It’s true there are many stories on ECHOage that make us cry, laugh, sigh. This one is unique, and worth retelling, it made us all stop and say: “Wow”. In the words of Victoria’s mom Amy, here is the story:
We live in a great house in East York, just a few blocks from Michael Garron Hospital where Victoria was born. The hospital is also where Victoria was cared for after a recent fall at school. Victoria fell and hit her head. Paramedics were called and she and I rode in the ambulance together. Victoria was captivated by the paramedics, who made her feel safe when she was scared and hurt. One of them had a crazy moustache, which Victoria thought was just about the coolest thing ever. When it was time to plan her birthday, we talked about ECHOage. Victoria said she wanted to “help kids and babies where I was born, and where “the moustache” helped me when I fell”. One of Victoria’s classmates’ dad is a police officer. When he heard about Victoria’s generosity, he felt compelled to track down “the moustache”. He found him! And he was able to come to Victoria’s birthday party to say “thank you” in person for Victoria’s donation to the hospital. They even let Victoria and her friends explore the ambulance!
Victoria has spastic dilpegia, a type of cerebral palsy (CP). CP affects everyone differently. For Victoria, she has very tight muscles in her legs, which make it difficult to walk. She wears leg braces and uses a walker to get around. Recently, we have been borrowing a used ice sledge so that she can go on school skating trips at our local arena. For her birthday, she received her very own, made-just-for-her ice sledge.
Happy Birthday To Victoria from the whole team at ECHOage! You made us cry, laugh, sigh. We’ll all be thinking of you throughout the holiday season, of you, your amazing generosity, of “the moustache” and the ice sledge. Thank you Victoria and Amy. XOXO ECHOage
Today Avery is our Hero. Here’s Why…While going through the list of charities on ECHOage, Avery’s Mom explained that Because I Am A Girl is a charity that help little girls around the world have the same rights as boys. By supporting this charity, Avery would be able to help girls go to school and have healthcare the same as the boys. When she heard that other little girls didn’t have the same right as boys she said “That’s not fair! Girls should have all the same things that boys do. I want to pick this charity.”‘
It has been 10 years since my son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.
Back in those days, you got your diagnosis and you were sent on your way to deal with it. Very little information regarding treatment, agencies, education or help of any kind was provided. It was pretty much a “Yes, your son has autism… don’t hit yourself with the door on the way out” kind of an approach.
I didn’t even know where to get started. Keep in mind – this was long before social media. Finding autism support and connecting with other families was not a click away. Even in those early days, I learned quickly that my very best resource was other parents. I stand by that today. And with so many kids affected, there are more and more parents with experience that you can turn to. For example:
- Other Moms. You can find moms everywhere. School is a great place to start. If you can find moms with a child on the spectrum who are attending the school your child will be attending, connect with them. They can give you the ins and outs of the special education resources available, how to negotiate support for your child, which teachers are best to deal with and basically how to work the system in the best possible way for your child. Going to school is a big move for our kids (and us!) so connecting with school moms prior to school enrollment is key.
- Support groups. I wandered into an autism support group and truly found my people. But you have to find the right group. Some groups are for parents to share in their concerns and maybe have a little cry and get support that way. My support group suited me because we were a group about action. The facilitator was fierce – we were all there because we wanted the best outcomes for our kids and we left with actual tasks to report back on at the next meeting. There was no “There, there, everything will be OK.” And that was fine with me. Make sure your autism support group has the same goals as you do to get the most out of it.
- Online groups. There are countless Facebook groups, Yahoo groups and online communities. What I would have done for that resource 10 years ago! These groups are a great place to have discussions, ask questions and get answers. And who isn’t blogging these days? There are amazing blogs written by parents of children with autism who share their journeys.
- Find some you connect with and you have instant community.
You don’t have to do this alone. We are here waiting to help you. Find us.
ECHOage Guest Blogger – Julie Cole
There’s a general statement I often hear about kids, usually when there has been an incident of bullying or unkind behavior. That statement is “kids are so mean”. I cringe every time I hear it because:
a) It’s not true
b) Generalizations don’t serve anyone well and usually end up making me feel twitchy.
Unlike the bullying stories you often hear, I recently had an experience with my 14-year-old son that left me completely overwhelmed with how kind and supportive teenage boys can be.
He was out of town with his hockey team participating in a tournament. I worried that it might be a bit awkward socially, since the boys on the team didn’t know each other very well heading into the tournament. I was sure to send Daddy-o and son off with the Xbox and a load of junkie drinks and chips. That way, my kid’s room would be the “cool” place for them to hang out. When you’re raising a child with autism, you are always thinking about setting him up for success socially.
Daddy-o was giving me e-mail updates throughout the second game of the tournament, and what I was reading brought me to my knees. Here’s what happened:
- My kid got his first goal of the season. The bench cleared and his team went crazy congratulating him. In fact, our coach had to let the other coach know that it was his first goal and that they weren’t in fact rubbing it in that they had gotten so far ahead;
- Then my kid scored a second goal. More hysteria ensues. With one minute of play left, our coach was sending out the last lineup of players. One of the boys getting sent onto the ice asked coach if Mack could go out in his place so that he’d have a shot at getting a hat trick. Yes, a teammate gave up his own ice time for my son.
- After the game, his teammates decided he should be the tournament captain. A white “C” made of hockey tape was applied to his jersey, and he was given the game puck.
So you see why I don’t believe that kids are mean. We can’t forget about the coaches either. Any coach who can create an environment of support and peer encouragement for a bunch of testosterony 14-year-old boys has clearly worked some magic.
Saahil’s parents wanted to give their two year old son the biggest gift of all – the opportunity to experience how good it feels to help others.
A breakfast volunteer from Eel Ground First Nation School shares a bit about Canadian Feed the Children and how Saahil and others like him are making such a big difference.
“The breakfast program has made a huge impact on our school and community. I cannot imagine working with these children every day without the breakfast program to help them through the day. Now, the children not only look forward to attending school but are much better prepared physically and mentally to challenge the rigors of the school day. Thank you once again for your invaluable contribution to our children’s future.”
There was not shortage of outdoor fun and friendship at this birthday party. Saahil, we thank you and your family for sharing your birthday celebration with us and for inspiring other little people to get the gift of their dreams while helping a charity in need.
Happy 2nd birthday Saahil. We are so proud of you!