April is Autism Awareness month and today is World Autism Awareness Day. In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, we’ll be posting about different topics related to Autism to do our part in helping to make Autism more visible. We strive to be inclusive and help put the word out there whenever possible.
We’d like to thank Noelle from our kitting department for bringing this special day to our attention. Noelle writes:
My name is Noelle and I am a member of the Kitting Department here at Adafruit. By day, I am pretty much the Keebler elf, cranking out fun kits here at Adafruit, but once I hang my little kitters hat up at the end of my day, my life as a Mom takes over. I am the mother to this little adorable 3 year old nugget, who is the light of my life. He is this big ball of energy, super funny, super giggly, super cuddly, and he has autism. J.J (my nugget), was diagnosed at 15 months with autism. Luckily there are a plethora of resources and websites geared towards children with Autism.
http://autism.sesamestreet.org is a great resource because it has printable activities to do with your child like “Daily Routine Cards” that you can use with your child and you can also be introduced to the Sesame Street character Julia, who is Sesame Street first autistic character. Its a great printable story you can share with your child and family
https://www.autismspeaks.org is a great site to learn about autism, legislation surrounding autism, autism research and how to get involved. They also have a on-site store where you can purchase “Light it Up Blue” merchandise and the proceeds go towards autism research.
http://www.centerforautism.com is a great site because much like Autism Speaks it can direct you to research related information, but something great that CARD has done is create apps that you can buy and use with your child and it can be a learning opportunity for everyone. These apps can be purchased through the App store and may cost a few bucks.
You can also access your state and local education sites for information about possible early intervention services located in your school system for your child.
Stay tuned in to the blog today for more coverage and don’t forget to join in on social media #WorldAutismAwarenessDay !
Here’s a follow up from Noelle:
Hi Adafruit friends,
I hope that all of you find the links and information provided as helpful as I have in my own research on my Autism journey because it has been just that, a journey. In compiling these links it was definitely a collective effort to provide resources that would be both a great starting point or maybe an add on of information. I chose Autism Speaks first because through the site I found legislative information about what is and is not covered by the state with regards to the treatment if Autism. You know, being in New York, we have a plethora of resources at our hands and it’s often available at no cost to many families – even families with financial limitations. But what alarmed me was that in other states resources are often scarce, diagnosis tend to happen later and parents struggle to get access to therapies for their children. I was not aware of that before my journey and through sites like Autism Speaks I was able to get a sort of beginning in my search. But please don’t fret, these are only a few resources as there is much information and you can pick and choose what you use and perhaps what you don’t want or need.
Something to remember – Autism is very diverse. My son’s previous Occupational Therapist once said to me “When you meet one child on the spectrum you meet that one child because no two kids are same”. She was on to something with that statement because diversity lies within all people living on the spectrum and that is one of the first things to understand. As a parent of an Autistic child, some days are awesome and exciting to see your child take in the world and some days can be challenging as they try navigate the world. And it can be overwhelming but don’t lose hope. Routinely, I am always wanting to educate myself and ultimately share and funny enough, what I have found is that much like the open source community, people with Autism as well as parents and caregivers of children and adults on the spectrum are also looking for a community. We want to share, discuss and support others on this journey. One thing that always comforts me is when I am talking about my son J.J (I often refer to him as Nugget 😉 ) and his Autism with someone familiar or new, I often encounter people who have a connection to Autism themselves, whether their connection is a brother, a cousin, a family friend, a nephew, a neighbor… These connections mean that they themselves are aware. It is that community, that connection, that we all need and that is what sustains this community.
As today is April 2nd and Autism Awareness is among us, it’s important to stress awareness. Because essentially through awareness what we are striving for is acceptance. With that said, don’t let just today be a day of gathering info and learning. I encourage both an individual education and community education because Autism Awareness takes a village. And more importantly, please be kind to one another and be kind to those on this Autism journey.
XOXO Noelle (J.Js Mom)