April is Autism Awareness Month…Awesome!

Nick with SerageMy friend Jordan likes to play bad guys. My friend Serage likes to sing. My friend Jacoby loves the water. My friend Cambden likes to go to the library.  They are all different kids, but they are all awesome!

They all have different interests and personalities… and they all have Autism.

Serage and Camden

Autism is a not a defining trait, it is just a piece of a person.  I think my friends with Autism are funny, energetic, and brave…but others may have a different misconception because they do not know anyone with Autism. The Autism Speaks website debunks 11 common Myths about people with Autism:

Here is my friend, Camden and I!

Camden and Nick

1. Myth: People with autism don’t want friends.
Truth: If someone in your class has autism, they probably struggle with social skills, which may make it difficult to interact with peers. They might seem shy or unfriendly, but that’s just because he or she is unable communicate their desire for relationships the same way you do.

2. Myth: People with autism can’t feel or express any emotion—happy or sad.
Truth: Autism doesn’t make an individual unable to feel the emotions you feel, it just makes the person communicate emotions (and perceive your expressions) in different ways.

3. Myth: People with autism can’t understand the emotions of others.
Truth: Autism often affects an individual’s ability to understand unspoken interpersonal communication, so someone with autism might not detect sadness based solely on one’s body language or sarcasm in one’s tone of voice. But, when emotions are communicated more directly, people with autism are much more likely to feel empathy and compassion for others.

4. Myth: People with autism are intellectually disabled.
Truth: Often times, autism brings with it just as many exceptional abilities as limitations. Many people with autism have normal to high IQs and some may excel at math, music or another pursuit.

5. People with autism are just like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man.
Truth: Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning its characteristics vary significantly from person to person. Knowing one person with autism means just that—knowing one person with autism. His or her capabilities and limitations are no indication of the capabilities and limitations of another person with autism.

6. Myth: People who display qualities that may be typical of a person with autism are just odd and will grow out of it.
Truth: Autism stems from biological conditions that affect brain development and, for many individuals, is a lifelong condition.

7. Myth: People with autism will have autism forever.
Truth: Recent research has shown that children with autism can make enough improvement after intensive early intervention to “test out” of the autism diagnosis. This is more evidence for the importance of addressing autism when the first signs appear.

8. Myth: Autism is just a brain disorder.
Truth: Research has shown that many people with autism also have gastro-intestinal disorders, food sensitivities, and many allergies.

9.  Myth: Autism is caused by bad parenting.
Truth: In the 1950s, a theory called the “refrigerator mother hypothesis” arose suggesting that autism was caused by mothers who lacked emotional warmth. This has long been disproved.

10. Myth: The prevalence of autism has been steadily increasing for the last 40 years.
Truth: The rate of autism has increased by 600% in the last 20 years. In 1975, an estimated 1 in 1,500 had autism. In 2014, an estimated 1 in 68 had an autism spectrum disorder.

11. Myth: Therapies for people with autism are covered by insurance.
Truth:  Most insurance companies exclude autism from the coverage plan roughly half of the 50 states currently require coverage for treatments of autism spectrum disorders.

 

Jacoby

Jacoby as a little guy

Jacoby older

My friend Jacoby now!

My advice to interacting with someone who has Autism:

Say “hi“…and go from there. Chances are you have met a new friend!

Thank you for your support!

Reading with Community Preschool

Teachers with heart, students with a curiosity and a willingness to learn and grow….this is what you find within the walls of Community Preschool in Loveland.

Ms. Tammy

Ms. Tammy

 

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Ms. Laura

 

Ms. Jodie

Ms. Jodie

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Ms. Jill

 

First Baptist church

Located within the First Baptist Church on 6th Street, this non-profit cooperative preschool is a great place for 3 to 5 year olds to spend their time.

Nick, Andre, and Shal

2 yr. old Andre joined the audience for Nick’s presentation.

We were very impressed by the children’s inherent respect for their presenters and eachother.

 

 

 

 

The children asked great questions of Nick and his job coach, Audrey!

 

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Landis and Nick

Landis Fletcher, Former CPS student and new friend!

 

We were excited to have our new friends and advocates, Shelly and Landis Fletcher, among the audience.

Nick and Shelly Fletcher

Shelly Fletcher, new advocate and friend!

playground time

Ms. Micheal and Nick with a student. 

 

After the presentation, we were invited to play on the playground, and even got the kids to sit still long enough for a  picture!

 

 

 

 

 

We hope to visit Community Preschool soon! What an Awesome school!