Thursday, 24 October 2013

Project Annual World Autism Awareness Walk (Our Second Year)

PACE (Parents Of Autistic Children Everywhere) has grown in the last year.  There are now136 members to date, with 5 administrators:  Mike Wilwand, Arlene Reid, Jacqueline Mason, our resident sage Anne Fountain and of course, your's truly, The Diva.

We've learned from our first World Autism Awareness Walk last April.  We've heard people's suggestions and are working hard at coming up with a better plan.  We want to make April 2nd 2014 a moment that brings a little something to your life.

As great as our first annual walk was, we kind of boo-booed on one small detail...  how to get us back to our vehicles...  OOOOPPPSSS...  We've addressed that issue for this year.  I can't give you all the details yet, but what I can tell you is that from now on, you won't have to do the walk twice.  Sorry about that.  I really, really am.  But even with that small boo-boo, you gotta admit, overall, we had a great walk.  I loved the pictures our photographer Anthony Schellenberg took of us.  Again, if you're looking for a professional photographer, please check out Anthony's site at:  If you want a patient photographer who knows his stuff, you need to be checking in with Anthony soon.  The holidays are coming, so I'm going to bet he's going to be booked solid fairly quickly.

If you didn't come to the walk last April, I really hope you make it out this spring.  If you did walk, who did you walk for?

Being around children with autism has changed my life in a way only the sweet innocence of someone with autism can.  Autism has changed my life...  I am twice the woman I used to be because of it.  I've had to change my way of thinking to understand my children, think outside the box.  It's not an easy thing to do, but I learn something new every day to help me along.  I think the greatest obstacle that any person with autism has to overcome is other people telling them what they are and are not capable of doing.  My children know that I am one person that they will not have that challenge with.  Bill Gates, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Beethoven, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Mozart, Einstein, Van Gogh...  What would our society look like without these brilliant minds?  And they HAD AUTISM!!!  This is why my children will never have to battle with me as to what they are capable of, because of these people, I will always PUSH my children to do their best in everything they do in life.

That is why I walk.

There are other children who are much more severely affected with autism than mine, and I know a few of them.  They may not be the next Einstein.  I know that people think they are less capable, less knowledgeable, less, less, less and less.   I walk for them too, because people who think my friends are LESS need to understand that different is NOT less.  My friends and family are MORE deserving than anyone in this world of understanding, patience and love.

That is why I walk.

So, I hope to see you walk beside me, because the more people we have walking, the more others will see that we are here.  Life isn't watching the moments in your life pass you by, life is making those moments count for something.  April 2nd is your moment.  Make it count!

In order to make this walk a moment in your life that will count for something, I need some feedback.  I would like input from those who attended last year's walk.  What would you change?  What should we add? Email me at

In the mean time, consider yourselves hugged!


Monday, 14 October 2013

Did You Know?

A dear friend of mine posted these seven statistics on facebook and I thought I would share them with you here:

1)  Autism now affects 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys).
2)  Autism prevalence figures are growing.
3)  Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disability.  More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined.
4)  Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average.
5)  Autism receives less then 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.
6)  Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism.
7)  There is no medical detection or cure for autism.

Here's a look at a homework assignment of a child living with autism.

How many teachers out there would look at this and think that the child who wrote this is being uncooperative?  At first glance to me it seemed as though someone was making fun of a child who can't spell.  Then I read the teacher's instructions again.

I wonder how many teachers out there are looking at this and thinking that this child is being uncooperative?  How many teachers are looking at this and feel offended?  How many teachers are looking at this and having an 'aha' moment?

As a parent, looking at this makes me think if perhaps my eleven year old can't write because he's over thinking the rules?  Maybe.  Could it be that the letters themselves standing alone make no sense to him?  Maybe.  I wish he could tell me, I really do.  But this picture clearly shows that the child who finished the homework assignment wasn't 'lazy' about his work.  He or she clearly takes pride in his work and put a lot of effort into it.  He or she made certain to follow the rules and did what was asked.

Rules...  just one small deficit area for our children.  A rule is a rule is a rule.

Autism...  It's not a processing error...  It's a different operating system altogether.  Most of us can overcome a mistake in direction and read between the lines, but our children really struggle in letting go of the details.  Every detail is important to them, and they just can't decide which detail is the MOST important.

In my home, it doesn't help that my career is detail focused.  If I don't pay attention to details, people can die, so my motto at home with my children is 'pay attention to details people!'  I think I may have to make a slight adjustment to my motto...  Not sure how, so if anyone has suggestions, please share!

Consider yourselves hugged,