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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.
"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 Foundation, which 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 A heartwarming story about a boy who happens to be autistic, based on Holly's Robinson Peete's son, who has autism.
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.