Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!
Have you talked to the teen/young adult in your life yet?
I had a couple of great conversations with my oldest son last week. and they happened spontaneously. While reading in our living room, he came in, sat down on the couch and started talking to me. At the end of the conversation he was glad we talked. I suggested watching a movie together and we wound up watching a couple. Sometimes knowing someone is available to listen is all our teens and young aduts need to start the dialogue.
April is National Autism Acceptance Month
After my post last week on Accepting Autism, I learned the subtle difference between being aware of a cause and accepting people affected by it. I am working becoming more aware of the causes and doing more to accept those affected. This week, by sharing the information on the blog, I take on a more active role in promoting the understanding of Autism. This in turn helps to understand it more and be better equiped to accept people with the disorder.
So, I am focusing the posts this month on Autism, not only to raise awareness about what Autism is and what we can do to accept those who have this disorder. This week the focus is on three inspiring people who have autism.
Three Inspiring people with Autism
Last year for Autism Awareness Month, I reviewed Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary. He’s a 20-something stand up comic who was told he doesn’t look autistic. Autism “looks” different for just about everyone who has the autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
He was diagnosed with ASD at 5. While in junior high, he started journaling about his life and how hard things were for him. He took his experiences, expressed them in funny ways and became a stand-up comedian at age 14.
Here is a link to the book review to learn more about Michael and his journey with autism. Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic
Jason ‘J-Mac’ McElwain
I learned about J-Mac through my research about autism. According to Wikipedia, he was diagnosed with ASD at the age of 2 and initially struggled to interact with other kids but developed better social skills as he grew older. After his older brother, Josh, introduced him to basketball. He loved to play the game, but was hindered by Autism. He became the team manager for the Greece Athena High Schools’ varsity team.
The team’s coach, Jim Johnson, decided to add Jason to the team roster for the last home game of Jason’s senior season. He was given a jersey and allowed to sit on the bench during the game. With a comfortable lead late in the game, Coach Johnson put Jason in the game. A dream come true for someone with a passion for basketball. After missing the first two shots he took, he went on to score six three-pointers and one two-point shot. The fans stormed the court at the end of the game which Greece Athena won 79-43.
A memoir, The Game of my Life, written by Jason, his family, coach and teammates published in 2008. Many people asked for the rights to make a movie about this amazing dream come true, so The Magic of J-Mac released in 2009.
Girls and Autism
Girls with high functioning autism, learn to hide their social skill deficiencies and differences more than boys with ASD. Because of this, they tend to be diagnosed with ASD later in life.
While I looked for a story about a girl who is doing great things while being autistic, I stumbled onto a newsletter from The Kinera Foundation featuring a teen named Amanda.
The Kinera Foundation is an organization in Stevensville, MD that provides support and understanding to families living with disabilities and special health care needs. They shared more of Amanda’s story on their website.
According to The Kinera Foundation website, Amanda is a 16-year-old teen with autism, but she wasn’t diagnosed until she was in 8th grade. She recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award project on the topic of girls with autism. Her goal; to raise awareness.
In an interview posted on their website, she decided in 10th Grade to make some positive changes in her life. She got straight A’s, became a member of the National Honor Society and played in the orchestra pit at school. She changed her life around. Now, due to COVID-19, things have changed a bit again, but she is anxious to get back to school and continue improving herself.
Her advice to people struggling right now is
“To keep your chin up, do the best you can. It’s all that matters.”
Inspring People with Autism
These are just three stories about people with inspiring autism stories. There are many more out there to learn about. Continue becoming aware of Autism and accepting these people and the great things they and others are doing. They are making things better for themselves and people with Autism. Together, we can do more.
The Hard Way
Last week I announced The Hard Way’s fourth birthday and a $.99 book sale through Amazon.com. It is coming up this week on April 23rd-25th. If you have been waiting to get your copy, this is a great chance to pick one up.
What do you think of my new logo? Along with the new logo, we are creating new graphics and a new website will be launching in the next few weeks. Be sure to stay tuned for more details.
Have a great week!