Saturday, April 13, 2013

Autism Awareness Month: Celebrating Amazing Parents & 6 Ways of Teaching Kids With Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month. This has been celebrated since the 1970s by the Autism Society as a way of educating people about autism and issues confronted by the autism community. The school that I work at houses many of the autism classrooms in our local cluster of schools and it has given me the chance to interact with these children and families on a daily basis. The one big take-away that I've learned from working with and supporting these families (from help with IEPs to our monthly special needs playtime get together), is how deeply they are committed to ADVOCATE and EDUCATE!

As the parent of kids with special needs (FASD), I've had to become an expert. Many are willing to help, and I am externally thankful for these people, but I can't depend on others to always do the heavy lifting for me because these are MY kids. I've met a lot of great teachers, dedicated and willing to help my child, but clueless in regards to FASD. We were fortunate that they wanted to learn and that we were equipped to teach them. Don't you always seem to find yourself in that situation? How many times have you had to explain, expand, or even correct others (lovingly...always lovingly) about your child and the obstacles they face? My wife and I were grateful for the time we've spent gathering information about the neurological dysfunction that affects our kids and for ever opportunity to share it with others. We helped our children, helped their teachers, help other families, and helped ourselves by actively participating rather than spectating....and I know you all do it too!

Here is a great article0 I found on It is aimed at teachers, but each strategy could easily be used by parents. I hope you enjoy it.
Autism Awareness Month: 6 Strategies For Teaching Students With Autism

Again, this "never surrender" spirit is what I absolutely love about special needs parents! YOU'RE ALL AWESOME! Please, do not take what you have done for your children for granted! I've worked with thousands upon thousands of parents, and special needs parents tend to be one of the most proactive, dedicated, and hardest working group of parents out there. I see the same spirit in foster parents and adoptive parents too (ooh, maybe we could have a battle royal to figure out who is the best of the best...hrmm, best to table that idea for now). Seriously though, we often feel as if we are in a world unto ourselves, and seldom feel as if anything we are doing is right. <SLAP> (that's a pretend slap...I would never actually slap you) SNAP OUT OF IT!!! As an objective observer, let me assure you that the steps you take to advocate for your kids and the mountains your climb to educate yourselves (and others) make you absolutely extraordinary!!!