April – AUTISM Awareness Month

I just wanted to put a little plug in here….The month of April is Autism Awareness Month.  This is very personal for me and my family, the long version is a topic for another day, but the short version goes like this…My sweet son, Jacob (now 12) was diagnosed at age 5 with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum.  He is an amazing kid…and quite adorable as you can see from the photos!  We have had some tough times.  However, he has made tremendous progress and is having a great 6th grade year.  He is in the mainstream classroom, has a very animated personality and is quite the smarty, if I do say so myself!  (Plus, he’s a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, so watch out!!)
I feel it is so important to get the word out because autism can be a hidden difference and with the right education and information, people can become more sensitive when they see a child behaving in certain ways. Kids don’t need to be labeled as weird or behavior problems.  Those children and their parents and siblings just want to be understood and looked on with compassion.  We are, after all, all of us, simply doing the best we can on any given day, in any given situation. And truly, I don’t feel sorry for myself or for my son.  There are times when it hurts to see him struggle, especially when it comes to social things, but I don’t think he is “broken” or needs to be “fixed”.  My prayer is, that in time, he will come to view himself in the same light and be proud of his particular gifts…and there are many! I am thankful every day for my son.  He makes me a better person.
There is more and more information out there every day about autism.  Google autism and you will come up with more hits than you could read in a weeks time.  I am very grateful for that.  When Jacob was diagnosed in April 2000, Asperger’s had only been an official diagnosis for 6 years!  Now there are many, many books, websites and magazine articles dedicated to autism.  Even OPRAH is on the bandwagon now…she did a whole show last week dedicated to autism awareness.  So we’re really on the map now!  You know what happens when Oprah draws attention to something…
Okay, so there’s my soapbox.  There are links to some good websites on my page and hopefully we can all be more informed and have the opportunity to be blessed by knowing someone with autism.  I know I am.
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