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Taking “AWARENESS” for granted…

I wanted to say THANK YOU so very much for all your support and positive encouragement for FFvA and what we do.  I also wanted to let those of you who (and there are many) have expressed interest in getting invoved with us that we are working on the logistics to expand this great organization and are looking forward to getting in touch with you as soon as possible to get the ball rolling.  We are simply at a point where we need to get the legal structure finished before we can open the doors for other chapters to open around the globe (yes we actually have been asked to open in several other countries – how cool is that?).  We just received confirmation of our 501c3 from the government, so now we are excited to take this to a whole new level of awareness.

Anyway… with all of that said, I wanted to take a minute in the quiet of the night after the noise of the day in my head has subsided, to let you all know about something that has been weighing on my mind.  Recently my youngest daughter Kylie (11) was talking with my wife about her day at “co-op”.  You see my wife homeschools our three kids, and they attend a cooperative where parents of other kids host classes once a week and teach electives that help enhance the learning environment beyond the classes they learn at home (and trust me when I say homeschooling is a loose term, its more like home-car-library-museum-theatre-etc. school).  Ok… back on track.  Kylie was so excited to tell Candice about how a specialist came into one of her classes that day to talk about special needs kids and how they could help them.  The specialist began talking about kids with Autism and what made them different and why.  She explained that it wasn’t anything to be afraid of and that actually kids with Autism could be helped by the classroom kids if they knew what to look for and had the right information.  So they had a little workshop, so to speak, and got the basics of what to do when they encountered someone with Autism, and Kylie was just jabber jabber jabber about how she could help other kids with Autism and that she was looking forward to doing so, all the while having a big beaming smile across her face.

Of course Candice began to smile and proceeded to tell her that she already knew someone who was on the Autism spectrum, to which Kylie asked “Who?”.  Your brother, Candice replied.  At which point Kylie looked dumbfounded followed two seconds later with the statement “He does?!  All this time I just thought he was being annoying!”  And it was at that moment we realized how much WE took for granted.  WE as parents just assumed that because Kylie grew up in the same house as her older brother knew he had Apsergers.  She had to know… how could she not?  She saw the “odd” behaviours, saw and heard the melt downs, experienced the antagonism and annoyance of her older brother, so she knew right???  Well… aparently we missed that one because we hadn’t even explained or prepared her to understand what Trace had or how to help him.  All this time she thought her brother was just a pest.  But once we told her about his condition the light bulb went on and she told us “it all makes sense now”.  And by the way, now that she is aware she has taken a completely different approach with Trace.  Now she accepts his embraces rather than shirking away as if he had slime all over him.  She still struggles with the whole personal space issue, but she now understands that when Trace wants to hug her (actually it is more like picking her up off the ground and squeazinig her till she pee’s), but it is his way of showing her how much he loves and cares for her… he’s not just being annoying.

So… a perfect example of someone (ME) that has an ASD kid that completely missed the opportunity to make sure his entire family was aware and prepared to deal with a person with Aspergers.  Even those of us with ASD kids, who are in the field training others and trying to build an organization to increase the awareness MISS THE BOAT sometimes.  So don’t take for granted, for even a second, that people are aware that your child has Autism or some form on the ASD spectrum, because chances are they don’t.  And it’s been my experience that people are indignant and judgemental only because they are UNaware.  Because the minute that you explain the situation and empower them to understand and be able to help, they are usually completely on board and actually eager to make a difference.  Especially when they see the difference that they can make… and it ALL starts with AWARENESS!

Thanks for taking the time to read this… thanks for caring… and thanks for becoming aware enough to make a difference for someone with Autism.  They really are great people!!!  If you would like to become involved in our organization please submit your interest through our Contact Us page.  We’ll get back to you as soon as we can to see how you can help in your community.

Take care, have a great day, and stay safe out there.

Brent

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