Ya’ll… I’ve been struggling lately to make it to the end of the day. With so many things that we do as families living with a member who has an exceptionality, life can really get draining. Errands, doctor appointments, MELTDOWNS, anxiety, sensory issues, unexpected “triggers”… the list goes on. And yet within these moments… I start to feel blue! Really, deep blue.
Let me explain by going back a bit: I’m crazy and I always volunteer to do First Tech Challenge in Bismarck. Basically, it’s a bunch of really smart teenagers who come together from around the state and surrounding states to battle robots! How can anyone not find this exciting? These teenagers are programming on computers, solving real-world applications, gaining huge scholarships, and learning some pretty important communication skills. My job is normally to judge. I often interview kids who come in, looking shy and often “quirky”. Then the minute they began to give me their presentation, their passion shows through. As a judge I sit and think, “Wow. This is our future. This kid is going places!” I just love this event. If you haven’t gone, I encourage you to attend this weekend at the National Energy Center of Excellence building (NECE) located on BSC Campus around 10am on Saturday. Free for the public and an event where you get to see some pretty brilliant teams compete with robots!
… O.K…move forward to my meltdown story. Like I said earlier… this is when I feel really blue. Let me connect these thoughts. Thinking about this event and experiencing my own personal moments, I remind myself of the importance of Autism Awareness. I need to let others know I am here and can understand! In these moments when I feel like I am melting down at home- I remember that the road is hard as we gain acceptance. And it relates to this robotic competition on a very close note. Autism Awareness! In my training manual to be a judge this year, which was created by National Companies, I am being taught and reminded that I may interact with children with autism. They have a whole section about AUTISM! How cool is that?! I felt so giddy and “blue”!!!! Like- Finally, people are starting to GET IT! PASS ON THIS INFORMATION!!! Autism is REAL. AUTISM is around us. And we CAN dress, feel, and illuminate blue to help others understand they are not alone.
Reminding me of what I learned in the manual was almost a calming effect as I watched my child melt down for the umpteenth time. He is growing up in a world where it won’t be JUST me helping him through these moments. Eventually, he will go into public and I know that more and more people will be understanding of these moments that he appears puzzling to all…
I do hope you join us in April as we continue to “Light It Up Blue” for Autism Awareness. And please remember to keep the NDAC community alive by sharing your blue moments with us. Together, we can do great things to spread awareness for these great people.
-Arin Casavant, guest blogger