Monday, April 2, 2012

World Autism Awareness Day & All About Joey

In honor of World Autism Awareness Day and the month of April which is Autism Awareness month, I have asked one of our favorite friends {named April!} to share with all of you her family's story. Her son Joey is affected by Autism and until I got to know her and her family, I didn't really have a great grasp of what being autistic meant or how it has affected them. Until talking to April, doing a bit of research and reading of my own and meeting other families and moms who struggle with this, I don't think I realized the full affect that it can have on those impacted by it.

Special thanks to April for being willing to share her story and to help us all understand what a day in the life of Joey is like.

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As children, we are all taught that everyone has some form of disability and that some are just more visible than others. My son Joey, has a disability, but you could not tell it just by looking at him. Joey is a triplet and has a younger brother. He fits right in and we all look like a normal, happy family.

Joey is a triplet with his sisters Jillian and Sarah, with little Will as the younger brother!

Joey looks just like any of his other friends, but Joey has Aspergers, a form of Autism. Because you cannot look at Joey and tell that he has a disability, many people perceive him as odd, rude, mean, selfish or immature.

In fact, Joey is a very intelligent young man and is quite aware of his differences. He knows that he is not like his other friends but he does not know why. He does not understand why people become annoyed after listening to him spout out football facts for several minutes. He loves football and can tell you whatever you want to know about it. Joey loves the Cincinnati Bengals and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and can not understand why everyone else does not.

As bad as he wants to fix it, he is frustrated because he doesn't know how. This frustration is often felt in our household as Joey struggles to make sense of all of the nonsense around him. He does not understand why I would tell him to wait just a minute and yet take longer than 60 seconds to finish what I was doing.

Some people just look at me with pity in their eyes when they see me struggling to help Joey understand or cope with situations. However, I love him just the way God made him and I would not change him for the world....I only wish the world would change for him.

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After reading April and Joey's story, I began to think a bit about it. I thought about how frustrating it would be for a child to not understand why he feels how he feels and more importantly than that, why others don't understand him or why they aren't like him. I thought about how many times I have had someone sharing with me too many facts that "I didn't seem to have the time {or want} to listen to that day" and then later found out that they too were autistic and only trying to communicate with me in the best way that they knew how.

I thought about how hard it would be on a mommy to watch your child struggle with this and not understand why or have the solution to it all. I thought about how difficult it would be to communicate with that child - heck communicating with kids is hard enough for me, without this added challenge.

It made me realize that though people with Autism may communicate a bit differently, their zeal and passion for life is no less than yours and mine and sometimes it just takes an extra minute or an extra dose of patience to listen to them. I know that I for one, need to do a better job of loving these friends and kids and meeting them exactly where they are at, versus just brushing them off.

Some brief facts about Autism include that it affects 1 in 88 children and is more prevalent in boys. It seems to have its roots in very early brain development, though symptoms don't tend to emerge until sometime between 2-3 years of age. The disorder can be characterized in varying degrees of difficulties in communications, social settings and repetitive behaviors.

Stella & Dot is raising money to donate to Autism Speaks with the "Shine" and "Sole" bracelet. For the month of April, twenty percent of the proceeds from these two bracelets will be donated to Autism speaks. {When the Tribute Bracelet was sold for Breast Cancer Awareness, over $200,000 was raised!}

Should you want a cute bracelet to represent that you are an Autism support - while donating to a great cause, you can order HERE. Should you want to make a donation directly to Autism Speaks, the link to give is HERE.

The Shine Bracelet

Whether you shop for a cause or donate time or money to Autism Speaks or don't feel called to do anything at all, there is one thing that we can all do and that is to pray. Please take the time to pray for these children and their families and that the research will be productive and that those that struggle with the varying forms of Autism can get the support they need.

{I would love to share your families story about Autism this month. If you or a loved one has been affected by it and you would like to do a guest blog post, please email me!} Pin It Now!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much Lauren!! This is an awesome article!! Thanks for letting me share Joey's story!

    ReplyDelete

 
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