As a mother to a wonderful child on the autism spectrum, I am always trying to raise autism awareness. I am very passionate about my kids and have always been the best advocate I could be for them. When Henry was diagnosed with autism 5 years ago, we were relieved as well as terrified. I can’t tell you how many family members thought we made up his diagnosis to cover his behavior or skeptical stares we got everywhere we went, I knew almost immediately that I would be an advocate not only for my son but for all those parents and caregivers who were touched by Autism. Now that the AMA has told us 1 child in 65 has autism, the likelihood that you are touched by it is pretty high. Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Here are five easy ways you can help raise awareness and educate others so that we can stop the staring and start loving and appreciating these amazingly gifted, unique and wonderful children.
Five Ways To Raise Autism Awareness
- Talk: Any time you see an opportunity to speak with someone about autism, go ahead and start the conversation. I remember when Henry and I were in Wal-Mart and it was the tail end of our shopping and he was getting agitated, the bright lights, tons of people and noise got to him and he started to have a meltdown, right there on the floor in the housewares department. A woman stopped stared at us and I spoke up and said that Henry has autism and this is what he does when he gets overstimulated. She said she had a neighbor with autism and they had similar issues.
- Educate: Take any opportunity you are given to speak about autism. When I was in nursing school, I had to take a public speaking class and my final report was on autism. I spoke about what autism was, how it affected our family and that there was no cure. I asked if anyone in the class had a connection to something with autism and several hands went up. I have also spoken at a Girl Scout meeting, PTA meeting and in other settings.
- Stay Informed: The best way to educate others about autism is to keep up with the latest yourself. You can’t properly educate others if you yourself are not up to date on the latest findings.
- Have A Play Date: Whenever we are in a new situation with Henry, we invite our new friends over for a play date. When they arrive, I sit down with the parent and child and explain that Henry has autism and what that means. I would tell them the behaviors Henry showed most often and how we handled them. Once everyone is on the same page, things usually go great.
- Pride: Take pride in the fact that you know one of these awesome people! I am loud and proud about Henry’s autism and will tell anyone that will listen to me!! I was interested in finding a way I could show people I knew someone with autism without being in their face. The perfect tool presented itself when I found a wonderful online jewelry store names AJs Collection. Not only did AJs Collection carry the perfect piece of jewelry for me, they have an extensive line of gorgeous jewelry.
Wearing Jewelry With A Cause
Before I came across AJs Collection, I hadn’t thought about wearing jewelry with a cause. What a perfect way to show my support for the cause while at the same time opening a door for others to start a conversation. I love my Autism Awareness Silver Charm Necklace ($45.00) with the words: Teach, Love, Inspire hand stamped with the puzzle charm. The lovely silver boxed chain balances the lightweight metal of the necklace perfectly. AJs Collection also offers an extensive collection of bracelets, necklaces, and monogrammed jewelry for men, women, grandparents and more. You can choose a hand stamped keychain for your husband or possibly the Big Hearted necklace with the grandkids names stamped on the outer disc. Regardless the special occasion, AJs Collection is sure to have just what you were looking for!
One reader will win a $75 gift card to be used at AJs Collection