Sunday, October 01, 2006

October is Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness Ribbon, originally uploaded by Kaedibyrd.

“October is Autism Awareness Month”. This is what the poster on the hospital’s wall said. I stared at it puzzled and fatigued, 6 years ago, wondering how come this month was also chosen by my daughter to leave the womb and start breathing the polluted air of a blue planet in the solar system.

I was shocked no more when the hospital developmental team had given me the worst prognosis and labeling they could possibly come up with for her condition, and presented it in their doom-day style. Luckily, I had a whole year to prepare for what they are going to say. There is only one hospital for children serving the over 4 million British Columbian population. Therefore, waiting lists for diagnosing children with developmental delays are extremely long, which gives worried parents enough time to get therapy and informal diagnosis from more people-oriented community professionals. In fact, the worser the diagnosis – the better for her. She will get more help. And so she did.

This month I will be celebrating my only daughter’s 10th birthday. I will also be celebrating my ten years of motherhood, and ten years of living with autism 24/7. My daughter is perhaps the single most influential person in my life, and my most beautiful inspiration for anything from mundane tasks of folding socks and preparing lunch boxes, to more poetic activities such as perfumery, photography and writing.

To honour my daughter and muse, I have decided to dedicate all my writing to SmellyBlog this month to all the things that my daughter loves, and also have a few Autism related blog entries. Therefore, this month will be dedicated to pumpkins, strawberries, ice cream, birthday cakes and lots of other Halloween candies and anything else my daughter obsesses about. There may be also a few little short stories or articles about autism with great references and resources, to increase awareness – as this is, after all, Autism Awareness Month.

There will also be an Autism Blogala – lots of blog events, in this blog and any other blogs that will be joining us, to raise funds for Autism community, education and research organizations around the world. More about this in the next post.

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At October 02, 2006 4:57 AM, Blogger Anya said...

Tamya is a wonderful little girl, full of fun and love. I can tell that from when I speak to you and she's around, and the interaction between you two. If you think the first ten years were wonderful, wait for the next ten, as she grows into womanhood and the bond between you two expands and blossoms.

Tell my birthday cousin (October is a great month for b'days!) that I'll send some virtual cake her way, and wear a little Tamya in honor of her.

I'll visit the blogs and websites you post about to learn more on autism.

At October 02, 2006 7:04 PM, Anonymous gingele said...

Thank you, thank you. My youngest (7) also has an autistic spectrum disorder. I thank you for sharing your expereince with your daughter and I thank you for this Blogala! I will be happy to support in any way I can.

At October 02, 2006 7:42 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Yes, Anya, Tamya is a wonderful person, and is growing up so quickly! She is very humorous in her own funny way and is also very social. Tamya is a Scorpio - her B day is Ocotber 29th, right before Halloween, and it always ends up with some kind of a pumpkin theme... Pumpkin carving is one of her obsessions...

This months there are going to be lots of exciting things and funny stories about Tamya - some related to perfumes and some not quite.

Two blogs have already joined us: Perfume Critic and Monkey Posh, and we hope that more will join in later.

At October 02, 2006 7:44 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

I am so glad to hear that there are other parents to autistic children that read my blog!
Is your child verbal? Tamya didn't start talking really until she was 8! But this is a story that will be told later on through the Blogala. I would be more than happy to hear more parents join in the discussion and tell us about their wonderful children - the tough moments and the bright moments that are worth all the hard work!

At October 03, 2006 6:59 PM, Anonymous gingele said...

Yes, Sam is verbal, but.... His language development slowed to a crawl at around 22 months (first red flag - sound familiar?) and although he continues to gain in that area, his gains are painfully slow and wholly atypical. From there, the cascade of social and other developmental delays came forward. I'm sure you understand...same tune, different notes (or some such metaphor). {{Hugs}} to you, wonder woman (as we all are!) - and again, thank you!!

At October 04, 2006 5:52 AM, Blogger chaya ruchama said...

Yet more reasons to love you, Ayala...

Our children are our teachers, and especially those of our children who require more demanding care and attention...

I will do whatever I can to help.

L'Shana Tova to you both-


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