Autism Awareness in 2014: 10 Facts You Need to Know about Autism

BY: - 31 Dec '13 | Parenting

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Facing Autism on BMWK

I ran into my six-year old son’s former daycare provider the other day. During our conversation, I told her that he had been diagnosed with autism.  As soon as she heard the word autism her facial expression changed. It conveyed shock and sadness. Then she held on to both of my hands and said, “I am so sorry.” Her expression told me that she truly believed that an autism diagnosis was the worst news that a parent could possibly get. I immediately told her, “Don’t be sorry. We are doing our best for him and he is progressing.” Then she replied, “I always worried about him. Is he talking now?” I told her that Angel is saying more words than before and she smiled.

As I walked home that day, my head was spinning from the encounter. It confirmed for me that we have a long way to go to increase autism awareness and an even longer way to go for people to truly understand autism.

In the autism community, we have a saying:

If you meet one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.

This is so true. Media depictions of autism and even how you experience autism in your home and community are quite different from how my family experiences autism. Some of us have our struggles and some of us have our triumphs. It is not a walk in the park for any of us, but we persevere. We do not have a choice. Our children are depending on us.

As we go into 2014, I want to share some information about autism with you that you may not have been aware of:

  1. There is no known cause of autism.
  2. There is no cure for autism.
  3. Autism is not a terminal illness.
  4. Autism families need support not pity.
  5. Autism families need compassion not disdain.
  6. People with autism deserve respect just like anyone else.
  7. The challenges (communication, behavioral and social) caused by autism have a real impact on our families.
  8. Autism is a not a fad.
  9. According to the CDC, autism “affects each person in different ways, and can range from very mild to severe.”
  10. The indirect and direct costs of raising a child on the autism spectrum can have serious effects on families.

BMWK: What else do you want others to know about autism? How would you like autism awareness and acceptance to progress in the new year?

Check back every other Tuesday for additional articles from Kpana Kpoto as she shares her experiences and what she learns as she raises her son that has been diagnosed with Autism.

About the author

Kpana Kpoto wrote 38 articles on this blog.

Kpana Kpoto, also known as Miz Kp, is a special needs advocate and blogger. She provides resources and support for autism parents through her blog, Sailing Autistic Seas and her support group, Bronx Parents Autism Support Circle. Kpana lives in New York City with her husband and only child, six-year old "Angel" who is conquering autism one milestone at a time.

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7 Simple Ways to Raise a Grateful Child

BY: - 1 Jan '14 | Parenting

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As adults, most of us understand what it’s like to be appreciative for what we have. Most likely, you’re trying to raise your child to become conscious and aware of how blessed and fortunate they really are. I’ve been working on my children and I’m happy to share 7 simple ways to raise a grateful child.

1. Lead by example. In any and every social setting, especially in front of your children, show gratitude. A simple “please” or “thank you” speaks volumes. Say it to them as often as you can. If they see you doing it [repeatedly], they will do the same. Also, remember to never diss or talk bad about a gift someone gives you that you may not have liked. They are watching this too!

2. Community service. If your children have never performed any community service, they should. Serving others is a first-hand experience with giving your time and talents to someone else as a blessing. My children have said to me several times, unsolicited, how appreciative they are for the life that they have, as they could very well be on the receiving end of those services.

3. Set expectations. Whether its a trip to the store, or a birthday or Christmas, set limits about what is to be expected when shopping and buying gifts. If you choose to, as the child grows older, you can use key words when shopping like, “Today is ‘buy’ day.” or “Today is just a ‘look’ day.”  The key to this and most anything is consistency.

4. Give give give. Make giving a habit. When my children’s toy boxes and closets begin to spill over, we don’t just grab and bag things up, we TALK to them about what’s happening. We explain to them that their older clothes and toys would be much more appreciated by someone less fortunate. As I like to tell my kids when I am purging their items, “It’s time to make room for more blessings.”

5. Make gratitude a BIG DEAL. I wrote an article once called The Jar of Awesome. In January, you start out with an empty jar and fill it with notes about all of the awesome things that happened to you throughout the year. Then, on New Year’s Eve next year, open it up and reflect on all of the awesome things that happened to you. This is great for singles, couples, as well as families. Give it a try!

6. Take every opportunity to show them how blessed they are. If you happen to see someone on the corner holding a “WILL WORK FOR FOOD” sign or on the sidewalks panhandling, seize this moment to talk to your children about how fortunate they are to have food, clothing, shelter, etc.

7. Be patient. Children grow and develop at their own pace. Seeing the results that we want may not happen as quickly as we might wish. So, it’s always best to start working on shaping and grooming our babies as soon as possible.

BMWK – How do you teach your child to be grateful?

About the author

Sheree Adams wrote 117 articles on this blog.

Sheree is a wife and WAHM of three who passionately blogs about marriage, family, health tips and more as Smart & Sassy Mom. Sheree is committed to helping blended families and keeping marriages strong, healthy, fun and SPICY!

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