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Monday, April 1, 2013

Autism and How I want to Help

Autism doesn't affect my family personally but I've been around lots of people who have had different stages of Autism and I had the opportunity to help raise money for Autism Speaks when I worked for Toys'R'us and I would work hard every day to get as much donations as I possibly could so I could help out the children and adults in need.

I have joined up with some other wonderful bloggers in the Blog Hop for a Cause! At the bottom of this post you will be able to read other Autism stories and feel free to link up your won Autism Awareness stories!

You don't hear much about Autism in everyday life unless your around someone who is affected by it and I believe that more people should be spreading the word about the symptoms and Autism its self.
People can be rude and just plain mean when they notice or find out that someone is different. I don't understand why anyone would think that since this other person looks or acts different then themselves... that they don't have feelings and emotions. Truthfully, when you make fun of someone who does have some kind of disability or look different than us, you may be hurting their feelings alot worse than someone could hurt yours.

I've worked with a couple people who were diagnosed with Autism and they were 2 completely different people! I believe it's alot different and sometimes harder to notice autism in adults then it is in children. The reason I say this is because one of the boys I worked with that was autistic didn't seem any different than me. At the time, Dan was 18 and a senior in High School. He worked as a bag boy at a grocery store I use to work at. This kid was a VERY hard worker and knew just what he was expected to do... PLUS more! The only thing I didn't agree with was that his mom would only allow him to work on Sunday's. I kinds felt like she was and may still be, holding Dan back. (His mom also worked at the store as a manger but in a different department) Dan did have a temper if you really made him mad. Other than that.. he was just like any other 18 year old boy that I worked with, went to high school with the other teens and has an older sister.

Dan was not the only person with Autism that I worked with at Ingles. Their was and still is a man named Hank who has worked at Ingles for as long as I can remember. I use to see him when I would go grocery shopping with my mama as a teen and he was still working there when I got my job in my early 20s. When I first met Hank, I wasn't sure what to think. He's really tall! He's also really loud and I've always been a quiet person. Dan's mom told me on my first day that if Hank ever gave me any problems to just come to her and she would handle it because she knows how to handle people with Autism. That's when I first realized that Hank was autistic. I wasn't 100% sure what Tina, Dan's mom, meant by "If I have any problems, let me know". Yes, Hank was loud and LOVED to talk but he seemed like a big teddy bear. He did look different than the other 30 something year old's that I knew but that didn't matter to me. After a few weeks of working with Hank, I realized what Tina was talking about. He had a temper that was hard to control. Once you upset Hank, it was hard to calm him down and he could hurt someone without meaning too and then feel bad about it later. I'll tell you one thing... That man can chug a 20oz Mountain Dew in seconds! He would drink so much Mountain Dew that he would be so hyper and loud that we had to cut him off after 3! It became a big joke around the store that Hank couldn't have no more than 3 Dews a day. Everyone loved Hank and still does. He has made friends with so many of the regular consumers that some of them don't like it when someone else bags their groceries. Hank has his own car, I'm not sure if he lives alone of not but I know that he works 2 jobs and does his VERY best at each job. Hank NEVER calls in and if anyone needs him, he will be right there.

I don't see how anyone could hurt, insult or ignore someone who has Autism. I don't see how anyone could hurt, insult or ignore anyone period! It truly makes no since to me. Autistic people are just that... PEOPLE! They have feelings, emotions, dreams, a life of their own. They may have a few struggles and look different sometimes. They may have a hard time showing us their emotions but they still exist inside them. If I learned anything from working with Dan and Hank (I also worked at Toys'R'us and helped get donations for Autism Speaks and saw lots of kids with Autism)

The rate of autism has grown so much in the past few years that you would think that their would be alot of research going on for and about it but that is not the case. Autism is the MOST underfunded developmental disorder out of a long list. I found some interesting facts about Autism on the National Autism Association website that I thought I would share with you.

Autism Facts

  • Autism now affects 1 in 88 children
  • Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls
  • About 40% of children with autism do not speak. About 25%–30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others might speak, but not until later in childhood
  • Autism greatly varies from person to person (no two people with autism are alike)
  • The rate of autism has steadily grown over the last twenty years
  • Comorbid conditions often associated with autism include Fragile X, allergies, asthma, epilepsy, bowel disease, gastrointestinal/digestive disorders, persistent viral infections, PANDAS, feeding disorders, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, OCD, sensory integration dysfunction, sleeping disorders, immune disorders, autoimmune disorders, and neuroinflammation.
  • Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder, yet most underfunded
  • A 2008 Danish Study found that the mortality risk among those with autism was nearly twice that of the general population
  • Children with autism do progress – early intervention is key
  • Autism is treatable, not a hopeless condition

That is why I'm Lighting it Up Blue for the months of April! I want to help the people who need it the most and right now those people are the ones with Autism. I have come to realize that I can do big things with my blog and I believe that I can raise money to help fund research for Autism. I would love it if everyone would join in with me.
Below is my goal. If you would like to contribute to Autism Awareness, click my goal box and it will take you to where you can learn more.

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