Advocacy is important to me – it’s part of why I blog. I also want to teach my kids that we’re here to help each other out. I encouraged Nigel to participate in a Habitat for Humanity walk last year, he does Scouting for Food with Boy Scouts, and he and Aidan often go with me to donate to local charities. In that vein, promoting autism awareness comes naturally to me.
My good friend and fellow blogger, Jenn at Devin’s Journey, wrote a few days ago about today being World Autism Awareness Day. I love the thought of that, seeing as autism knows no political borders. Not only did Jenn remind us of the day, she asked what we were doing for it. Aside from my ongoing campaign to eradicate the r-word from my workplace, I thought of more that I could do.
First of all, I’m doing something close to home, because there is still so much that needs to be accomplished right in our own backyard. So today I’m going to email the principal at Nigel’s school and restart my wheel-squeaking about implementing a Circle of Friends program there. I had sent the principal a link to the ABC News autism page, which features a video that discusses ASD and bullying, and how beneficial the Circle of Friends-type of program has been for the school in the video. I sent the link in an email almost three weeks ago and haven’t heard back yet, so it’s time for some serious squeaking.
I also think that today is the perfect occasion to announce my plans for this summer. I have posted previously about Knowledge for People, a non-profit dedicated to autism education and outreach for developing countries. In July, they are going to Nepal, and I am thrilled to be joining them (!) as a parent liaison and sensory issues presenter. It’s one of those “opportunity knocks” situations – my boys are with their dad in July, I’ve always wanted to go to Nepal, and things just came together, as they so often do when something just feels right. I am so excited to be doing this! Not only to have the opportunity to go to Nepal, but to have the opportunity to help others understand autism and learn how they can help their children in a place where knowledge and resources are so limited. With all the hurdles we face here in the US with getting services for our children, at least the services exist, at least people have heard of autism. At least we can do something for our kids. All parents – everywhere – should be so fortunate.
It’s a done deal, folks. I’ve got my tickets, my backpack, and my spirit of adventure. Just doing my part for World Autism Awareness, one country at a time.