April was Autism Awareness month but we are going to keep it going all year long. I had the pleasure of sitting down to talk with Elizabeth and Megan from the Autism Network to talk about just that. Elizabeth explains that the Autism Network is a local nonprofit group for families in West Michigan that provides an accepting atmosphere where you can come and meet other families that are going through and have overcome some of the same obstacles that you may have. The Autism Network currently meets once a month at the city of Muskegon Fire Department. Visit The Autism Network of Muskegon County on Facebook
According to Autism Speaks “Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today.” If you can take anything from this story, I want you to walk away knowing that Autism is not something that you can put in a box with a pretty little bow and light it up blue not all who are on the spectrum are the same.
Self - stimulatory behavior otherwise known as "stimming" is different for all who are on the spectrum. Did you know that a “normal” person does this as well but it is not as noticeable as what someone with ASD would have. You may click your pen, shake your foot, twist your hair, or even bite your nails as a way to “cope” but for someone who has ASD their actions are more elaborate and exaggerated. You may see them rocking, hand flapping, spinning, repetition of words, phrases and sounds. So, the next time that you see a child whom you think is throwing a tantrum please take a step back before you judge or make a comment. It is important to take yourself out of the norm and see things through the eyes of that child.
Elizabeth, Megan and myself talk about all of this and so much more in the video. Please take the time and watch it to really get a first-hand look into what ASD is and how it has affected these two amazing women and their families.
To visit their website, please, click on the photo below. Our thanks to Elizabeth and Megan for the time in talking about their group and what they do!