At the start of this blog I defined the guidelines for the site as being very flexible – entirely based on my desire to impart my life lessons to my children- regardless if they wanted them. I knew at the onset a year ago that although I felt I was on the right path I had no idea where it would lead me.
In the past month a new direction for a series of blurbs dedicated to my Daughter Abigail has begun to develop and I would like to share them during the month of April. These are still rules of life but they are focused on rules which Abby will need to know now and in the future. Although I have all my children in mind as I write, these particular postings during April are focused on Abby’s unique needs.
Abigail is a wonderful blessing to our family, she is full of love and energy. She loves books, music (both singing and dancing) and is an avid learner of all that life has to offer. But she struggles sometimes because she is a unique person, she has a form of Autism called Aspergers.
When we first realized she was special was when she started to interact with other kids in daycare. Things like loud noises and personal space rules confused her- she looks at the world much differently than most of us.
Not better or worse, just differently.
Bobbi and I had some great advice when we were first understanding what Autism was and how it would effect her life and our family. It came from a great psychologist, Dr Tonrey who told us…
” Don’t try to change her or fix her. I treat many people with Aspergers and they are among the kindness, most honest people I know. I wouldn’t want them to change at all. They view the world differently, your job is to help her understand how the rest of us view the world and help her to understand us”
It made sense then, but after now 4 years of experience her words have become even more wise. Abby was not a person we were suppose to mold into “normal”, Abby was a person who we needed to teach how to embrace the world with her own special gifts.
My son Collin wrote speech for the start of Autism awareness week. I think is clearly says how we ( our family) feels about Abby…
“Living in A Different World than You or I See
by Collin Vestring
Some people see the world differently.
Some people hear sounds differently.
Some people feel touch differently.
Some people struggle to fit into a world
that doesn’t understand
how they see it.
These people see the world in a different way.
These people have Autism.
1 in 110 children in the United States have Autism.
They struggle to survive in a world where much of what they perceive doesn’t make sense.
More than 3 million people in the United States are autistic,
and one of them is my 9 year old sister Abby.
Abby doesn’t like loud noises.
She has trouble wearing jeans or pants because they hurt.
Abby has trouble understanding what people are feeling or what they need.
She struggles to make friends and “fit” into a classroom.
Talking is harder.
Listening is harder.
Getting dressed is harder.
and even playing is harder.
Overall, life is harder because nothing comes easy.
She has Aspergers.
She is autistic
I worry about how her life will be.
I wish the world would understand why she is different.
I wish everyone would be a little more understanding and a little more kind to Abby.
I wish I could do something for her.
There is a way.
There is an organization called Autism Speaks that helps people with Autism.
They help people like you and I become aware of challenges and struggles people with Autism face every day.
They find ways to improve peoples lives,
through research and teaching.
On April 2 Autism Speaks is organizing a worldwide awareness day to make people more aware of Autism.
They have gotten hundreds of buildings and monuments to shine blue lights that night.
From The statue of liberty
The golden gate bridge
All will be LIGHTING UP BLUE that night.
I ask you, as my classmates and friends to join with me to help my sister and the millions of people like her with Autism.
It is time to act, It is time to start changing the world.
It is time to light a blue light on April 2nd
Abby & I have made it easy and have lights for all of you. She picked out all of your lights. (blue neon necklaces, bracelets and princess wands)
We ask that you just turn them on and help everyone become aware of Autism. This awareness will help with research and hopefully make the lives of those with autism better.
It will only take a couple minutes of your time.
On April 2nd when Abby picks me up from school and sees everyone wearing the blue lights she will know that people do want to help the world have a better understanding of how she and others with autism feel.
You can make a difference.
We hope to see your light shining. ”
April is Autism awareness month and we will of course as a family join with you to light up April 2 with Blue lights. Collin is kicking it off for our family by reading this speech to his school and giving out 1,000+ lights to his classmates at Archbishop Wood High School to help spread the word that night.
(Archbishop Wood’s faculty and administration have been more than supportive, not only pushing the cause, but taking real action to help spread its message. We as a family are blessed to have the AWHS family with us)
In a small way each rules published in the next month are designed to help Abby learn about the strange rules of our world, and help spread the message that Autism is challenging but once understood can bring joy to the lives of those who embrace people with it.
Thank you for the support of Autism Awareness week.
“Light it Up Blue…April 2”