The past week hasn't been the most awesome over here in "Holland," but Saturday morning certainly made up for it. Our county's annual Autism Walk was a big success! We love being part of this walk because the proceeds stay in our local community and go directly to programs and services that improve the quality of life for children, teens and ADULTS living with Autism.
Since CB was 8-years old, we have been doing some type of Autism Walk. Our team has always been just us - me, Dr. Fab and our kids. But on today's walk, we had a couple new walkers join us which meant the world to me!! Thank you to our friends Les and Susan for the generous donation AND your emotional support at the walk!!
The foundation that organizes this walk always does such a great job making it a fun and family-friendly day. When I told the girls we were walking this weekend, they were all like "YAY!!" I'd like to think that it had more to do with CB than the free cotton candy, popcorn, donuts, music and other entertainment but... they are KIDS after all.
CB started out strong. Here she is all like "Let's DO this!"
About 3 minutes into it she's all like "I'm hot and tired. I quit." But since she can't exactly SAY that, she tells me by spitting and dropping to the ground and scratching me.
But she really hung in there. Walking isn't her thing and she had her moments but overall she did as well as I could have hoped.
At the event, I was able to meet author Kristin Arniotis and her son Billy. Kristin is the mother of four boys and was inspired to write "I Have Autism and That's Okay" by her now 8-year old son Billy. Billy is an adorable kid who likes to run, draw pictures, listen to music, and walk his friend's dog. Oh, and he happens to be on the Autistic spectrum too.
I love her message which eminates from the way she lives her life and sees her son. Yeah, sure, he has Autism, but that doesn't define him or put limits on his goals and dreams. Her book takes the "quirky" behaviors seen with Autism and aims to destigmatize them. It is a great tool not just for higher-functioning children on the spectrum but also for typical kids. It helps kids (and adults) to understand that Autism is something unique and interesting not something to be pitied or feared. I can see this book being a great learning tool in classrooms and preschools.
You can learn more about I Have Autism and That's Okay on their website and purchase the book there as well. (It's $14.99 and ships free).
Follow Kristin and Billy on Facebook and you'll be rewarded with inspirational posts about Autism. I love to support people who are putting good out there in the world, and Kristin is one of them. I thank her for that!
All-in-all, it was another great walk.
The best part is that it's something the three little ones can do with their sister.
It's a memory and a tradition they'll always have...
...one we'll always treasure.