3 Reasons Why this Autism Mom is Grateful

BY: - 25 Nov '14 | Parenting

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Facing Autism on BMWK

Raising a child on the autism spectrum is a never ending roller coaster ride, so today I want to celebrate the highs. Today, I want to celebrate the reasons why my son makes me feel grateful.

Progress: When parents of children on the autism spectrum talk to one another, the word “progress” comes up a lot. We ask questions like: “How is he doing?” “Is he making progress?” We celebrate with one another when our children achieve a milestone. Some examples include being happy when they try a new food or screaming with joy when they use a word in context. When it comes to my son Angel, I appreciate the progress he has made. He has made strides in some areas. He still struggles in some areas. Yet, we will never give up on him. We will always raise the bar. Progress for Angel is a journey and I am grateful for how far he has come.

Unconditional Love: I am grateful to have a true understanding of what it means to love someone unconditionally. The love that I have for Angel knows no boundaries. This is why I refuse to classify his autism diagnosis as a life sentence. I refuse to see it as something that has banished me to lifetime of suffering. When I look at my son, I do not see a child who is a problem. I see a child who is teaching me to look at the world in a different way. I see a child who is teaching me the true meaning of empathy. I see a child who is teaching me to love with everything I have.

Network: I don’t know where I would be without my network. They keep me sane. They keep me going. They inspire me to carry on. Parenting Angel has brought a wonderful network of autism parents into my life. I have also been blessed to meet some wonderful providers who truly care about helping him grow and learn. My network would not be complete without my family and friends. Their support lifts me up on days when I just want to crawl into bed and forget the world around me. Angel’s diagnosis has changed the way I relate to people. I like to think that it has changed me for the better. It is a blessing to know that I do not walk this path alone and for this and more, I will always be grateful.

BMWK: What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

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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How I Know “Ferguson” Will Happen Again, and Again, and Again Unless We Take These Steps to Stop It!

BY: - 27 Nov '14 | On the Web

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TNM_Ferguson

Today, many of us are still grappling with the Michael Brown verdict. We are wondering how once again we asked the question of whether black men are valuable in this country, and were once again met with ‘no’ as an answer. But even sadder than the devastation felt after the Michael Brown verdict, is the knowledge that it will happen again. It is not a matter of “if,” but instead “how long will it take.”

Maybe it doesn’t have to be this way. But if we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to get what we’ve always gotten. As black people, we will never change the minds of everyone in the United States, but there are steps we have to take if we are ever going to continue to work toward change.

We have to stop acting like hashtag activism is actual activism.

Remember those girls everybody was trying to bring home a while back? What happened to them? Did they ever get rescued?

Nope. And no one cares anymore. People posted and tweeted and when the hashtag stopped trending so did the interest in what happened to the lives of those young women. Everyone fooled themselves into thinking that posting a Facebook status actually amounted to taking an action. The reality is that posting a tweet is about the equivalent of complaining loudly in a room full of your friends. Awareness means nothing without action. Everyone being aware of what happened to Trayvon Martin didn’t do anything to save Michael Brown.

We have to hold ourselves, and our successful black folks, accountable for taking care of one another.

We become so enraged when White America doesn’t care about us. Yet we throw our unwavering support behind Black people with the money, the power, and the platform to make a difference even when they say “I have nothing to offer but my presence, now buy my album so I can brag about investing all your hard-earned money on expensive goods sold by white people in Italy.” We can boycott black Friday, but if we aren’t boycotting the black people who aren’t investing in us, our money is still ending up in the same place.

We have to stop waiting for White America to care about us.

That great white hope we’re all waiting for isn’t coming. In the last 6 months I have had three well-educated, ”liberal” white people say to me that race is no longer a problem. In case you didn’t read that last sentence, that means that they saw Michael Brown in the news and were still able to come to the conclusion that race doesn’t matter in the United States. We keep thinking that someone will see a problem that isn’t actually a direct problem for them and then do something about it. It’s time to start investing in and building up our own communities, not so that they will then want to take care of us, but because we are all we have.

We have to stop thinking that being “well behaved” is the answer to changing anything.

Pulling up your pants, speaking articulately, getting a good education—we should all strive for these things, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that any of it makes a difference in society’s impression of black people as a whole, or does anything to change outcomes like Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown. Barack Obama is the epitome of all that you are supposed to do as a black man: Harvard educated, hard-working, articulate, family man, and the President of the United States. I challenge you to find one article where there isn’t one White person in the comments calling him a savage or a gorilla. I’ll wait…

We have to keep working when there’s nothing trending in the news.

The marches that we see during the Civil Rights Movement aren’t just marches; they are the culmination of weeks, months, and years of work. They are the evidence of real sacrifice–time, money, sometimes lives–from those taking part. They did it when there weren’t likes to be had, when there was no applause, when no one saw what they were doing. For every leader we’ve heard of, there are thousands whose names we’ve never known working around the clock for change, and a change that they didn’t even expect to see in their lifetimes, but one that maybe their grandchildren could enjoy. We can’t sit around doing nothing for years at a time, and then expect change to come because we march after an incident in the news.

We have to actually know that we need to take action, and then take it.

But we probably won’t. Chances are, we will forget. Next week we’ll go back to breaking the internet with Kim Kardashian’s booty pics and be content to do that until it’s time to fill another young black boy’s name into the same headline. Forget, murder, riot, rinse, and repeat.

BMWK – what steps do we need to take in order to work towards change.

About the author

Aja Dorsey Jackson wrote 204 articles on this blog.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and marriage educator in Baltimore, Maryland and author of the blog and book, Making Love in the Microwave.

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