellow students and friends of someone on the spectrum. This blog is for you to create an open awareness around Autism.
Your mind is brilliant. You are gifted in many different ways. The way you see, smell, taste, touch, and perceive the world is a wonder to you. And you are a wonder to me.
To my Friends with Autism
For my friend and my daughter’s old Occupational Therapist, brilliant author, and a daughter who is beyond special. To Magnolia and her magnificence, and for Amanda and Andrews journey.
With a daughter who struggles with swallowing and the quest to help her. At infancy, a surgical procedure with a tube implant still today helps this now teen be able to eat. For the mountain of depends and a mama who has let go of the quest of perfection. A girl who can not communicate through words, and who gets so frustrated anger explodes into physically hitting.
To the sleep struggles, and diagnosis, to letting go of the labels. A family on a year sabbatical to Hawaii, where Magnolia is at her soul state in the water. Free like a dolphin feeling her body float in the pure energy of the ocean, allowing her to live her best life.
After school one-day Amanda shared with me I am done trying to fix her, she isn’t broken, it’s her quality of life that matters to me. This incredible mama and writer’s words have sunk deep into my subconscious mind and have been an anchor in my life. Read the incredible story HERE!
For my Friends and How Autism brings Awareness
To Monica and her brilliant son William, who has been reading since he was three and with his photographic memory who can recite all presidents forwards and backwards and recite every country, state, city, capital on the map and can sponge up anything that strikes his interest. A child without a filter shouts his words when he is feeling overwhelmed by the world around him.
A mama who openly loves and accepts her son the way he is. These friends impact the world and help bring Autism Awareness and the spectrum of life.
To an old neighbor and her pre-teenaged son who walks interestingly, who collects baskets of stuffies. He names and plays intricate games with his squishy friends by placing them every so in a certain way. Braiden struggles with contact with other kids and as he feels frustrated he acts out in big ways. Shouting, hitting, and cursing words at adults, and even small children.
This boy helps me bring kindness, compassion and acceptance to how Autism affects him. He never tries to hide from who he is. Braiden has impacted me allowing me to accept those around me with love and kindness.
The Spectrum of Life
“I’m and excellent driver, I’m and excellent driver.”- Rain Man
Recently I watched the 1988 film Rain Man featuring Tom Cruz and Dustin Hoffman, after my dad said you have to see this movie! Slow starting and then pulls at your heart strings keeping you watching. Starring a workaholic man, and after the death of his long lost father discovers he has a brother with Savant Syndrome Autism.
Savant Syndrome, forty years ago was called an idiot savant. On the spectrum this rare condition can allow the person an incredible memory to certain things. Or there could be behavior issues when something goes awry or just daily routine is off, and a major meltdown can not be soothed. A person with savant syndrome could also struggle with developmental disabilities, or central nervous system disease or injury.
The end of this movie, Tom’s character came to love and accept his brother as he better understood him. I left this movie with an open heart to more Autism Awareness.
Seeing the Autism Awareness
“What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool? You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, socializing and not getting anything done.” – Temple Grandon
Temple Grandon, who teaches one hour away from me at Colorado State University, helps change the way cattle are hauled just before the slaughter. If you have seen Temple Grandin featuring Claire Danes who had another incredible performance, just nailing the role of Temple.
Temple struggles with connecting and touch, and although school was a massive challenge for Temple. She has strived on with the support of her parents who put her into schools to support their daughter. Temple faced many challenges and was mocked and ridiculed by teachers and peers, yet she learned how to cope with the world around her.
What stands out to me is she created a squeeze box, where she could crawl into and allow her sensory needs to be fulfilled where immense pressure was created around her body and she could return to life. The way Autism affects Temple helps her relate to animals and her photographic memory has helped change the world.
Yes these are movies, yet the big screen has shined incredible light on special needs people, helping us better understand and bringing Autism Awareness.
Acronym Autism to Bring a Bigger Awareness
Being a parent whose daughter was only diagnosed with ASD one short year ago has been a blessing in many different ways. The simplicity of knowing and not wondering has helped significantly in everyday life.
I know there are many acronyms for Autism, below is what I felt called to highlight in Autism.
A for Authentic and Abundant
Authentic and Abundant in feelings, a person with Autism is an authentic version of themselves. The gift of ASD truly allows one to be who they are unapologetically. We can all learn from this incredible trait. Abundant, in feelings and sensory perception. Feelings are big and felt within the entire body and sometimes in explosive and even silent ways. When we look deeper we can explore the abundance of the life that lives within a special being with ASD. Allowing authenticity and abundance to bring Autism Awareness.
U for Unique
Unique, as in the way the world is perceived whether high functioning, low functioning, gifted, or struggling with motor function or brain function. Being on the spectrum is unique for each individual. When we can open up to uniqueness, we can create this deeper understanding bringing Autism Awareness.
T for Transformative
Transformative, as in life-changing for those around us. Being a part of someone with ASD has changed my life and how I see the world. Allow the transformation to bring Autism Awareness
I for Imagination
Imagination is huge when I watch my daughter, read a book or talk to a friend about a child on the spectrum. Or when I see a movie with ASD I can clearly see the imagination and creativity is a huge part of the path. Imagination will bring Autism Awareness.
S for Spiritual
Spiritual, being connected in a different way. Even when ASD comes in the form of low functioning, high functioning or functioning in-between these being are connected on a deeper spiritual path. For instance, my daughter is the most spiritual person I have met, she surprises me every day with her intuition and inner wisdom. Spirituality is a way towards Autism Awareness.
M for Miraculous
Miraculous memory and magnificent are some of the “M” words I found to help us better understand someone with ASD. The way the world is perceived through their eyes is one marvelous joy only for them to experience. My daughter has a memory like what she says is like an owl. She can remember a specific date and what I was saying and even down to the dress I was wearing. Allow this miracle to bring Autism Awareness.
Be Autism Aware
On or off the spectrum we are all somehow affected by someone with Autism. Please allow this article to bring an openness to kindness, acceptance and love to the spectrum of life. Together let us bring Autism Awareness. Love to all of the special needs mamas, I am with you.
Find more blogs about Creating Your Support System by Educating Your Family on Autism HERE,
The Valuable Lesson I learned from My Autistic Son HERE