Friday, April 10, 2015

Lesson 354: Into the Wild Blue

Happy Friday, Readers.
It's time to fly out of the work week and into the wild, blue weekend.

Welcome to the Lamp Post's annual April Autism edition.
Keep reading, even if you think autism doesn't impact you.
Eloise is telling you it does.

Natalie, my oldest daughter was diagnosed as a child with autism fifteen years ago,

my nephew Erik, sixteen years ago.

In the time that has gone by,
what has changed?
What has stayed the same?

To start off on a positive note,
Awareness is growing.
autism | Puzzle Tree Autism Awareness Poster

I don't know of a single person who is unaware of what autism is.
How couldn't you?
It touches it's ugly hand to one in every 68 children.

My daughter.
My nephew.
And a whole lot of others.
Especially boys.

The stats aren't good.

The costs of autism are staggering.
This is the latest posting from the CDC:

Economic Costs

  • It is estimated to cost at least $17,000 more per year to care for a child with ASD compared to a child without ASD. Costs include health care, education, ASD-related therapy, family-coordinated services, and caregiver time. For a child with more severe ASD, costs per year increase to over $21,000. Taken together, it is estimated that total societal costs of caring for children with ASD were over $9 billion in 2011. [Read article]
  • Children and adolescents with ASD had average medical expenditures that exceeded those without ASD by $4,110–$6,200 per year. On average, medical expenditures for children and adolescents with ASD were 4.1–6.2 times greater than for those without ASD. Differences in median expenditures ranged from $2,240 to $3,360 per year with median expenditures 8.4–9.5 times greater. [Read article]
  • In 2005, the average annual medical costs for Medicaid-enrolled children with ASD were $10,709 per child, which was about six times higher than costs for children without ASD ($1,812). [Read summary]
  • In addition to medical costs, intensive behavioral interventions for children with ASD cost $40,000 to $60,000 per child per year.[11]

You've heard my voice over this last decade,
especially the last four years as your Friday night blogger.

In 2015, the voices have combined.
Autism is speaking.

Can you hear us?
We're shouting.
All across the world.

Light it up Blue is the movement that is sweeping the world.
Sparked by the Autism Speaks network,
April 2nd is recognized as World Autism Day.
The US, joined with nations spanning the globe,
light up homes, work spaces, and national landmarks
with blue lights to recognize autism.

Autism Speaks has emerged as the most powerful force in Autism advocacy.

The organization produced the documentary Sounding the Alarm in 2014.
Please click the link below to view the 1 minute and 27 second trailer,
even if you aren't interested in viewing the entire documentary.
You'll get the gist,
plus you owe it to me.
You get to read this blog for free--
absent of annoying ads--
because I don't earn a dime from my writing.

Autism Speaks.
Oh, the power behind some money!
I'm not snubbing my nose at them, by any means.
However, this nose can smell Corporate Autism if there ever was such a thing.

They've branded it.
Streamlined it.
Focused it.

Autism speaks has kept the puzzle piece

but has moved away from the busy, primary colored original design.

They've changed the blue from royal to sky,
and have come up with a clever slogan.

The blue theme works well for the Light It Up Blue movement,
now in it's fifth year.

The founder Bob Wright was the former chairman of General Electric
and CEO of NBC and NBC Universal.

The Wrights know how to do things up right.
they are grandparents of a child with autism.

Here is more from the Autism Speaks website:

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed nearly $200 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 40 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit
Light It Up Blue T Shirts

Get your
rubber wrist bands,
cookie cutters,

Autism Awareness Products

water bottles,

Last Chance Sale

reusable shopping bags,
coffee cups,

Happy Earth Day - Reuse with Autism Speaks

and my personal favorite--
Hero Capes.
(They are only $7)

Autism Speaks Hero Cape

The Light It Up Blue movement really has people talking.
Eloise gives it a big, blue thumbs up.

On a side note---
while searching for Light It Up Blue images on Pinterest,
I came across this.

Bioluminescense on the shores of the islands of Maldives.
Just awesome.

MAGIC SEA! Glowing blue water washes up on a beach in Vaadhoo, one of the Raa Atoll islands in the Maldives makes for such cool pictures. The result of a chemical reaction called bioluminescence, it occurs when a micro-organism in sea water is disturbed by oxygen.

While trolling Pinterest,
I chose some notable pins to share with you.

Some are great:

Clever phrases,

My Family Ties: Bureaucracy at it's best... - My Family Ties, All help very, very gratefully received! xx

autism is one word trying to describe millions of stories. Offer support...not judgement. #autism

Interesting visuals,

Autism Awareness Inside and Out of the Classroom

Jamberry has Autism support nail decals:

Links to great information--
(No, Lessons From the Lamp Post was not one of the Top 10)

Happy reading! Best Blogs by Parents of kids with Autism

Some, not so great:
Annoying, overused WW2 signs - Autism awareness....Supporting Autism 100%

and of course, you always have to have your token image of Einstein.

List of famous or highly successful people with autism.  Darryl Hannah is autistic, Dan Akroyd has asperger's, and Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are suspected to have ASD.  I gave this lesson to my kids today, then had them write down one thing they were amazing at. It was a great lesson :)

My favorite word and photo pairing for 2015 is this one.
It was shared to my facebook wall
from a dear old friend of mine, 
Jeanne Peters.
This image has been printed and I'm searching for the perfect frame
so it can be displayed in my Lamp Post Writing Station.

Autism has an impact on my family,
but we've made it work.

Siblings take on different roles.

Brothers and sisters are one part relative,
one part friend,
and one part caregiver.

We work them into the fabric of our lives.
They are productive.
Natalie made shrimp tacos for dinner the other night.
She loves to cook!

We support the places who have helped Natalie and Erik grow and learn.

And these found their way into our Easter baskets this year.


Natalie was excited about Easter this year.
Her artwork from Mr. Rocky's Seneca High School art class, showed this.
Natalie is included in his class with typical high school students.
She has learned a great deal from them,
and I bet they have learned even more valuable life lessons from Natalie.

Yes, it's strange that Natalie loves binkies.
She works to earn money for jobs around the house,
then wants to go to Walmart to purchase binkies with her hard earned cash.
She doesn't put them in her mouth.
She never did, even as an infant--
-she had a highly sensitive gag reflex and never could tolerate any type of pacifier.
Instead, Natalie lines them up on her bedroom windowsill by color order.

Is this a problem, or something that just makes Natalie unique?
I choose to see it as the latter.
God reminded me of that in a bedtime reading from Sam's book.

The fact that my 16 year old has no hopes of driving a car,
and instead likes binkies---
that is a problem we choose not to rehearse.

Autism--it's a wild ride,
so why not expose her to a group of wild, wellness junkies?

Eccentric welcomes eccentricity.

We have lots more living into the Wild Blue here at the Lamp Post.
We are excited for things to come.

The Erie Walk for Autism is Saturday, April 25th,
on Presque Isle at 11:00.
Please join us.

If you have a loved one struggling with autism,
make every effort to lay your thoughts of negativity to rest.

More than a decade and a half into this world,
Eloise and Kenyan can tell you that life goes on.
No matter how challenging today was,
tomorrow starts a new day.

You can find joy in every single day.
Sometimes you have to change your focus in order to find it,
but a song is always there for you to sing,

a small joy for you to celebrate.

Instead of my own video this week, I will repost one of my favorites.  "Fixing Autism" is a few years old, and truthfully, the numbers are worse than the video makes mention of--but this one is really terrific.  Don't miss it.

Be patient.
Be tolerant.
Be kind.

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