Autism: How Moms are Raising Awareness About Life With Autism
Instead of featuring amazing moms one-at-a-time, I'm going to share three fantastic moms with you this week. These mom bloggers are raising awareness of what it's like to raise a child who has received an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. We've mentioned or featured some before, like Nichol Hardy and Nirasha Jaganath. We've even talked about autism organizations to support and websites that help. But there are many mothers of autistic children who are using the power of social media to raise awareness, not in a soapbox-y way, but in a let-me-help-other-parents-of-autistic-children-so-that-together-we-can-support-each-other kind of way. Here are a few:
Julee Mobley, of AutismMomma.com, provides witty insight into her life with three kids, the oldest with PDD-NOS, and two step-kids. She supplies unique tips on helping an autistic child, a reading list for parents, and a document cache where parents of autistic children can buy or post specific documents that help them deal better with medical professionals, etc. When asked If there was one thing she would most like to see parents of "neurotypical," non-autistic children do to help the autism community, in general or an autistic child specifically, she said, "When you see a child who is acting "out of the norm," stop and think about what might be causing that behavior. If my child is doing something weird, go ahead and ask me about it. Most parents of autism kids would love the support of other parents, and I'm not usually going to start the conversation, saying: "Hey, my kid has autism. That's why he's 11 years-old and swinging in the baby swing. . .cute, huh?"
Sabrina Freeman, Ph.D. is the AutismPundit. She is mother to an autistic child, a Stanford graduate, a 14-year advocate for the rights of children with autism to be included in the government-funded health-care system of British Columbia, Canada, and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth's 50th Golden Jubilee Medal for advocacy work done on behalf of children afflicted with autism. Her advocacy was instrumental in a famous Supreme Court of Canada ruling Auton (Guardian ad litem of) v. British Columbia in 2004. She has also published four books on autism-related topics, the latest of which is an up-to-date evaluation on the various treatment options. On her blog, she provides reviews of autism books and other media, as well as links to other helpful sites and blogs. When asked how parents of neurotypical children to help, she says, "I'd like those parents to say: 'We very much want to see the child with autism integrated with our children in school. How can we make this work?'"
Emily Vanek, is the owner and editor-in-chief of ColoradoMoms.com. Her family consists of a husband and three sons, with their youngest child on the Autism Spectrum. Her site facilitates a support network of not only moms with autistic children, but also moms with special-needs children, and moms with "neurotypical" children, providing recipes, craft ideas, etc. In ColoradoMom's Special Needs section, Emily talks openly about books, products, and apps that are particularly helpful for parents of autistic children. When she was asked about how others can help, she said, "Help end the "r" word. Teens and tweens use it as slang and it's just unnecessary and hurtful."
If you are the parent of an autistic child, these are great resources. If you are not, these are still good ways to familiarize yourself with the types of struggles that they go through, so that you can sympathize and help. There are many more helpful blogs out there than we could list. If you know of a good one, please let us know.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.