Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Meet our next Autism Star: and he is Messy and Beautiful

All kids write on walls at some point. A typical wall is blank, boring and just asking for an extra splash of color like a canvas and children are more than willing to help rectify that problem. 
 

 
Obviously you need a snack while you help decorate

Sometimes, they even help repeatedly before they tire of hearing flustered adults critiquing their masterpieces and using words like “mess”, “again?” and “Do you have any idea how much paint costs?” At some point though, it does end. 
A fresh coat of paint is splashed on the wall and everyone goes about their business with a funny story, unless you live at my house.

My six year-old son has classic autism. It was very difficult getting him to write when he was younger, except on the wall. I cleaned and painted a lot. At first they were just scribbles, but then a trend became very clear.


My little guy loves logos. Not just any logos, he adores children’s television production logos. 
 

Every wall of our home has been stamped with logos from Disney, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Noggin, PBS Kids, PBS Kids Go!, WGBH Boston, Treehouse Productions, Cookie Jar, The Learning Box , Sprout, Baby Einstein, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and from “viewers like you, Thank you.” 


He adores them in a way that other kids love dolls, trucks and sports. He will watch logo taglines and credits repeatedly until he thinks he is ready to recreate the logo and then it appears everywhere --not only on the walls, but on schoolwork, any scraps of paper laying around, the computer monitor and even an IEP draft. 
 


He got a logo book for Christmas that gets carried around the house and is also serving as a great teacher of finding things alphabetically.



 

His handwriting at school has progressed to the point that my husband and I have to ask our other children if they wrote things, it’s indistinguishable from them now. So, at some point I will need a whole lot of paint, but right now I am perfectly happy letting him create a logo haven in our home. Progress can be messy and beautiful at the same time.


 
Cynthia Gregory is the mother to three equally fabulous kids and loves sharing the fun. She just started an Instagram account and would love some company,
 http://instagram.com/cgregoryrun#

Friday, April 4, 2014

Meet the first of our April Autism Superstars: on Mitch's Autie Walk

http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/2155437/mitchs-family-blown-away-by-support/?cs=80

Hi my name is Mitchell Bourke and I am 12 years old, I have Autism, Schizotypal Disorders, Every 
form of Dyslexia, Separation Anxiety Disorder. It has not always been easy for me in fact I tried to 
commit suicide a few years ago, I'm so glad now that it didn’t happen.

I am the one who started Mitch’s Autie Walk, it started because a friend of the family told my mum 
that funding had fallen through so I came up with the idea to walk from one side of town to the other approx. 20 kms, to raise the money myself, my goal was $25,000. It started really fast and I had to tell my story to lots of people over and over again it was really hard to do this, we were getting some cheques off some important people and some of the businesses that I contacted were donating items for an online auction, it was awesome.


Part of the preparations: Asking people for sponsorship.

The night before I was excited, nervous and worried as I didn’t know if I could finish and would let people down. Mum said to me it didn’t matter whether I took one step or not as I had done more than anyone has imagined and that everyone was already so proud of me. I had trouble sleeping and mum woke me at 6am so I could have breakfast but I was way too nervous.

We arrived at the start to see my big sister already there, she is a fish, this is my word for amazing, awesome, great, and beautiful and so on, which made me feel so much better.

Then other people started to arrive, it made me really nervous but my sister and her best friend Ash made me feel better. So next we were on our way and I can remember mum laughing and saying we were walking too fast. We had people that tooted and waved along the way, we had a group of cyclist that had collected and all stopped to give me the money and they all clapped it was so so good. We arrived at the lake and we were having a rest stop and a man just walked up and said hey mate you are doing a good job and gave me $50 he had driven so far to do this I couldn’t believe it.




Along the way we met some really lovely people we got the other side too fast and had to stop and have a rest and play, they had to slow me down as we would have arrived at the end before the time that we said. We left there and got to Kangaroo Flat where I had to have some fries lol and then started heading to the finish line, I had an anxiety attack about 2 kms out as I knew that there were lots of people at the end, I got myself so worked up that I couldn’t breathe properly, mum helped me through this as she always does, we got to the end and I felt warm and fuzzy inside, I was so pleased to see everyone, I had done it.



Exhausted at the end of the walk, with big sister.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

April Stars

On Monday I was at the launch of "Asiam.ie" an exciting new website and organisation set up by a young man with Autism, Adam Harris.

Adam Harris and Norah Casey 


As I am sets out to:

*Educate: through increasing and improving accessibility of information, to equip people with Autism and their families to understand the condition better.

*Empower: they believe that for too long those with Autism have been told what their needs are and what to do about them. They aim to be a user-led initiative.

*Advocate: by acting as a hub for the AS community in Ireland they want to draw on common areas of concern raised by users and develop public awareness and policy campaigns around these issues.  


and finally they are setting out to create a Community. They aim to provide a safe, pleasant space for the AS community to share experiences, concerns and ideas with others with similar experiences

To do this Adam has put together an impressive website which includes a forum for groups and individuals. I would encourage you to go and join up right now by clicking HERE

The launch was in a fabulous venue; No 10 Ormond Quay and was attended by celebrities from national radio, TV and print media.
It was however launched by genuine Autism specialists like Prof Louise Gallagher from Trinity University, a world leader in research into Genetics in Autism. There was a speech from Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly, TD. who congratulated Adam on his initiative and the event was hosted by Norah Casey, former "Dragon" investor on Dragon's Den and host of Newstalk Breakfast.

But the real stars were the people with Autism. I was thrilled to meet Sean Foley who appeared in the same documentary that my family were in a few years ago: "Life With Autism."
I also shook hands with Jamie Reilly (Minister Reilly's son) who is embarking on his PHD in genetics in NUI Galway and the lovely Laragh Smith who appears in the launch video with Sean.

I was amused to see TV weather man Martin King, standing alone. I went over to thank him for helping to launch Grace App on the Morning Show in 2010 and he too seemed 'star struck" by this new guard of self advocates, shaping a future to suit themselves.

So for the month of April, I am handing this blog over to the people with Autism, specialists in Autism and people who love people with Autism. Watch out for an encore from Sean Mulligan tomorrow and some stories from around the globe on how people with Autism are taking the initiative to help themselves and others.
If you want to take part, email me lisa@graceapp.com.

See you tomorrow xx




* If you want to support As I Am in raising a little bit of start up capital you can go here and contribute to his crowd funding campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/asiam-ie-launch-fundraising-appeal