Today I’m lighting it up blue in support of World Autism Awareness Day. And I’m in good company: a great group of crafty folks are sharing their experiences and creations to as part of the Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness Blog Hop. The list of sponsors is long and the list of contributors is even longer, but if you learn even one new thing about autism along the way, the hop will be worth it. If you leave a comment here, or at any of the other blog posts in the hop before April 6, you’ll have a chance to win one of the many prizes contributed by our generous sponsors.
This is a pretty simple card, made with Lil’ Inker Designs’ Piece of Me stamps and Puzzle Pieces dies. I stamped the base with a cascade of puzzle pieces, then used the coordinating dies to cut a piece out of a stitched rectangle mat. I backed the mat with a piece of ridiculously sparkly silver paper and dropped a tiny blue heart into the negative die cut. My blue-obsessed kid totally approves.
And finally, a little about why autism awareness and this blog hop are important to me:
A few years ago, my son’s preschool teachers started dropping words and phrases like “not typical” and “extreme” instead of the usual “adorable” or “wicked smart”. They recommended developmental assessments. The kind that lead to all kinds of intimidating diagnoses that keep parents up at night. I did a lot of research, read countless articles, and even interviewed our family for things I might have missed (during which, my mom mentioned that learning more about autism over the years made her wonder if I had undiagnosed Asperger’s). Almost every bit of that research (and subsequent maternal epiphany) was made possible by the people fighting to change the visibility and perception of autism.
While Tom’s evaluations didn’t reveal enough of a developmental delay to warrant early interventions or vigorous pursuit of a diagnosis, the results did make us aware that he’s not neurotypical. And that’s OK. Seeing celebrities and regular people talk about their ASD, ADHD, and other disorders publicly has made it safer. Knowing that he’s different–not just difficult –has made it a little easier to cope, not to mention opening us up to a world of resources and advice for raising and educating kids who aren’t like the rest.