April is “Autism Month”. April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day! To help shine a light on autism, LIGHT IT UP BLUE!
Light it up Blue is a unique global initiative to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. (The number of children identified as having an autism spectrum disorder in the United States is soaring, with roughly 1 in 88 being found to have this condition, according to a study released Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Iconic landmarks around the world will Light It Up Blue to show their support. You can too! Whether it’s your front porch, your classroom, your school hallway, even your Facebook profile pic… the whole world is going blue to increase awareness about autism. So run to home depot and get your blue light bulbs! Click one, two or three for a “light it blue” FB profile pic.
I don’t think of my nephew Ryan as “disabled”, rather “differently-abled.”
A child with autism can teach us so much about ourselves and the world around us. The way Ryan sees the world is perhaps how it should be seen. Ryan takes people for face value, he believes what you say, he means what he says, and he says what he means. Ryan gets so much joy out of simple things – a song, a hockey game, watching airplanes fly or counting freight train cars. And one of his favorite things is to share that joy with those he loves. With Ryan, you know where you stand at all times, there are no ulterior motives or game playing, you do not have to second guess his actions. Although it can be difficult at times when you are not his favorite person (believe me, he will let you know), but ultimately he will forgive anything after hearing a rational explanation for your (less than desirable) action or behavior. Looking into Ryan’s eyes, you can get a glimpse of his world… his eyes are gentle, innocent and inquisitive as if constantly trying to absorb and understand the world around him. His mom (my sister) has a favorite poem that poignantly puts into words how she feels about Ryan. Welcome to Holland.
You may remember an earlier blog post that highlighted my exceptional nephew. To say Ryan has come a long way is an understatement! This June he is getting his certificate of completion from Camarillo High School and was named as one of the senior Athletes Of The Year.
Although Ryan had many accomplishments during his 4 years of high school, his track career was the notably most positive accomplishment. He was around typical kids, ran with them 6 miles a day, 6 days a week and was wildly accepted by the group. In fact, he has been asked to come back and help the team next year! Ryan will without a doubt push other athletes to work as hard as he does. Ryan gives nothing less than 100 percent in every single run, race and workout, in turn he expects from others, nothing less than 100 percent!
Help elementary students gain a deeper understanding and acceptance of students with autism like Ryan. Download this easy to implement “autism workshop” and reflections project.
Remember to LIGHT IT UP BLUE April 2!