As a result of increased awareness about autism and strong family advocacy many more people with autism are attending community-based summer programs. An important ingredient to a successful experience is the staff at the community program, their understanding of autism spectrum disorders, and the unique strengths and challenges of your family member with autism. How have you shared this information with agencies or community program staff? Do you use a formal training program? A written document? One-on-one time with the staff? Share your experience and make it easier for others going into new community settings this summer.
This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a recent graduate of Seton Hall University. He started the club Student Disability Awareness on campus to help spread awareness and raise funds for those affected by autism. Autism Speaks U is a program designed for college students who host awareness, advocacy and fundraising events, while supporting their local autism communities.
If I had to make a list, this is what I would wish for the Autism Community…
1. I wish that acceptance was easier to come by.
2. I wish that loving one another was always on our mind.
3. I wish that an “early diagnosis” remains a high priority.
4. I wish that people would stop calling autism a disease.
5. I wish that communication becomes easier for everyone with autism. We are trying.
6. I wish that we find more treatments to enhance the lives of people with autism.
7. I wish that insurance for autism gets passed in all 50 states.
8. I wish that the government would understand the need for services for the autistic in schools.
9. I wish that autistic individuals can one day live their lives independently.
10. I wish that I was capable of helping more.
11. I wish that people would stop using the words “socially awkward” and “retard” in a negative way.
12. I wish we raise awareness for all with disabilities. Those of us living with a disability are doing our very best.
13. I wish for those who are or love someone who is on the spectrum that you know that we are moving forward every single day.
14. I wish that all of our voices can be heard.
15. I wish everyone will follow the words of one of my favorite performers of all time, Michael Jackson who sang in his song called, “Man in the Mirror”, If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.
16. I wish you all knew me when I was 4, when I was diagnosed with autism. For a long time I was lost. Scared of myself and what I was capable of. I never thought I would be where I am today… but I did it. I graduated from Seton Hall University this past May and will be going to Graduate School for Strategic Communications in the fall to boot. So for my final wish:
17. I wish for you all to always live life with hope. I wish that your days are filled with hope for a better tomorrow, and for today no matter how dark life gets sometimes that you realize you’re never alone. I wish this for you…
* I encourage everyone in the Autism Community to remember that we must come together as a true community to put our best foot forward. I know we all have a lot of wishes out there so let’s avoid distractions and focus on progress so we can all, “Make a Difference”. You can also find this article in the SFGate here.
This is one of my Autism Speaks U related blog posts. If you would like to contact me directly about questions/comments related to this post I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through my Fan Page here.
Using touch screens and apps to treat autism (Mercury News)
As a commercial software expert for the financial services industry, Ted Conley was frustrated with the technology that a speech therapist recommended to help his developmentally disabled son. So he decided to build his own app. Read more.
Funding questioned as autism service shuts down (New Zealand)
The Government is being called on to do more to help autism sufferers, as Autism New Zealand pins hopes of saving its Waikato branch on a funding miracle. Read more.
Autism support group offers families hope (Herald Tribune)
“Mr. Don” urges two distracted children to dip fingers into the bowl of flour-and-water paste between them. Read more.
Autism program sets up Queens thrift store to save arts classes for kids (Jamaica, N.Y.)
A cash-strapped Jamaica program that gives autistic children music and art classes has crafted a creative solution to its money troubles – its very own thrift shop. Read more.
State Legislation Would Mandate Insurance Coverage for Autism Therapies (Yorktown Patch)
Maureen McEnroe, a Pearl River resident whose son T.J. was diagnosed with autism at four-years-old, says she has spent $10,000 to $15,000 on therapies not covered by her insurance company. Read more.
We hope you join us and our guest Areva Martin, Esq for a live Q & A session on Autism Speaks Facebook page!
TOPIC: In The Community: How to Integrate Your Child
Date: Tuesday, July 26th
Time: 4 to 5 PM/ PST
Every family has concerns and questions about how to successfully include a family member with autism in their community. Martin, a parent of a child with autism, and an attorney will join us on July 26, 2011 to share her own experiences and answer questions about how to step up to community inclusion!
About Areva Martin
Areva Martin is a nationally recognized legal authority and expert on autism who has been featured on many radio and talk shows. She is the author of the Amazon Bestselling book, The Everyday Advocate: Standing Up for Your Child with Autism and Other Special Needs.
A Harvard-educated attorney, she has helped hundreds of families gain access to services and educational programs for their children with autism. She is co-founder and president of the nonprofit Special Needs Network. She lives in Los Angeles with her family, including a ten year old son who has autism.
HOW TO JOIN
At 7:00pm EST on July 26th, visit: Facebook page
If you’ve missed chat sessions you can view transcripts from previous Facebook chats:
Can’t make the chat: submit your questions to the Family Services Team or a transcript will be available shortly after the Q&A session is concluded.
You can always contact the Autism Response Team (ART) members are specially trained to connect families with information, resources and opportunities.
Call us at 888-AUTISM 2 (288-4762) or email us at email@example.com.