Austism Awareness Month - Jameson's Story

Volunteers holding blue umbrellas walk for 5 kilometers with no speaking on the World Autism Awareness Day at Pujiang County on April 2, 2017 in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province of China.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Today, April 2nd, marks World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), which aims to spotlight the hurdles that people with autism face every day. Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by troubles with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. More than 3.5 million Americans fall somewhere on the autism spectrum, according to the Autism Society of America; about 1 in 68 children in the U.S. and 1% of the world's population are identified as having ASD, according to the CDC.

Around the world, people are wearing the color blue to raise awareness for the developmental disorder.

 As advocates of children of under-served races, cultures and abilities we thought it fitting to share the stories of real people and their everyday experiences with autism. 

Today's featured story is on Jameson, as told by his mother, Christine Parks. 

Jameson

"When Jameson has epic meltdowns, it's tough for us to know depending on the situation which tack to take. Do we scold, console, give it time and space or make him laugh. How do we help him step out of this downward spiral? One interesting side effect of the epic meltdown is that we are given a peek into what is happening in his beautiful little mind. Raw emotion and unedited revelations come out. Jameson's usually hindered communication style take a back seat to a cathartic spill of everything that is going sideways on him, which is good, but also so hard to hear.


This morning after a disagreement with his sibling he cried "why can't I do anything right? Why is writing so hard! Why can't I do what my friends can do." And the super hardest one to hear: "I don't have anyone to play with on the playground." Although, he has wonderfully supportive friends, incredibly supportive classmates and teachers  who nurture an emphatic environment; the problem is he is scared to jump in and try soccer or other games with them, so it's more of a personal confidence thing. 

So we hug, try to prop him up, and tell him what a beautiful, sweet, kind boy he is. And what incredible growth he has made. But, still he is starting to see himself as behind the 8 ball. As he grows, he will certainly have more questions. And so will we!" 

In honor of our friend Jameson, we're teaming up with his family to support Autism Awareness. Each purchase of a Unity Bracelet supports The HollyRod Foundationwhich is dedicated to providing compassionate care to those living with autism and their families. 

To facilitate inclusiveness in your own homes check out two of our favorite titles that share stories of children living with autism:  

My Brother Charlie

My Brother Charlie A heartwarming story about a boy who happens to be autistic, based on Holly's Robinson Peete's son, who has autism.

Autism Awareness

The Autism Acceptance Book An interactive, educational, and character-building book that introduces children to the challenges faced by people with autism while also supporting their personal journey toward appreciating and respecting people's differences.

 

Disclaimer: Little Proud Kid does not in any way benefit financially from purchases of Unity Bracelets or support of Stella and Dot and the HollyRod Foundation.

Little Proud Kid, one of the largest retailers of multicultural book and toys aimed at teaching children to embrace their own differences and that of others.

Little Proud Kid is a creation of Georgia Lobban, who, experienced firsthand with her own daughter how difficult it can be to find books and toys that reflect the stories and images of ethnic and multicultural children and decided it's time for a change.

www.littleproudkid.com

April 02, 2018 by Georgia Lobban

Helping Children Embrace Diversity

The key to a peaceful world is the ability to embrace differences. Children are ladened today with bullying, depression, anxiety, low esteem and a slew of other burdens placed on their "too young for this" shoulders. These problems are rooted in their (lack of) exposure to a norm that might differ from their own.  Educators, parents and anyone responsible for raising children all have a role to play in exposing them to different people, cultures, places and things. And what better way than through storytelling and books. We've compiled a list of 5 books for ages 3-9 that share stories of children with diverse interests, personalities, abilities and cultures as a starting point to embracing diversity.

Sparkle Boy

Sparkle Boy

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4

Casey loves to play with his blocks, puzzles, and dump truck, and he also loves things that shimmer, glitter, and sparkle. Casey’s older sister, Jessie, thinks this is weird. When Casey and Jessie head to the library for story time, Casey proudly wears his shimmery skirt and sparkly bracelet. His nails glitter in the light. Jessie insists that Casey looks silly. It is one thing to dress like this around the house, but going outside as a “sparkle boy” is another thing entirely. What will happen when the other kids see him? This sweet and refreshing story speaks to us all about acceptance, respect, and the simple freedom to be yourself. Shimmery, glittery, sparkly things are fun—for everyone!

The Invisible Boy

Invisible Boy

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4

The story of Brian, the invisible boy, that no one seems to notice. He is never included him in groups, games, or invited to birthday parties. But, something changes when a new child joins his class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource in teaching how a simple act of kindness supports inclusion and help quiet or introverted children flourish. The book includes discussion questions and resources for further reading.

 

Wonder

Wonder

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school―until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can blend in when you were born to stand out.

 

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match / Marisol McDonald no combina

  • Age Range: 4- 8years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3

Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box. To Marisol, these seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together.

Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol—can’t she just choose one or the other? Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box, Marisol McDonald doesn’t match. And that’s just fine with her.

The Name Jar

The Name Jar

  • Age Range: 4- 8years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it Yoon-He

 

Little Proud Kid, one of the largest retailers of multicultural book and toys aimed at teaching children to embrace their own differences and that of others.

Little Proud Kid is a creation of Georgia Lobban, who, experienced firsthand with her own daughter how difficult it can be to find books and toys that reflect the stories and images of ethnic and multicultural children and decided it's time for a change.

www.littleproudkid.com

August 31, 2017 by Georgia Lobban

5 Ways to Celebrate Black American History

Black History month is an amazing opportunity to remember to teach our children about the incredible contributions, history and accomplishments of African Americans. When it comes to our younger counterparts, it’s best to mix a little fun in with education to really help them absorb these crucial lessons. The common misconception is that Black History Month is a celebration for African Americans. The truth is Black History stories and American History Stories and should be treated as such.

Not sure where to begin?

February 01, 2017 by Georgia Lobban

Give the Gift of Multiculturalism this Holiday Season

Hooray, our long anticipated holiday gift guide is here! If you're intention this season is to promote diversity, honor differences and raise global citizens you'll be pleased with our recommended gift list - one more reason to celebrate. 

HolidayBlog

Multicultural Gift Boxes 

Talk about holiday gift shopping made easy - we love these these beautiful and unique gift boxes themed to suit diverse households and children ages 3-17. Choose from one of the following themes: Black Girl Magic, Spanish Flare, French Flare, Young Adults, Classics, Black History, Hispanic Heritage , Chinese Pride, Indian Pride, Filipino Pride and Global Citizens

 

 Black Girl MagicGlobal CitizensCowboy Multicultural Gift Box

 

 Family Times 

Celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season which is quality time with the most  Family Times important people: family. Our games include Puzzles, Bingo and Matching Games. 

African American Matching Game  French Bingo Spanish Bingo

 

Raising Global Citizens

No need to leave the comfort of your home to expose your children to diverse cultures. Raise global citizen with these fun activities and storybooks. 

Art Cards Indian StoriesMagnus

 

Empower Young Adults 

Instill confidence, strength and the ability to stand up for self and what is right in our young adults with these great titles. 

Shine    Zahrah    Malala  American Chinese

Raising Compassionate Children 

No doubt our uncertain times call for greater capacity of compassion and choosing peace and happiness. It''s never too early or late to start. 

Deepal Chopra   All my stripesEvery Little thing

 

Representation Matters, right? Well, from cowboys to Asian dolls, we've got you coveredi our line-up of dolls

Doc MarleyDolly the cowgirlDuke the cowboyAsian

 

Still in doubt, then give the gift of a great gift card

gift card

Happy Holiday Shopping! 

 

 

Do We All Have a Little Trump in Us?

Lovetrumpshate

The last few weeks have been emotionally taxing on many Americans. The outcome of the most recent presidential election has left many in shock, paralyzed even. So much so, that, Psychologists have described what  more than half the nation and much of the world, are experiencing as grief. “There’s one definition of what we often grieve for, which seems to capture what a lot of us are feeling now: It’s a loss of hope, of expectation, illusions, what we projected would be the path we’d be on.” Robert Zucker, grief expert, social worker and author of The Journey Through Grief And Loss. Grief

For many, the grief is real and not one that should be masked, minimized or feel hurried to get over but as with any other loss the process of moving on involves self reflection and search for the lessons. 

Moving on

When things happen that  I don't initially find favorable I often try to sit with the outcome and ponder the lesson for as long as I need to.  After-all, everything happens for a reason, right? Before anyone gets in a tizzy, I'll forewarn, this is not a political post. In fact, it's an invitation to join me on my everlasting journey of turning the lens inward. I teach my young daughter that she is only in control of her own actions so I'm taking a dose of my own medicine. 

Still With Me? 

If you subscribe to the belief that the  external world is a reflection of our inner reality – both individually and collectively then one begs the question, what is the lesson here? 

In Joseph Aldo's brilliantly written "Embracing the Shadow" he offers some perspective on Donald Trump's win..."it would be utterly impossible for a man like him to be president if the collective energy – consciously or unconsciously – didn’t support and reflect such a person. He is simply an embodiment of our own shadow and directing all this hatred, hostility and disgust towards him just feeds the energy he is embodying, perpetuating the shadow and giving it deeper roots in this world." 

Questions for thought 

 So I ask, are the hate, disgust, and intolerance we now observe across the country triggering our own hate, disgust and intolerance? Could it be we all summoned this energy because it exists in some capacity in each of us? There are no mistakes just lessons. So what are we to learn from these times? Is this perhaps a call for each of us to examine ourselves - our homes and hearts where everything begins? Can we change the trajectory of what so many anticipate in a Trump America by creating inner peace, love of self and others, acceptance and tolerance for all God has created?

Could it be Trump is playing a role...called to reveal that which needs to be healed within us? The Lord works in mysterious ways - and uses people we least expect. So, perhaps Trump did not even have a say. Those of us living or on a purposeful path know getting there can be easily be described as being "driven" down a  a one-way street with no detour. 

The Take-away 

The journey to launch Little Proud Kid came from a dire need to ensure my own daughter had access to resources that validate her beauty and purpose. I wanted her know that she belongs - in her school, community and social circles. Today, as I chose light over dark, love over hate, peace over anger, I am even more driven to ensure my work with Little Proud Kid continues to  serve minorities and undeserved cultures while promoting multiculturalism  and acceptance of all people. 

In hindsight, I've come face to face with my own inner Trump one too many times in relationships that no longer served me as well as in response to some of the recent atrocities observed in the news and on social media. (Yes, my takeaway begins with continued self healing). I owe it to myself to consider that what I'm observing in our nation today is an even greater call to become the change I need - for myself, as a mom, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur. 

Invitation

Peace

So again, I extend an invitation to anyone with whom article resonates to turn the lens inward, examine what role you play by way of thought, action or emotion that contribute to divisions and chaos in your own life. And decide today to become the change you need and I truly believe our individual efforts will collectively reshape the world in which we live. 

 Peace and Love,

Georgia Lobban 

 

Georgia Lobban is the Founder of Little Proud Kid, a place to celebrate all people… one people. We focus on bringing an array of multicultural toys, books, resources and more to help you teach and celebrate the uniqueness in each and every child.

 

Why we need to support black-owned businesses

Businesses are places we frequent every day. We pick up a pizza on the way home, get our nails done on Saturdays and scour the racks of consignment stores for affordable children’s clothes — that they’ll grow out of in a month! Businesses drive our communities, and the economies of those communities, which is why supporting local establishments is so important.

Having said that, black people overwhelmingly do not support black-owned businesses, which in turn don’t support the communities where black-owned businesses reside. Unlike other races and cultures — such as the Jewish, Hispanic and Chinese communities, which vigorously support one another’s businesses — black-owned business don’t get the same support within their own community. Jasmine Goodwin wrote in a blog post addressing this topic, “Unlike other races where they are prideful of their people no matter the socioeconomic status or difference in skin complexion, black people rather separate… no matter if it’s in the classroom or in the corporate world, there seems to be a hesitation in black people supporting one another.” So what’s the reason for this hesitation?


It's time to get past the stigma
There seems to be a stigma associated with African-American products. They are considered low quality and less valuable when compared with products made by another race. Despite the fact that this is not accurate, the thinking persists both within the African-American community and across all races. Lisa-Marie from lisamariepierre.com says, “We don’t like ourselves, so we don’t trust ourselves enough to support one another.” This conversation is so complex, as this obviously goes beyond a simple sale. It’s the learned associations we have made through consistent messages telling us that “black products” are not as good as “white products.”

Not only is there this idea that there's a lack of value in black-owned or produced products, but there isn’t even any money to be made in this space. However, consider, for example, that BET, Essence magazine and Dark and Lovely are all white-owned mega-successful companies, some surpassing the billion-dollar mark, and that myth can easily be dispelled. Yet it lingers. We need to eliminate these untruths so we can finally move toward change.

It is not only important for black people to support black-owned businesses, it is important for non-blacks as well. Aaron J. Barnes, founder of Dapper Black Box, says, “While authority figures and media outlets continue to devalue our existence in this country, we still turn around and invest into companies owned by people who keep that system of injustice intact... we encourage all people but especially black people of the United States to invest into our own businesses to increase the longevity and influence within our community.”

This change and shift is essential for everyone. Making a conscious shift in thinking (thoughts we all have been programmed to think) and supporting black-owned businesses can create jobs, build up communities and provide economic prosperity. In turn, this can help decrease crime by infusing money into communities, which can then support schools, libraries and community centers. The children of that community — and of all communities — who grow up seeing businesses owned by all races will understand there is a level playing field in the world of entrepreneurship and that everyone has access to the American dream. Don’t our children deserve to live in a world of diversity shown in every facet of our communities?

This comes back to everything my company, Little Proud Kid, stands for — and its entire mission. We need to be the change we want for our children. Let black children know they can be business owners themselves and show non-black kids the diversity that lies outside of chain stores.

So, we ask you in honor of Black History Month (and every month) to support a black-owned business and share a picture of that business or product with us! You can post your photo to our Facebook page, tweet us @LittleProudKid or tag us in your photo via Instagram with #LPKSupportBlackBusiness. Will you accept the challenge? If you need some inspiration to get started, here are some of our favorite black-owned businesses:

Previously published by She Knows 2.20.16

Georgia Lobban is the founder of Little Proud Kid, a place to celebrate all people… one people. Little Proud Kid brings an array of multicultural toys, books, resources and more to help you teach and celebrate the uniqueness in each and every child.

Multicultural Books, Toys and Greetings that Celebrate Women's Equality

It's Women's Equality Day, an official reminder of the progress our nation has made when it comes to the treatment of women, and an opportunity to commit ourselves to the unfinished work in the fight for full equality. Despite significant progress, we still have a long journey ahead of us. Sadly, gender-biases that perpetuate inequality are still everyday occurrences at home, in schools and communities and in the workplace.

There's no doubt our children will inherit the continued fight for women's equality.

August 26, 2016 by Georgia Lobban

Give Your Baby a Welcome to the World from the President

We think each child is uniquely created for a special purpose and they need to know that the minute they arrive in our wonderfully crazy world. Their arrival should be celebrated, supported and blessed.  Turns out the President agrees. Did you know you could ask Presidents of the United States to write cards to your new baby?

Yes, you can!

Why I started a company to teach young girls to love their diversity

For my entire professional career, I never thought about “going natural.” Maintaining my straight hair became just another routine in my beauty regimen. However, I recently realized this seemingly day-to-day habit was sending a much deeper message to my daughter.

July 25, 2016 by Georgia Lobban

The Disappearance of Community Child Raising: What Happened to the Village?

I'm a single mom, and I make it because I have a parenting village

There once was a time when neighborhood children played together outside and were monitored by whoever's front yard they happened to be playing. You may have heard a neighbor call out for one of the children to get back home before it got dark. This would also have been the time that aunts, uncles and grandparents all lived so close that they became extensions of the nuclear family unit. Everybody played a part in raising each child within the community, and the children benefited from the diverse relationships and guidance they encountered on a daily basis.

Slowly, families shifted away from this "village" to isolation as nuclear families and neighbors moved away from each other both physically and emotionally.

Bunmi Laditan wrote a Huffington Post piece titled, "I Miss the Village." Laditan, spending most days alone with her child in isolation, dreams about what this village would be like:

"It would be impossible to tell whose children belonged to whom — we'd all attend to the group of toddling wee ones, check on the deeply breathing babies, wave little hands off of our floured table, pinch cheeks and kiss boo-boos... When one of us was feeling sick or needed extra rest from a long night up with a child, we'd swoop in and tend to your children as we would our own for as long as necessary — no need to even ask... I miss that village of mothers that I've never had."

This same longing and sentiment is shared by Natalie Singer-Velush in her post "Raising a Family Without a Village." Natalie says, as new parents, "There was no one to rush over when the thermometer spiked to 103 degrees and we, as nervous new parents, needed as much calming as the baby. No one to step in when the daycare was closed, but our jobs still expected us. No one but us to swoon and coo regularly, no one to bring over a new board book or puzzle 'just because,' or to cook up a pot of soup or three for the freezer."

Not only do parents feel loneliness but children also miss out on the extensive relationships that were formed within the village. They had the benefit of constant attention from adult figures who weren't exhausted by the sole burden of child-rearing because they all shared the load. This is especially true for single mothers who not only have lost the village but also cannot share the load with a spouse; all aspects of raising a child rest solely (and heavily) on their shoulders. The village was the means to remove that considerable load, and children inevitably benefited from that reinforcement.

Create your village

As a single mom, I've always remained conscious of the need to create a village for my family. I consider the lessons, wisdom and relationships my daughter may miss out on and supplement with what I affectionately call our "makeshift family." It is quite diverse: it's multicultural, age and gender agnostic, and consists of friends, teachers and community members who have, over time, proven to be supportive and present. It is made up of both two and single parent households. It's important that my daughter understands that family comes in different forms.

There are a number of ways I reap the benefits of our village. I form collaborative relationships with my daughter's teachers so we are unified in supporting her needs and embracing her individuality. We have planned holiday and celebratory events we attend with the same families each year. One of our single-parent supporters is remote, so we schedule annual visits and weekly video calls for our young children to connect. They talk and giggle about school and life. They are forging a bond and learning to develop a healthy relationship.

Given the setup of our communities and society, it is imperative for you to create your own village. It does take some work, and it's something you will proactively need to try to accomplish. We can benefit so much from learning from each other versus confinement to our homes. Forge relationships with other parents with kids that are your child's age, play host to your neighbors and children, and take the lead in having open parenting discussions.

You can also look for your village in non-traditional ways. Take Master Jennifer of Champion Taekwondo in Fort Mill, South Carolina, as an example. In addition to self-defense, Master Jennifer teaches her students the importance of respecting themselves and others and the value of kindness, and she engages her students in serving the communities in which they live. "Before a student receives a belt promotion, parents are asked to complete a questionnaire that assesses good character development," says Master Jennifer. "If a student, as an example, is not being respectful at home, their promotion may be delayed until further improvement." For many parents, Master Jennifer and the Champion Taekwondo has become an extension of family.

I'm a single mom, and I make it because I have a parenting village
Image: Georgia Lobban

Villages are important in raising healthy, confident and emotionally stable children, particularly in an age where distractions are at an all-time high. Look around your community: Who can you be a village to? Consider new parents, young parents, an ailing parent, single parents, a single person, to name a few. Let's re-create the villages we need today. Our children deserve to have communities that rally together to support their best interests.

Previously posted on Sheknows.com

Georgia Lobban is contributing writer for Sheknows.com, a family wellness advocate and founder of Little Proud Kid, a place to celebrate all people… one people. Little Proud Kid focuses on bringing an array of multicultural toys, books, resources and more to help you teach and celebrate the uniqueness in each and every child.

www.littleproudkid.com 

All Rights Reserved.

 

June 20, 2016 by Georgia Lobban