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An awareness worth accepting: Embracing AUTISM!

An awareness worth accepting: Embracing AUTISM!

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Have you recently felt a kind of jubilation within your heart upon completing a project, a job or an assignment? Self-appraisal aside, how would you score yourself? Thumbs up or down?

Did you feel accomplished? Frustrated? Burned out? Confused about your career path? Are you still wishing you could have chosen a more fulfilling goal to work towards? Do you crave for acceptance or recognition from others to celebrate your victory? How would you describe your goal-driven-desire even without achieving any of the things listed above?

A couple of Sundays ago, right after church, my girlfriends and I (Kene & Tinunke) allowed our kids to play together in the lobby as we got carried away deep in a concerned conversation about career choices and how our African parents played a huge role in strict decision making for their children!

Hmm! Tell me about it! ‘We echoed amidst deep laughter, hip slapping and a cheerful pat on the shoulder as we exchanged stories of a confusing and oppositional remembrance of our struggle to decline our parent’s choices of profession for us then! Ah, you must become a Medical Doctor! Or ‘an Engineer! Or a Lawyer! …’Lol. Thank goodness we eventually followed our heart’s desire, then or later!

After decades of enduring and attempting to be like my mother, the civil service accountant or trending after the steps of my father, the articulate site developer/Land surveyor… ‘It just wasn’t my calling…’it didn’t last long! ‘Years of boring TD classes and assorted French curves with cursive initial of AOG engraved on both sides! Long sessions of Math tutoring when really my mind was focused on watching ‘Wild Rose’ Phew!

Many people are still living stress-filled lives because they never sought and discovered God’s plan and are still trapped in jobs and careers that simply do not fit into. Every day, they feel like the proverbial round peg being jammed into a square hole – isn’t that a painful and frustrating experience? Meaning…people never experience fulfilment in their work because they are in the wrong line of work to begin with just to fulfil other’s needs!

There was a passion hidden deep inside of me, yet unraveled, but always rearing its way out of my consciousness. It has to be something greater than me and I waited…and waited…and waited…’until I set my eyes on Peter, the cutest 5-year-old boy, recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder…I became his behavior therapist…’that was 14 years ago…He was my first client as He helped pave the way for my passion working with special needs children.   #LifeGoals

So, since we are in April, and its world Autism month, ‘ask yourself…’how aware am I about the term Autism, and how understanding or accepting am I, when I relate with someone with Autism? ‘Am I tolerant and capable of coping or communicating with someone on the spectrum? What difference can I make in the life of someone with Autism? Or how can I be useful to the family of a child with Autism?

It is easier to proclaim we care about someone with a disability or illness or even carry a banner of awareness when our hearts reject all the flaws that come with it!

We sometimes carelessly use hurtful and inappropriate names (crazy, weird, awkward, sickly child or dying woman) to label others just because we feel they are vulnerable or we think we are stronger than their situation? Hello? ‘Got perfect life?

Here’s one of the 10 things a child with autism would like you to know and accept, before judging…

Listen to all the ways I’m trying to communicate.

It’s hard for me to tell you what I need when I don’t have a way to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened, or confused but right now I can’t find those words. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that tell you something is wrong. They’re there.

Or, you may hear me compensate for not having all the words I need by sounding like a little professor or movie star, rattling off words or whole scripts well beyond my developmental age. I’ve memorized these messages from the world around me because I know I am expected to speak when spoken to. They may come from books, television, or the speech of other people. Grown-ups call it echolalia. I may not understand the context or the terminology I’m using. I just know that it gets me off the hook for coming up with a reply.

By Ellen Notbohm from the book Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, 2nd edition (2012, Future Horizons, Inc.)

We all want to be successful in our chosen profession. Whether we believe in what we do or not. Our goal is to nail it and keep moving. Your office may be downtown or just inside your front door. Your work clothes may be an elegant suit or ragged jeans and a stained t-shirt. You may be paid in cash or with crayon drawings and sticky kisses like me! It doesn’t really matter because none of these things alone makes us successful in the work place.

Our success comes from the lives we touch with real acceptance…full acceptance of all the shortcomings! #Autism Acceptance

God empowers His plan in us, but when we step into our own agenda or a plan created by anyone else, we are stepping into and relying upon our frail, limited strength. We will soon be empty and stress will flood in, filling the emptiness with anxiety and tension. Don’t waste another day just doing the “next” thing. Take a long, hard look at your work, your job, and your agenda to make sure you are in the right place – doing what you were created to do in this world.

Do more this month, volunteer to be of assistance to a family with a special needs child, and love them genuinely for life!

Yours in HOPE!

Yinka.

Autism Care Network UK

Autism Care Network, Dubai.

 

 

 

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How aware are you about ‘AUTISM’?

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Today April 2nd, is World Autism Awareness Day. Although we know so much more about autism than we did twenty or thirty years ago, it is still very important for all of us to make sure we know some facts and are able to debunk the myths about autism.

As an Applied  Behavioral Analyst with a  deep passion for autistic children, I am joining the rest of the world in wearing blue #LIUB and campaigning for a cause I believe in!

But today is about so much more than tweets and t-shirts. People like my childhood friend, Oyin! My cousin Sammy! and so many others who are on the autism spectrum, live with it every single day — we can’t stop showing our support when the blue lights go out.aut 5

Awareness is the first step to making true progress. With a loud enough megaphone, supported by your voice, we can convince lawmakers to fund more research for innovative treatments and resources for students on the spectrum who need a little extra support to keep up with their peers.

We can keep mapping the human genome to gain greater understanding of the many forms of autism and develop personalized treatments. We can educate more parents about the signs of autism to increase the rate of early diagnosis — and then connect them with the resources they need to help their child lead a happy and healthy life.

Here are 10 good reasons we should care about AUTISM:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.aut 3aut 2A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.

  1. About 700,000 people alone in UK are on the autism spectrum and with their families they make up around 2.8 million people whose lives are affected by autism on a daily basis according to the National Autistic Society. While about 36,500 of every 4 million children born each year in the United States will have autism.
  2. The number of people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has dramatically increased over the last few years. Today it’s estimated that one child in 68 has ASD. This means in a secondary school of 1500 students about 15 of them will be autistic.
  3. Being diagnosed as autistic isn’t a label or something negative – it can mean the difference between growing up in a confusing, scary world and getting all the right support and services. It also gives parents an explanation for difficulties their child is having. Adults can be diagnosed with autism as well.use1
  4. Autistic people have a unique take on the world that can be fun, enlightening, entertaining and thought-provoking. They encourage us to see the value of sounds, smells, places and objects that may otherwise pass us by.
  5. Chances are most people will know or be related to someone with autism making it vital that they understand something about what autism is and how they can adapt their world to make it more autism-friendly.
  6. Autism is an invisible disability. That they could have extreme difficulties with sensory processing and social understanding and interaction is not immediately apparent.
  7. Every autistic individual has their own unique version of autism. There are many myths and assumptions, but if you’ve met one person with autism … you’ve met one person with autism.aut 4
  8. That kid in the supermarket having a tantrum might just be an autistic child so overloaded with sights, smells and sounds that the fear and stress has led to a meltdown. Think twice before judging: many parents are fighting battles like these every day and need your understanding and support.
  9. Autistic traits have had a clear benefit to human development, and can affect the emotional well-being of the caretaker – Reach out to a family in need today!
  10. Finally, I would like everyone reading this to show support within their natural environment by volunteering to learn coping strategies – Sunday schools! Camps, or even within your community! And my prayer is that, eventually they will grow up in a world that understands and embraces their difference … shortcomings and all.

***Dedicated to all my 240 adorable Autistic children & families, to the ones we have lost due to late intervention or mis-diagnosis and to all the early intervention/behavioral therapists who have dedicated their lives to serve them. Thank you.

Yours in HOPE as I #LightItUpBlue for Autism Awareness this month!

Yinka.

for Autism Resources Inc   ‘coming soon!

 

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Echoes of 2015: “Keep On Moving, Don’t Stop”

In one word, how would you describe your encounter with the year 2015?

Beyond any doubt, this is certainly my year of “Go, Get it done now”.  Even as am writing this, my head is thrown back in an exaggerated falling motion, hands and eye lashes flapping joyously with a deep amorous laughter (like an excited toddler) While at the back of my head, I envisioned my favorite Trinidadian musician (Mighty Sparrow) playing my favorite soca version of ‘Dancing Queen” as I grooved to the rhythm and yell out…Yes!!

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American Cancer Society – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk  Team: Greater Than Cancer. OCTOBER 2015

Are you wondering “what planet is she on exactly, with all these gestures of excitement? Eh, common, ‘it’s not even close to what you’re thinking, honestly… (Lol) “so-get-your-crummy-mind-out-of-the refrigerator and listen to what I’ve got to say! (smiles).

Wow! My heart is completely paraded with these un-explainable kind of feeling you get when you just finished scooping up your last spoon of ice cream, its still melting on your tongue, but because you just don’t want to quickly loose that sugar rush sensation, you drag the dissolving process. You smile as you close your eyes, allowing the powerful luscious sensation to play hide and seek in your mouth. Hmmm.

You mutter to yourself, ‘Wholly Guacamole!! ‘This is s-w-e-e-t! You are licking the escaped creamy patch with your tongue and just hoping everyday would be an-ice-cream day, Yeah, it feels good right? Exactly! That’s the cloud I am on.

So, I bet everyone DID something spectacular and different this 2015? Something crazy but excitingly abstract? Something out of the norm, yet breathtakingly unique? Something unusual but rewarding? Believe me, every one of us DID something peculiar compared to 2014. Whether Commendable, Confusing or Complicated. Something did happened that has shifted our mindset! It’s called the Go, Get it done dictum!

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RCCG LSMC Total Woman Conference – April 2015

For me, I couldn’t have ended 2015 well without thanking God for all the beautiful spaces and platform of opportunities that were created for me! From the initiation and launching of the NGOs to the acceptance into doctoral school!

The powerful ministration at the Total Woman Conference, my wonderful superb sisters-united power team! The eye opener at the much awaited residency program in AZ! The long summer nights at the beach with family! The crab feast at the Inner harbor, the once in a lifetime impact and blessings received from Kenya during the QEG Summit!

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Queen Esther Generation Summit in Kenya. JUNE- JULY 2015

The joy of embracing new dreams and walking away from past distractions, standing tall to establish self in career! The “shut-the-front-door” kind of feelings you get when you decide to stand tall, no matter what! The mind-blowing and oh-so-humble experience of connecting with relevant links  in Nigeria, the magnitude of the support system.

OMG! My beautiful team members in Lagos still expanding, making headlines and treading on a just cause for humanity! PRICELESS.  Oh! What a night! @ Etim Inyang Crescent, V/Island with WAZOBIA Naija FM Spectacular midnight host of Love Clinic, Kbabalovedoctor. Awesome!

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WAZOBIA FM Lagos, Love Clinic Host, KBABALOVEDOCTOR. OCT 2015

 

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“My Life after Cancer” Interview with 60 Minutes TV, Lagos. Oct 2015.

Aha! The courageous families in whose

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Autism Awareness In Nigeria – Interview with TREK MAG. in Lagos. Sept 2015

presence, participation and position completed my GO GET IT DONE project in Nigeria. My first humanitarian award team, Thank you! For every support system unintentionally not mentioned. Thank you.Literally, this is for everyone who’s touched my heart in 2015, either paraded it, nursed it, comforted it, cared for it, scribbled on it or skipped it or even attempted to torture it! Thank you.

 

My Greater Than Cancer team in the US! Thank you for your support and your genuine love, for dragging yourselves out to walk with me that very cold Saturday morning in Oct! You guys rock and made a survivor feel so special to be alive. Love you all for real!

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Team: Greater Than Cancer, USA

I am grateful for new friendships defined, old ones restored and damaging ones put aside for remission. For all the projects left hanging but never forgotten, the best is yet to come.

Finally, let’s search our conscience in the remaining hours, ‘what walk awayhas 2015 done for you, lately? What is that beautiful memory you want to frame and adorn with praises? Or what’s that situation that looks like progress in the making but really behind closed doors, brings you to tears? What’s that addiction or craving you are still abhorring? What’s that one word you’ve been dreading to say? ‘Afraid of going into 2016? What’s that one brutal feeling of rejection, emptiness, hopelessness and depression you’d rather bury with 2015? Marital issues? Complicated relationships? Estranged Family members? Mr. Right still hiding? Health problems? Kids acting up? Conception not cooperating? Loved ones departure? ‘Got baggage? Got issues? ‘Got trust problem? ‘Got heart break? ‘Got love to give? Aha! ‘Got Christ? You do? ‘Then you already ‘Got this! 🙂

This is the best time to get up and get it done. Whatever it is that’s holding you back from your aspiration, ‘deal with it now. This is not even about making resolutions. This is more of a period of revelation.

I am hoping someone reading this will tap into that realm too. Set up inward realistic goals, and let your passion for success be your drive for the New Year. ‘Cos, that’s what am doing. Thank y’all for a rewarding 2015!  See you in a ‘Doing IT RIGHT 2016! by God’s grace.

Yours in HOPE as I share “Keep On Moving” by Soul II Soul.

Yinka.

 

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