Sunday, December 19, 2010
I was able to tell our story .. to a bunch of highschool kids ;)
Was I nervous... beyond belief. Not to talk about Owen, obviously I can talk, write, think about Owen all the time with no issues.. but to talk to a bunch of 17 yr olds at Westlane Secondary School, to a parenting class - I thought I was going to get eaten alive.
My friend Laura is a teacher, and for the past while, she has been teaching parenting. It's funny, because Laura is a little terrified of children, so I have made her hold Ben on many occasions ;) .. We had our Christmas party with our friends on Dec. 3rd, and Laura asked me if I could be a guest speaker about Autism, and about Owen. FOR SURE was my answer, I have always enjoyed public speaking - my fav!!
Since her class was learning about developmental in children, and reaching certain milestones, it was perfect to discuss Autism... especially for highschool students, who most likely have kids in their school, and maybe have no idea.. and just think there are strange kids who do strange things..
I contacted Autism Niagara, and was able to borrow a big board with tons of information on Autism, different programs offered, and handouts, like, "what is Autism". I also borrowed a DVD, showing what Autism is like for some people, and explain it in a way everyone can understand. I think my personal favourite, was why someone with Autism may have a meltdown, when to us nothing has happened - but really, they have a different bus driver, it is snowing, no lining up, someone in their class is wearing a different perfume, they dropped their pencil, and seating has changed... which for them, all of these issues added up - is like a tidal wave for us. The children explained this concept on the DVD, by having a girl hold a tray.. and with everything they would experience (the shampoo..weather..etc)they would add a water bottle on the tray for weight..and finally, the tray collapsed.
I got to explain my own situation with Owen, our pregnancy, reaching and not reaching his developmental milestones, things to look for, what help is out there, different types of Autism, our own personal stories comparing Owen to my husband Ryan, different struggles we have, and the great things too having Owen as our son, and also got to explain my job and what Ryan and I do for a living. I loved it, and was so thankful for Laura having me there to speak. The kids for the most part, were actually listening!! and asking questions!
Thank you Laura, and I really hope I got through to even 1 of those kids, next time to try and understand, and not be so quick to judge ;)