Tag Archives: autism awareness month


Are you ready for the irony of Autism Awareness Month ironies?

As many of you know, I am the southern Oregon chapter rep for the Autism Society of Oregon, and I facilitate the monthly support group meetings. Since, as all of you know, this is Autism Awareness Month, I planned to show an informative DVD of a presentation given by an adult with Asperger’s, loan out many of the books I’ve reviewed here, share some Easter candy, and give out various autism-related “goodies” – magnets, bumper stickers, symptom cards, etc. I got there a few minutes early, set up the TV/DVD player, put out all the books and paraphernalia, and thought about what I wanted to say during the meeting.

But no one came.

Now I know that many of the support group members also read this blog, and I want to assure you that I am not writing this to complain or to indicate any sort of disapproval. It’s totally okay! Some of you e-mailed to let me know that you would be out of town or otherwise engaged or might not have childcare. And while kids are always welcome to attend the meetings, I completely understand if you, the parent, would rather not have your child there, for whatever reason. Believe me, as a long-time single parent, I understand! I know how it is when you just want to get out of the house by yourself, but can’t. And I definitely know Busy. Busy and I have been hanging out too much together lately, I’m afraid. I know how it is when you just can’t add one more thing. When you’re so busy that it wouldn’t be a break to attend the meeting, and a break is the thing you need most.

And I know how it is to need a break from autism. Not necessarily from your child who has it (although that is often the case!), but from the barrage of all things autism – books, DVDs, news stories, events, meetings. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that I’ve often felt this way! Coming up on thirteen years post diagnosis, I sometimes feel over-aware. Saturated. Not to mention tired. All of us feel this way more often than not; it comes with the territory. And so, we need a break from autism. And it’s understandable to feel a bit “over” the idea of Autism Awareness Month.

Tonight, I waited in the meeting room for twenty minutes, metaphorically shrugged my shoulders, packed up all of the autism stuff, and ate some Easter candy as I drove home. And I thought about the fact that the people who most need a break from autism don’t get one. Every day our kids must contend with painful sensory issues, communication difficulties, social misunderstandings, vulnerability, and many other issues described so well by my friend, Jess, who wrote this post that I highly recommend you read. And I highly recommend that you pass it along to your friends and relatives. Because so often we talk about what autism is, but we don’t always talk in specific terms about how it really is for our children. And once people can grasp that, wrap their minds around the reality of it, I think it will make a tremendous difference in how they view our kids and this thing called autism. That’s what I think Autism Awareness Month is for. I’m aware. You’re aware. But there’s a world of people out there who aren’t.

April Announcements Vol. 2

Here’s an interesting program that I’ve been asked to post about for Autism Awareness Month:

“Ask.com is now featuring a new homepage theme every week in April for Autism Awareness Month, designed to educate consumers about autism, a complex neurobiological disorder affecting one in 150 people in the U.S. Ask.com donates $.50 to Autism Speaks for every new consumer who selects the Autism Speaks Skins as the design for their personalized Ask.com homepage. The Skins display a series of questions that challenge consumers’ understanding of autism; for each correctly answered question, Ask will donate another $.01 to Autism Speaks.

“Consumers don’t have to spend a dime to support this important cause. Simply choose one of the Ask.com skins designed especially for this initiative, and we’ll make a donation – it’s that easy,” said Jim Safka, Chief Executive Officer of Ask.com.

The Autism Speaks Skins feature photos of children with autism as well as original art by Andrew Bianchi, a 10 year-old boy with autism from New York. Every new homepage skin generates four questions and several answer options. Consumers can use Ask.com at any time to find the answer to a question; simply answering a question correctly is counted towards the total donation amount. Ask.com is promoting this special program directly on the Ask.com homepage several days throughout the month of April, as well as in the Ask.com Skins Gallery at www.ask.com/skins.

“True to their reputation for innovation, Ask.com has created a unique program where everyone wins: we gain awareness and support for our cause, consumers gain knowledge about autism through an engaging and thoughtful user experience, and Ask.com has an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with consumers who also care about this cause,” said Scott Leibowitz, national director of corporate relation for Autism Speaks.

April Announcements

I’ve been contacted by a few companies/organizations that would like to get the word out on Autism Awareness Month happenings, so I thought I would post a notice about them to let everyone know.

First up is TRP Wellness! This company features DVDs on OT/sensory issues and yoga instruction for special needs children, a section with tips and resources, a blog, and a newsletter. From now until April 30, in honor of Autism Awareness Month, their OT/sensory issues DVD series is on sale at 20% off! Just enter the code “April2009” at checkout.

Next, Autism One would like to announce that May 20-24 they will host the “Change Has Come” conference in Chicago, Illinois. This conference is a great opportunity to learn more about what you can do to immediately start helping your child, confidently and economically navigate the medical intervention terrain, learn how to talk to your pediatrician to get the tests your child needs, and meet other parents. Click here for details.

Lastly, be sure to check out all the events that your local chapter of the Autism Society of America has planned for Autism Awareness Month. For instance, here in Oregon, the Autism Society of Oregon is hosting the “Take a Break on ASO” program, which gives gift cards for dinner out and a movie, with reimbursement for 4 hours of respite care! They also have many other activities planned for the month. If you’re not sure of your state’s website (some states have more than one chapter), go here to see a listing of contact information for each state. Have a great April!