“All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and somebody who believes in them” is the quote from my newly aquired sign I purchased from Haven & Hound (I love this business for my custom signs) in honor of my eldest son, Russell. All children are special and wonderful in their own way, but there is something truly special about my son Russell and many others like him. Russell, my first born son, has autism.
What is Autism?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. Autism is a lifelong disorder and there is no cure for it . . .yet. However, through therapy and other resources, many behaviors can be corrected over time. For example, at age 3 Russell was nonverbal. We used a lot of sign language to communicate with him, not because he was hearing impaired at all, but because he struggled with speaking. Others may experience a vastly different experience with their diagnosis.
Russell gave me Hope
When Russell was diagnosed with autism at age 3, I felt hopeless. I felt hopeless because this was not a boo boo I could kiss and instantly make it all better. I felt hopeless because there is no cure for autism. I felt hopeless because I didn’t even know what autism was. Then as Russell came out of his speech class one day, he said the 4 words that sent me bursting into tears, “Mama, I love you.” I waited 4 years of his entire life at that point to hear those words. At that moment I knew that he had hope. At his age, he didn’t even know what autism was or that he had it, but did that stop anything? No. He experiences the world in a different way, as many of the people with autism do. Where I saw obstacles, he saw an opportunity to overcome. At age 9, he is not only thriving in life, but trying to take over my business too :-)
Help us spread Hope
Russell and I had a goal to create something special together. Although he may not fully understand his diagnosis, he is starting to recognize that his thinking is much different than others. That is what I absolutely love about him. Once he saw the sign I bought for him, he told me how much he liked the colors, went right over to my soapmaking area and started picking out colors. I asked him, “what are you doing Russell?, and he responds “Want to make some soap?” I guess that was my cue, right? As we finished the bar of soap, cut it, and let it cure I could tell he was so proud of his work. I am proud of him too. I am even more proud of his big beautiful heart and willingness to help others. We participated in the Walk for Autism Charleston a few years in a row and after learning of what they do for families, we thought it would be an awesome idea to give a little something back! When you purchase our Hope bar, a portion of the proceeds will go to the charity to continue their efforts to help families in the lowcountry affected by autism. We are hoping to raise as much as we can for them, so spread the word and purchase your bar today!
Do you have a loved one or know someone with autism? What are some resources you know of that could help someone who may need it? Give us your comments, thoughts, and feedback in the comments!