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How You Can Help a Family Dealing with Autism

And it’s not how you might think.

I was lucky enough to be on a conference call last Friday with Holly Robinson Peete talking about Autism Awareness and her partnership with OpenSky. There were a lot of great questions asked and one of them was from Niri of MommyNiri.com “How does one support a cause without letting the fundraising drive out your energy and enthusiasm?”

Holly responded with:

You don’t have to fundraise. Fundraising is great and I’m good at it – I’m a barracuda when it comes to getting money for my organization but the key is volunteering. And really from my point of view just being a part of the community. It can be as simple as offering to help a stranger who needs it. If you see a mom and a child struggling and we all recognize what that looks like, ask if you can help. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me “can’t you control your child?” and it’s a hard thing to hear. From a mom’s point of view if someone had offered to help me I would have felt so much better.

This is so true. Case in point… Disney World. When I was there for the Disney Social Media Moms conference, during some free time we decided to check out the Indiana Jones show. Chewy was tired and threw a conniption. So big that I left the show and went to a somewhat secluded area of the park near the show and let him throw his fit. I knew nothing was going to get him to stop the screaming, crying and hitting except time. I had a lot of people walk by and see that he was out of sorts and make that look that I’ve come to know oh so well. That “She needs to get control of that kid” look. If your kid is special needs, you know the look I’m talking about.

The fit continued for 15 minutes. All the while this older couple was looking over at me and then looking away. Finally the woman came up to me and said, “You have the most patience I’ve ever seen. He is lucky to have you as his mother.” To which I was dumbfounded to say the least. I replied meekly, “What am I supposed to do, he doesn’t understand me. I just have to sit here and take it until he’s done.”

You know what happened after they talked to me? He stopped. Them talking to us was the distraction both he and I needed. All it took was one outside person to say anything to him and he was done. We were able to go back in and watch the end of the show.

So if you think there is nothing you can do to help, you don’t have the money for fundraising efforts, you don’t know what to do to help? A simple thing like talking to the mother who looks like she needs help is all most parents want. Yes, fundraising is a necessary part of “funding” the research and programs, but, in my case, I’d much rather know that someone can see I’m struggling at a particular moment and offer a kind word.

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OpenSky, a new social shopping site, empowers consumers to design their own shopping experience and discover new products and ideas curated by the world’s most interesting people. OpenSky brings together celebrities, authors, stylists, chefs and other trendsetters in Food, Style & Beauty, Healthy Living and Home & Design to give shoppers the ultimate hook-up on the best of what they eat, buy, wear, use and love everyday.

OpenSky features a passionate and growing community of expert curators, all with distinctive perspective, expertise and passion that is unique to their individual personalities. Designed for the shopper who craves originality, excitement and discovery; members of OpenSky personalize their experience around their interests by “following” the curators they feel share their passion and interests. Curators offer their followers an exclusive look at their everyday adventures and discoveries each week alongside insider access to their personal product recommendations at special prices.

They have partnered with The HollyRod Foundation to offer a special limited edition, handmade amethyst beaded bracelet with a puzzle piece charm for Autism Awareness that Honesty Jewelry they made especially for Holly. It will be available exclusively on OpenSky.com for fans who sign up to follow Holly. The bracelet will cost $98 and proceeds benefit The HollyRod Foundation — which is dedicated to providing compassionate care for those living with autism.
The HollyRod Foundation OpenSky Project

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disclosure: I was invited to be a part of this call but did not receive any monetary compensation for promoting their product. I wanted to share with you, my readers, because this is a cause that is near and dear to me.

ColoradoMoms.com

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0 COMMENTS

  • Stimey

    Sometimes that kind word or smile can make the entire difference. I’m so happy to hear about that nice lady.

  • Emily
    AUTHOR

    Thanks! The spiritual side of me thinks they were sent to save my sanity on a day I was really struggling. 😉

  • I can’t begin to understand how you must feel every time this happens. But I just want to let you know, that woman is right. Your son is lucky to have you Emily.

  • Shannon

    Hi there. I just found your blog today as I think you and I will be at the same event soon and I want to check it out. What a wonderful blog and this post is fantastic. I SOOO agree. I have a four year old (he turned four yesterday) and a three year old (as of today) and the oldest has autism and a chromosomal syndrome. I am sharing this link! God bless you.

  • Brynn Flaherty

    Touching post…You might be interested in my colleague’s blog post on understanding autism – http://www.developmentalcheckup3.com/page.cfm?pageid=18781&feedid=59&feedcategoryid=217

    Visit the site to find out more about this great new child developmental assessment which can be done online. Cheers