Saturday, April 23, 2016

Autism Awareness and Memory Keeping Blog Hop with a Baby Album Video

Hello, and welcome to our Autism Matters Memory Keeping Blog Hop. We are all excited to be sharing with you a Memory Keeping Project today to raise awareness for Autism.

As I am writing this I hear the sound of "the brakes" being put on in my head.  

Why, you may wonder?  

My family and extended family both live with adults who are "on the spectrum" and every day is a new adventure. The fact is, that everyone, no matter what challenges any of us face in life, we want to be accepted.
For individuals and/or families who do not live with autism, it's more about knowing what it's all about so we can accept all God's children the way we are. Maybe we can all be a little better because we are aware that a screaming child in a supermarket may not be a result of whatever "the issue" appears to be or label the situation in our heads.
So today, I have decided to share something written by my friend Colleen Ellis, to potentially give some insight for someone who doesn't have experience with autism.

Colleen Writes:
"Autism Awareness: I have been asked again if we do anything to celebrate Autism Awareness Month. If we participate with other families like us. I remember a time when Noah was about 5, in the grocery cart, squeezing a loaf of bread as hard as he could, so I could not get it out of his hands to give to the cashier. He raged, tears burned my eyes, and the cashier smiled kindly. At the end of the order she asked me if I wanted to donate a dollar to Autism Awareness! Ha! I remember smiling weakly and saying no thank you. In my head thinking, no not one more thing am I giving to autism today. It took my bread, it took my son’s peace, it took my composure in the grocery store, no not one more thing. No thank you. 
I know this month is both helpful and hopeful to some people, and that is great for them. But to me it feels like "meh." Our family is really quite aware about autism. Yet, I can’t quite put my finger on why this month makes me feel squirmy. I am acutely aware how far we have come as a family, and a culture, but I am also aware of how far we still need to go, as a family and as a culture. Maybe that is why it seems (maybe?) too festive, too happy, too fake to me to “celebrate” awareness. Now that my son is a new adult, I feel like we are staring at the abyss of unknown much like we were that day when he was 15 months old in the neurologist office where we first heard the words “on the spectrum.” 
Only the difference now is we are aware, so very aware. We will take on this challenge like all of the others, with determination, grit, grace, and perseverance. But now I am also weary. I feel like someone who has been doing this a long time. I feel like the old lady in a rocking chair on a porch, with a piece of wheat grass in my mouth who could “tell you a thing or two” with my long, crooked, old lady finger pointed at you. Yet I know I am only just beginning again, and that makes me so weary. 
Our life, the life of our whole family has been shaped by autism. There is only one of us who has autism, but we all live with it. We have laughed more, cried harder, and appreciated every milestone so much more because of autism. As our other little birds get ready to leave the nest, one by one, their older brother is left at home, to wonder “what about me?” As parents we also wonder, there is no clear path after he reaches 21, we are reminded we have always made our own path, this will be no different.
At one time that “Welcome to Holland” story kept me going in the early days when I needed to read about the positives of a raising a child with autism. There weren’t many resources, and many were bleak. Now there is so much information right at my fingertips. So many things to do, try, blame, it is almost “over awareness”. It certainly can be overwhelming. So much information to weed through, trying to find best practices instead of expensive snake oil. 
In our daily life it is less about a cure, than it is about building a life. Do I pray, hope and wish for a cure, treatment, or a finding that makes coping with autism better? For sure, I do! But I really can’t worry about that, because we are so busy finding our path and building his life, it seems like an entirely different problem. Maybe that is why I don’t feel like awareness month has anything to do with us. Yet it makes me feel guilty, like I am not doing my part on the “autism team” to spread awareness.
We talk openly every day about our struggles, gripes, funny things that happen because of autism, and successes/failures in living with autism. Living out in the open, and answering questions of people who ask, and being honest. This is how we cope with autism in our lives. Every day is autism awareness day in our family. Maybe this is why I feel uncomfortable about this month, lighting it up blue, or wearing a puzzle piece around my neck. I love someone with autism, but I don’t love autism. I have to share our life with autism, but I don’t want to give it one more thing. Not the space on my neck, not the light on my porch, not a whole month of walks, or celebrations. April is mine and autism you can't have it. No thank you. "

The Northeast Arc is our local support center for Autism.  They do wonderful things to support people who live with autism every day!  

If you would like to donate to them, you may click here and donate direct through their site!  

For the creative part of my post, I decided to share with you an idea that you can use, and reuse!

Over the past year, I've shown this album at classes and retreats and a whole bunch of people have been excited to copy these albums as gifts!  Every single baby is a gift so I wanted to share this little gift-able album that is SO easy to recreate!  Here are the supplies that I used:

139655 Kraft Color 6x8" album
- 135297 Variety Pack 6" X 8" Project Life Photo Pocket Pages (3 Packs)
- 135297 Variety Pack 6" X 8" Project Life Photo Pocket Pages (1 Pack comes with two pockets)
- one sheet of coordinating card stock to make the mattes for the front cover.
- and either the boy (138457) or girl (138504) project life card collections.  

Here is a short video to help you see how to put your album together.

Here are the other talented artists on our hop today.

Autism Blog Hop Line Up

  1. Janet Wakeland
  2. Katina Martinez
  3. Kylie Bertucci
  4. Wendy Cranford
  5. Candy Rattray
  6. Selene Kempton  Thats me!
  7. Patty Chanail
  8. Michelle Irinyl

Thank you for joining us for this Autism Matters Memory Keeping Blog Hop. Please Hop to my friend Patty Chanail's blog to check out our next project.


Kylie Bertucci said...

I absolutely adore your project and video Selene!! Just amazing. I have shared them in the Project life party and it will be an idea that I try for sure! AMAZING!!!!!

Candy Rattray said...

I love this little album, Selene! Thanks for showing how easy it is. What a perfect gift to give a new mom--and one that you can be sure will not be duplicated. Love this!

Dianne Keough said...

What a great project (for a great cause). Will have to make one of these for god daughter expecting her baby boy soon!

MamaZee said...

Love, Love, Love this project. Thank you for supporting Autism awareness