Calling all individuals with autism and parents of children with autism!
Did you ever feel misunderstood? Constantly battling with your teachers? Wondering why they just didn’t understand you? Do you ever wish you could teach them something?
Well, you can! And it’s your time to be HEARD!
In honor of April being Autism Awareness Month, I am opening my blog to you! I want to hear your stories and share them with the world!
And I need your help!
You are the experts about autism!
Are you an autistic adult?
What do you wish your teachers understood about you and your behaviors? Do you have something that you couldn’t share then, but want to share now? It’s time!
Are you an adolescent with autism?
Do you wish that you could tell your teachers something about yourself, but can’t? What is it?
Are you a parent of a child with autism?
What do you want your child’s teacher to know about your child and their needs? What do you wish they knew?
Here’s the chance to be HEARD! I want to hear from you, the experts, what you wish your teachers knew about you (or your child) and autism?
I’m looking to feature a new story from an individual with autism each day in the month of April. And that could be you! Help me spread autism awareness and share ideas, tips and tricks that you wish your teacher knew about autism.
If you (or your child with autism) would like to participate, please send the following to me at firstname.lastname@example.org:
a description of you (or your child),
how autism affected your life at school,
and what you wish your teachers knew about autism.
Make your stories as long or as short as you want! It’s your time to be heard, so no holds barred!
Please send your stories along with a picture (optional) to me at email@example.com and I will post it on my website. I want to feature YOU!
I need your help in this project, and as the experts, I am hoping you will participate!
This guest post is by Trisha Katkin, a special education teacher in NH. She has her Master’s in Education and currently holds certificates in General Special Education, Learning Disabilities and Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities. She has been a guest speaker several times at the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability at their Behavioral Workshops and at the Summer Behavioral Summit. She has been featured on KerryMagro.com, The American Autism Association and GeekClubBooks. She is a crusader for students with autism and fights to spread awareness for teachers, parents, and advocates who need help. She writes a blog at TRISHAKATKIN.COM where her posts consist of actionable step-by-step advice and tips that can be implemented immediately.
How do I explain autism? That is a question that every autism parent is faced with and it was my turn when my son was diagnosed with complex autism at age 5.
Trying to juggle my own mixed emotions of relief on the one hand, and grief on the other, my overriding concern was not my own emotions but my son’s. How would we explain this to him in a way that left him feeling abled, and not disabled? So, I started searching for childrens’ books that would help me with that.
I realised there aren’t many childrens’ books about autism, and the ones I could find were missing what for me was the most crucial message that I wanted my son to take onboard. I wanted him to understand how he is different to other kids, but at the same time I didn’t want him to feel like there was anything wrong with that. But most importantly, I wanted him to feel like this wasn’t going to stop him from achieving his goals and dreams in life. Because knowing what our strengths are and how we can use them, is how we can make the most of life. That’s true whether you have autism or not.
And then, my thoughts went to Superman. I loved watching the Superman films when I was a kid, and suddenly I remembered how Superman can hear people screaming for help when no one else can. My thoughts wandered on to other superhero characters and I quickly realised that most of them have sensory issues!
“The superhero brain can hear things that a lot of people miss.
Like the littlest noise in the grass from a toad
Or a car starting its engine far down the road.”
And that is how the story about The Superhero Brain was born. Explaining what autism is in a fun and straight forward way, but with an emphasis on finding the child’s strengths and to never give up on dreams coming true. Or as someone who reviewed my book said “a mix between Dr Seuss and Dr Martin Luther King”.
I started writing straight from my heart, and the words just flowed out of me. They even rhymed! When I was done, I couldn’t wait to read it to my son but there was something inside me pulling the brakes big time. Because what about my other son, who doesn’t have autism? How could I tell one of my kids he has superpowers and not the other?
Seeing my kids grow up next to each other, there is no doubt that living with an autistic brother has given my youngest son some serious superpowers too. So I wrote him a story called The Superhero Heart. It talks about autism from the sibling’s perspective and by adding a little bit of magic in to the mix, it also gives the child some coping mechanisms for the trickier moments and the difficult days.
“The things that make the brain tired,
are many times easy for the heart because it’s differently wired.”
When I had read the stories to my kids, it was beautiful to see what happened. They had a simple framework to help them explain and understand their differences, and they felt pretty cool too!
My stories were never intended to be shared with the world, but as I started sharing them with family and friends I saw the impact they made and decided to get them published, and a few weeks ago it finally happened!
It is my hope that my stories can help kids understand autism and feel confident in their own abilities, no matter what life throws at them. And to never think of themselves as disabled, but as differently abled. If I could give my son only one thing to take with him in life, that would be it.
“So if you have a superhero brain
work out what amazing things your brain can do.
Then go and use your special powers to do incredible things, you too!“
You can join Ms Land’s Facebook here and by the book on Amason by clicking this link.
“People are so afraid of variety that they try to fit everything into a tiny little box with a specific label,” shares Rosie King, who is on the autism spectrum. She asks : Why is everyone so worried about being normal?
She asks for every kid, parent, teacher and person to celebrate uniqueness.