Keeping “I” as an important part of all we do.
I’ve been thinking a lot about both Inclusion and Independence. Personally, I always look at the start of a new year as a new start to help my boys. They are now 11 and 16 years old, so their needs to increase their self-care, communication, and independence are more important than ever. Teaching an individual with autism, especially when there are executive function deficits (ie. planning skills to do a task) and/or cognitive disabilities makes simple tasks difficult for the individual to do even with teaching the skill over and over.
Then there is inclusion. Finding opportunities for inclusion is no easy task. From daily life to even inclusion in school. Starting in preschool all the way to high school, many with autism are not given inclusive opportunities to be able to make friends or learn basic social skills. Due to support needs it’s also difficult for many to participate in after-school activities. The lack of inclusion can continue for adults unless they are part of a special program. There are few opportunities for those adults with moderate to severe autism to be a part of the autism community or even the community in which they live.
Here’s my challenge to everyone:
- Parents – work on those self-care and independence needs. Think if your child is going to further their education or work in the future what skills they need to have. How can you help them or what type of professional might be able to?
- Extended Family, Grandparents, Neighbors – Think about how you can help the parents teach skills or maybe give them a job doing a task so that they can build skills and confidence.
- Community Members – Think about what community programs you are a part of that could be made more inclusive for individuals with autism to be a part of. Own a business? What jobs could you look to hire an individual with autism? Individuals with autism are often hard-working, dedicated, and detailed.
We can all achieve more and, with your support, ASMV can do more for the community! Please consider adding the Autism Society of Mahoning Valley to your gift list. Together, we can make a world of difference right here with our friends and neighbors. Donate Today to Be the Connection With your support, we can do even more!Together, we can make a world of difference right here with our friends and neighbors. Please let me know if there is something I can do to help your family.
Robin Suzelis, Director
Autism Society of Mahoning Valley