Tuesday, April 3, 2012

World Autism Day...and little red wagon #126

On my soapbox for just a minute - I know I say in my profile that autism will come up often, but honestly, I try not to have it take over. Frankly, autism is pretty much the REST of my life. Besides lighting the blue porch light yesterday for World Autism Day, I wasn't going to mention it, and then this morning I read Joan's post at Paperlicious. Empathy really is worth cultivating. The classmates who look out for my boys have hearts of gold. Only one of my boys has been accepted by his peers to the point of having friends over or being invited to birthday parties, but it's not the big events that matter most. It's the kids who help when the teacher can't, or the kids who stick up for my youngest when he's being bullied (sadly, a common occurrence).

New statistics have been released on the prevalence of autism in the United States - now 1 in 88 children. Five times as many boys as girls. That means 1 in 72 boys. That's nearly 2 percent of our boys, and although there's lots of research, there is very little practical help for any but the wealthy. And here I'm talking about Canada. In fact, schools are cutting more and more, and even though already both of my children are struggling with their supports being cut, there are more cuts on the horizon for the next school year. The emphasis is on early intervention, but to grow successful adults, development and intervention do not stop at age five.

As an example, Connor did not speak coherently until age seven. Everything I'd read prior to that spoke of the 'golden time' for language acquisition being before age 5. He didn't receive any speech therapy once he went to school, other than a yearly evaluation - and what I provided at home. Do you give up on your child because there's not funding available to provide the right therapies? My wish for Autism Awareness Month is that these kids receive the support and education that they deserve. It won't happen, because it's expensive. I must say, though, that I'm tired of fighting the same fight year after year, only to see more of the bare-bones services clawed away. It makes the teachers' jobs harder, it makes my childrens' lives harder, and it makes me angry. It's a lot less expensive to provide proper support during school years than it is to provide full-time residential care for an adult.

(OK, off my soapbox now. I think)

Supplies: cloud paper from K & Co;
standard oval Nesties;
parachuting bunny digi from MelStampz;
sentiment digi from lazy daisy

This week's challenge at little red wagon is "Up in the Clouds", open until tonight. I love this little parachuting bunny from MelStampz! I cut some clouds out of the patterned paper & popped them up for dimension, and there you have it.

Thanks for bearing with me!


Susan Raihala said...

Thanks. This needs to be heard. And that bunny is adorable!

~Tammy~ said...

Yes, you hop on it as often as needed! Having a son with special needs, I have been friends with Many Many Mom's with BOYS of Autism! It is startling that the stats are going up! I have a few friends with girls who have been put on the spectrum, but the numbers are much higher in boys!

My hats off to Easter Seals because they truly truly were a blessing to me with their 0-3 program.

Hence, I am sure like you, paper crafting becomes an outlet and a source of me time that is MUCH needed!

So onto that....I love love love your cutie you have shared with us today! Love those blue clouds!!!!

Jingle said...

You can speak on Autism as much as you would like! It is so important for people to understand it and to know that each autistic child is so different and the experiences will all be different from one to the next - just like anyone else, really. Your card is wonderful!

Michelle Hernandez said...

Thank you for sharing your story! You took a wonderful turn on the soap box. Thank you for reminding me of World Autism Day- my nephew is within the autism spectrum and every year I make a special project and write up a post for my craft blog but this year I've completely been sidetracked by other projects- I will not work on this exclusively. Your card is beautiful- love the pop clouds and the sentiment is so clever!

Angela Fehr said...

Thanks for sharing this - I've always tried to be empathetic to friends with special needs children, and I can only imagine the struggle it is both at home and with the system.

Allison Rankin said...

Yay! Love your upbeat card and upbeat post! Us mommas need to band together (esp. with speech development...sometimes I wonder if I will ever understand Avery!).

Theresa said...

Hi Jessi - I feel your pain sweetie. I had a student for 2 years with Autism and it took me 2 years to fight to get him the services he deserved. I nearly lost my job because I fought so hard for him.

Now our school district is changing things and our schools will have a special class for students with Autism - the teacher only has 3 students now, but it's expected to grow.

Anyway, your card is just lovely. I like to clouds everywhere. That bunny is too cute!!

Have a great day.

CinnamonSally said...

Hi Jessi, I am happy that you are able to talk to us and tell us your story, I work in a school in the UK and we have quite a few kids on the spectrum. Luckily here there seems to be a lot of support for them at the moment we have a fabulous special need department. Lets hope with all the cuts due that we can carry on with this fabulous support.

Wendy ten Hove said...

Hi Jessi,

No worries for me on talking about autism too much, you always know how to share your story and make us understand a bit more how it must be. I feel for you and for Connor, I can see how things can be terribly frustrating sometimes! It's good to help in getting the word out for some understanding!!! Way to go!
Looove your card! It's so funny the bunny going up in the clouds! Very nice!!

Hugs, Wendy

Annette Allen said...

Thank you for sharing with us. I think it is so important for all to know and understand. You can share with us all anytime..

Your card is just way too cute..

Marie said...

Yeah for you, Jessi on your fight for Autistic children. I'll listen to your soapbox words any time you speak them. Wish there was more that could be done.

BTW...adorable parachute card. Love the floating clouds.

Tammy said...

Thanks for speaking out about Autism and the cuts going on across all Special Education--as a teacher, I appreciate that!

You card is stinkin' cute! Love the parachuting bunny and the pop-up clouds! Thanks for playing along with our Clouds challenge over at LRW!!

Lindsey said...

Great post, Jessi.

yyam said...

Such a cute card! :)

Thanks for sharing your story. It must be hard for you and the boys. More needs to be done. Everywhere in the world.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, it's absolutely ridiculous how many programs and such are being cut in the school systems. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for you and your boys. On another note, your card is adorable! Love the bunny going up into the clouds :)

lostinpaper said...

You definitely have the right to rant, thanks so much for sharing your frustrations, your voice will be heard!
ps Cute card!!

Jen W. said...

You get up on your soapbox whenever you want, girl! If everyone kept quiet then nothing would change. And for people like me who really haven't had any experiences with autism it's good to learn more about it and get a better understanding of it and what support is needed. I can only imagine your frustration with the schools but I'm glad to hear that, if nothing else, there are some really good kids out there helping your boys along. With all the bullying stories you hear these days it's nice to hear that there are some kids that don't put up with it.

As for your card, the image is adorable and I love how you popped up some of the clouds. :)

Big hugs to you, Jessi!

Nance said...

Super cute card! And, good for you for "soapboxing"! I am with you all the way! I was blessed with 2 healthy boys, both now in college They had their own educational struggles, so I can't imagine what your boys have to go through. I'm putting them and you in my prayers. I agree with you, it shouldn't matter about the expense, they should get whatever assistance and programs they need to succeed. It's the same here in the states and yet everyday I hear about government agencies spending thousands on needless things like conventions. We are suppose to be one of the richest and most progressive countries and yet we don't take care of our own family and backyard, so to speak. It's amazing too how our children behave more in the manner as adults should, like those kids who help your son. There's an example for the board of education, huh? Ok, I'm done with my support soapbox! Have a good day. Prayers your way.

Jenny said...

So well said Jessi, you are a great ambassador for the cause! The amount of support we receive over here is a lottery depending which county you live in but this grass roots approach will only help if the support continues through school as you so rightly say. It's such a wide spectrum that you just cannot have a 'one system fits all' scenario :0)

Love your fun card?...I can see some of that white space creeping in again ;0)
Jenny x

kingstonmama said...

Oh, Jessi, stand on that soapbox whenever you want. Your message is so important and needs to be heard!

Adorable card. I love the bunny. Ann

JJ Bolton said...

No need to apologize for bringing attention to this issue! You are such an amazing advocate for your boys! It's a shame that you have to fight so hard for them to get services!

Hugs from me:)

{Adorable card BTW:)}