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BE STILL MY HEART!!!!!! Meet Julia, Sesame Street’s newest character who ...
has Autism! I have followed this story since it was merely a thought in the pipeline some time ago. Over the past few years I have met and collaborated with such tremendously awesome people from professional experts and globally recognized foundations to the one and only Temple Grandin and we all share the same vision of highlighting the commonalities amongst our children rather than the differences. A desire to bridge the gap of ‘us’ vs ‘them’ and create awareness through empathy.
1 in 68 children have autism and it is a known fact that our spectrum kiddos are 5 times more likely to be bullied than their typically developing peers. And while I can throw facts at you all day what I know from personal experience as a mommy of one AWESOME AUTISM kid, is that the facts don’t lie. I have witnessed my child being misunderstood and picked on for needing to wear headphones in public because the noise is simply too much for him to bare. I have choked back tears and momma bear style rage as I witnessed my child being pointed at, teased and laughed at on the playground because he was spinning and humming. I have had comments made, judgements cast and asked repeatedly to leave because my child was ‘unmanageable’.
THIS, my pain, which is laced with sadness and anger, is ALL based in TRUE HOPE that we can teach our children that differences do NOT make us lesser than or unequal but simply different. This is what drives me! It’s what fuels my fire in creating Wingman, it’s what gives me the ability to stand in front of hundreds and speak and it’s what feeds my passion as I consult with families about empowered parenting!
I have seen what awareness and empathy are capable of doing! I have seen children’s eyes opened and connections made that are of the heart through Nutmeg Striders, not only with Myles but with so many other children we have the honor of having in our program. It is OUR job to model this. It is our job to cultivate compassion, to dissolve the fear that surrounds “differences” and bring us all together as human beings regardless of what age we are!
Autism is the BEST thing that has ever happened to me, my husband, our parents/his grandparents, our extended family and friends. Every single life in our circle of influence has been affected by the glorious light that is Myles. He does not know any other way other than to LOVE unconditionally, to be completely present in every single moment and shows me every day what life is truly about. And while it does not make the pain hurt any less, or diminish my frustration from time to time, it has taught me to be appreciative for the small things in life. Sometimes I wish there was a way to convey to people what goes down on a daily basis behind the scenes, the amount of work we put in on a daily basis, what we endure but I see the smiles he puts on so many faces. I watch as he hugs everyone and talks to everyone, never once thinking twice about who they are, the way they look whether they’re ‘cool’ or not and it makes it all totally worth it!
A is for AWESOME which is good enough for me!!
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