When I first received my son’s diagnosis, I wasn’t aware of a lot of support. The school district was very helpful, thank goodness. And his symptoms are not very apparent at home. I didn’t think I needed the community. But once we hit school age, that changed. I felt a bit adrift. What do I need to do for him? What kind of supports are out there? Has anyone else dealt with this before? What if I miss something?
When your child enters the “real world” without you, it’s scary. So I read – A LOT – and thank Temple Grandin for her dedication and putting into words her experience so those of us (NT’s) who don’t have autism can at least get a clue as to what might be happening inside our children’s minds. As I looked for more info, I found parent bloggers – YAY! a helpful resource – I’m not alone! THEN I found AUTISTIC bloggers – WOW! MORE info about how my son’s brain might be working – YAY – HE’s not alone!
I was very touched, moved, and changed by these experiences. I highly recommend Loud Hands Anthology to pretty much anyone who is even vaguely curious about autism, and especially to parents, for an understanding of how autistic people are thinking/feeling. Sometimes we parents get so caught up in how autism affects OUR lives that we don’t really tune into how it affects our children’s lives.
Now, I’m extroverted – I talk to practically everyone I meet. I’m the kind of person that can strike up a conversation in an elevator or the checkout line at the store. I found myself running into a lot of parents who had kids on the spectrum – at the park, the playplace, wherever. I noticed that they hadn’t come across the info that I had, or were unaware of the parent/autistic bloggers. It happened often enough that it started a tickle at the back of my brain.
That tickle materialized into an idea to help other parents of autistic children, and perhaps autistic individuals that were looking for communities of support. Having been in the business world for a bit and done some networking (meeting, greeting, exchanging business cards, etc.), I thought an Autism Acceptance “business card” with pertinent information might be an easy way to give others a helping hand. I also didn’t want to have to keep writing the same things down over and over on a piece of paper that was destined to get lost, accidentally thrown out, crumpled up, etc.
I doubted the usefullness of this idea for a while and thought maybe it was foolish. But within 24 hours I ran into someone whose sister is autistic, and through conversation found she wasn’t aware of a lot of the resources, blogs, and information that I had discovered. (Ok, Universe, I get the hint!)
Luckily, Staples.com was having a special, and has a HUGE array of business card design options. Here is the card I designed, with links to favorite blogs, web pages, facebook pages, and resources. As I come upon more blogs, sites that I want to add, I’ll just buy some labels, print the new info on those, stick them on the back of the cards, and TA-DA – ready to go!