Category Archives: r-word.org

Bob Marley was right: “You can’t find the right roads when the streets are paved”

New Raymer may be a small town quite a distance from Fort Collins, but visiting Prairie School was quite worth the road trip!

 

 

The students, aged Kindergarten to high school Seniors, were all polite, helpful, supportive, and attentive.

Awesome in Action enjoyed presenting to the lower grades (K-5th), using the Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign. 

 

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The introduction for Nick, written by 5th grader, Simon, could not have been better! Here Nick is giving Simon “knuckles” after the speech.

 

The older grade kids helped us arrange their beautiful auditorium in order to experience life from Nick’s point of view in the “Walk in My Shoes” presentation

 

The students tried out Nick’s speech device by having conversations with their peers using only the assistive technology.

 

They also read Nick’s book, Helping in Action,  and discussed proper disability etiquette.

 

Finally, the students each tried to get through a door , as well as maneuver around some obstacles, in a manual wheelchair.  Here is our dedicated volunteer, Thalia, giving the wheelchair a try after the presentations.

IMG_9075 A big Thank You to our new friend, Kaitlyn Birdsall, an amazing teacher who makes the drive every day from Fort Collins to teach in New Raymer; and who entertains Nick’s every whim…including providing him with a “Smelling Hotdog” after the presentations.

We loved spending time with all of the students and teachers of Prairie school! Thank you for inviting us to present to your school!

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!