In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, I thought I would post about a topic that brings fear to many parents: wandering. If your child has Autism and is in danger of wandering, please check out these resources. Autism Speaks has several resources for parents, educators, and first responders to prevent, educate, and address wandering. Also, check out the National Autism Association’s caregiver toolkit. There are also products such as Be safe the movie, which teaches appropriate ways to interact with law enforcement; Alert Me Bands, customizable emergency alert bands; and angel sense, a GPS device with voice monitoring. I have only mentioned a few here. but you can find more resources on their websites. I hope this will bring some peace of mind to you!
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April is Autism Awareness Month–an opportunity to help others learn more about Autism. With that said, I thought I would take an opportunity to share with you how Autism has touched my life, both personally and professionally. On a personal note, I have a handful of people in my life whom I hold dear and who happen to have Autism in one form or another. They have helped me experience the Autism journey from a different perspective than I have had as a professional. I have seen them grow on their journey and I have grown with them. As a school psychologist, I have the pleasure of working with individuals with Autism almost daily. Just like any journey, there can be hills, valleys, and plains. Frustration is inevitable, but so are the joyful moments. A day doesn’t pass that I don’t smile or giggle because a student with Autism has helped me see things a little differently or challenged my expertise.
I’m sure you have seen the puzzle icon in your community, whether as a bumper sticker, a logo on a t-shirt, or as a profile pic on social media. In case you didn’t know, this icon represents Autism. If you somoeone displaying it, they are touched by Autism in some way. I’m not sure about why this icon was chosen to represent Autism but I know what it means to me in my journey. Autism is a puzzle. We didn’t use to know as much as we do now about Autism. We used to have a few of the pieces–we weren’t sure of the causes or how we could help individuals with Autism to be successful. Over the years, however, knowledge has increased through research and education. Students and individuals with Autism have more resources in school and the community to help them experience growth and success. We’re getting more pieces to the puzzle. Perhaps some day all the pieces will fall into place and the puzzle will be complete. Until then, I will continue to enjoy my journey with those who are touched by Autism.
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* President Obama issued a proclamation recognizing April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day. You can check out more of the details on the Autism Speaks website: https://www.autismspeaks.org/advocacy/advocacy-news/obama-issues-world-autism-awareness-day-proclamation-2015 . Also, check out the “Useful Resources” tab at the top of this page for links to websites devoted to Autism.