I 💙 Awesomism!

I have been asked several times why I use the blue hearts and why I call it Awesomism. Some parents, don’t like that I call it that because they think it doesn’t adequately represent many of the struggles we deal with daily. While I understand this view, especially from parents of children that are considered “low functioning”, I refuse to let autism define Peyton. In fact, I want him to embrace what makes him unique. Peyton is considered “high functioning“, and he realizes he views things and does things differently than his older siblings. His ability to know and understand that he is autistic has actually been a comfort for him. I realize this isn’t always the case, but it works for us and I have always believed that, as parents, we have to do what is best for our children. I have told Peyton for years that he has Awesomism, not autism, as he is the one who was chosen out of many to be awesome. Every time I tell someone this, and Peyton is present, he smiles. That warm smile makes me realize I have made the right decision.

Blue has become widely accepted as the color to represent autism. I choose to use blue hearts as a symbol of my unconditional love and devotion to helping not only Peyton, but also to all others in the “Awesomism” community. I add the blue hearts to many of my social media posts to show others that my drive and passion truly comes from my heart. Peyton designed a logo that is of a capital “A” in blue… I love this because it symbolizes Awesomism, and his understanding of what we are trying to achieve. 

What exactly is Awesomism? Well, it isn’t always easy to put into words, but I will try. Awesomism, to me, means helping those in the autism community to be the best they can be. Too many autistic teens and adults are unemployed, lonely, and deal with issues alone without knowing how to ask for help. I know there are many programs out there for them, but at this point in time there are simply not enough. Part of the reason for this is because many aren’t aware of how to tackle these issues, such as how to train for jobs. I know Peyton would be great at certain jobs, but getting him trained for these jobs wouldn’t be easy as it would require time, energy, and (if we´re being honest)… patience. I have no doubt that once he learns the skills required, he would be an awesome employee. I am sure this will be true for many others as well. As an “Ambassador for Awesomism” my goal is to work with other parents, teens, adults, companies, and others to help fill the training and employment voids that are out there. I am only one person and in no way believe that I am the only person who is working to make a difference. I also know that my years in the political world has afforded me connections with many awesome people that can, and will make a difference working with me. I also know that there are so many needs and challenges to overcome, but for every “issue” we each address, the better the chance we have to truly turn autism into Awesomism! 💙

 

The “Measuring Stick”

Being the mom of an autistic child has opened my eyes to many things that before I either didn’t see or chose to ignore. I remember when my oldest son was young, other first time moms would ask me…how big is he, is he talking, is he walking etc… Etc… It seemed as if this was the “stick” to measure their own kids, as well as mine. I didn’t think much of it at the time. As my older 3 kids grew up, so did the competition..meaning they measured themselves against others just as others measured themselves against them. The most competitive clearly was the academic success and failures. My kids were all homeschooled, but they went to classes, in fact they were enrolled in an umbrella school and took classical education classes, which were not easy. Their grades were given to them by their teachers…so it always amused me when people would say “of course your kids do well, you give them the grades” actually I didn’t. To me I felt competition was a healthy excercise as long as it didn’t make my kids feel like they weren’t “good enough” all 3 of my older kids are very different from one another and I always tried to point out their strengths to them, as well as weaknesses and how to accept they were each special in their own way. After I had Peyton I realized many of the things I worried about in regards to Peyton really didn’t matter. I didn’t care how much he weighed, how soon he Continue reading

“A Chicago Voice”

I had to wait a few days before I could even attempt to write this blog. I am a Chicago girl, I have always been proud of being born and raised there. I love my Chitown sports teams, and to this day get teased about my “Chicago accent” even though it’s been years since I lived there. When the Cubbies were playing for the WS, it was amusing how many people who visited Chicago, or lived there for a year or two, were suddenly Chicagoans….However; in the last 72 hours I have become ashamed of my hometown…in fact ashamed is a mild word.

The barbaric behavior of the 4 people is beyond despicable. The incident I am speaking of is the brutal assault and kidnapping of a special needs boy. To make matters worse they broadcast it on Facebook! The reaction at first from some in the city was worse. How dare they explain it away and brush it off as “kids”. I was so angry, hurt, broken-hearted and to be honest full of rage over what happened, to see how some tried to “brush it aside” I watched as people on Twitter “screamed” at each and made it about everything that fit their own agenda. My anger was not about race, politics or class…it was about yet once again a person with special needs was a victim. I read in horror some people’s reactions Continue reading

Unlock

One of my favorite education quotes is by Marva Collins….”There is a brilliant child locked inside every student.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with Marva Collins, she was a tireless education advocate, who sought to help those students who were lost in the Chicago Public School system. Many of these kids were labeled ” learning disabled” she set out to prove they weren’t. She started an awesome low cost private school, took in many kids and changed their lives….If you haven’t read her story I highly suggest you do…she was a woman who not only talked about helping those being left behind, but put her money where her heart was and helped them unlock their full potential.

I wish she was still alive. I would love to talk with her, she had such determination and drive to help those that others pushed aside. I feel like this is still true today. To often it’s an easy response to say ” it’s too difficult to deal with their issues” it frustrates me how many people talk about fixing issues, but really don’t do what is required….We are going through Continue reading