“I am different, not less.” – Temple Grandin

 

Autism Awareness Month

On April 2, 2020 is “World Autism Awareness Day” and throughout the month of April, Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org) focuses on sharing real-life, in depth stories and provides countless opportunities to increase the understanding and acceptance of people with autism.  The ultimate goal is to widen support, foster kindness and equality, and most of all, encourage acceptance . Let’s all work together to achieve this tremendous goal. Our autism community and families of those with autism are so deserving.  

Similar to the spectrum of colors in a rainbow, there’s a range of autism disorders, known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).   It refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.  It is said that autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States today according to the Center for Disease Control.  The trademark signs of autism usually appear between the ages of 2-3 years old, and it is possible to receive a diagnosis as early as 18 months old (www.autismspeaks.org)

“Let’s light it Up Blue!”  Does this phrase sound familiar?  This campaign began with the organization, Autism Speaks, as a means to spread awareness surrounding autism.  On April 2, World Autism Day, people are encouraged to wear the color blue, as well as light up their homes and offices blue.  While blue is the color associated with Autism Speaks, blue means even more to those on the autism spectrum. Blue signifies calmness and acceptance for those living in a world of full of trials and tribulations, along with constant noise and chaos. 

Are you looking for more ways to help raise awareness for ASD?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Continue to learn about autism spectrum disorder.  Knowledge is power!
  • Donate to a credible organization
  • Attend an event
  • Social media
  • Volunteer
  • Participate in programs for individuals with autism
  • Spend time with people on the spectrum
  • Share your story
  • Support autism friendly businesses, programs, etc

(www.autismspeaks.org)

 

Audrey & Bear’s Autism Awareness Line 

Raising awareness surrounding autism is very important to us.  Most of us know someone or have been in contact with an autistic person.  For that very reason, it’s imperative that we learn more, do more and foster connections.  Our customers from around the world are affected by autism and we feel it is our calling to celebrate ASD.

We called upon our Audrey & Bear community for design ideas and insight surrounding ASD.  Pleasantly surprised at the level of creativity, as well as the love and passion for ASD and autism awareness, community members left lasting impressions and truly touched our hearts.

We are proud to release two new designs and it is our hope that the Autism Awareness Line will do what we set out to do…raise awareness and encourage acceptance!  A special thank you to our loyal community members for ideas and suggestions surrounding our design launches.

 

Puzzle Piece

Meaning: it reflects the complexity of the autism spectrum.  The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of people and families living with the condition.  The rainbow of colors signifies that autism is a spectrum disorder (www.autismlovetoknow.com). 

 


Rainbow Infinity
Meaning: represents the diversity of the autism spectrum and inclusiveness, as well as a love for math and numbers (www.autismlovetoknow.com).  
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about ASD.  We are so grateful to each and every one of our customers that continue to support us, celebrate life and raise awareness.  To conclude our Autism Awareness segment, a personal note from a faithful community member.


Audrey & Bear Autism Mama Highlight: Jamie Tompkins 
World Autism Day!!! World awesome day!! Being an Autism Mama is incredibly hard and scary but it is also exceptionally rewarding, exciting and new every day. Kind of like being a mom of any other kid.
My son Andrew has Autism. It’s not a secret but it’s something that until pretty recently I haven’t spoken about to very many people because either people give you the pity look or they say “he doesn’t look autistic” really... how does autism look? My son is like any other child in many ways. He loves video games and dinosaurs, he hates reading and writing as any struggling first grader does. 

But in many ways Andrew is different too. He feels things deeper and has trouble figuring out what to do with those feelings so he has emotional outbursts that usually result in him hitting, biting and scratching. Your kid “likes” video games, Andrew is obsessed with a particular game, it becomes his world and the only thing he will talk about or do for days on end until he finds a new obsession. 

Everything in Andrews world is so much more important now to him. Andrew also has trouble reading emotion and has no concept of personal space. If you ever meet him be prepared for a big hug that is probably too tight and uncomfortably long.

But it’s all of those things that make Andrew so amazing and why we call his Autism his Super Power.

 

Audrey & Bear Autism Highlight: Tracy Tracy was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2 years old. Tracy loves the outdoors. She can play on the playground or run around open grass areas for hours. The swings is her favorite. Tracy also loves water play. In the summertime, Tracy swims in our pool every single day, all day long. She gets this cute bathing suit tan by the end of the summer.
Tracy’s vocabulary has increased so much this past year. She used to speak less than 5 words and use hand gestures to communicate (more, all done etc.) With the help of Occupational Therapy, Speech therapy, ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy and school, she now can speak more than 150 words, independently washes her hands, brushes her teeth, eats with an eating utensil and so much more. It’s been amazing to watch her learn and grow.

As a mother to a daughter with Autism, there are definitely days where I feel hopeless. I feel like a failure and want to just give up. But when I think of my daughter, there’s no comparison of the struggle she feels. Trying to say what’s on her mind but she can’t quite find the words to make sense of it. Or trying to make the world see what she sees but has no way of expressing it. So I push forward FOR HER. For her future and her independence when I am long gone.
Something I wish to let other parents know who has an autistic child like myself, hang in there! You are not alone! As parents, WE know what’s best for our kids. There are resources out there. Keep trying, keep doing, just keep going. No one else will fight for them harder than we will. Our children depend on us.
My daughter Tracy is a huge blessing to my family. I have 3 other children. Having a sibling on the spectrum has taught them to be a little more kind, have patience, be open minded and do everything through love.

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