RSS

Tag Archives: autism

Kodi Shines! by Folarin Lawrence

So, I watched America’s Got Talent #AGT last night with my kids and witnessed a spectacular triumph with Kodi Lee emerging as the Champion.

My kids, 15+, 13+ and 8 at first were not as thrilled as they were rooting for Detroit Youth Choir, since we are now Michiganders, #PureMichigan! so I got my thinking cap on and did my best ‘Yinka-take’ on the issue.

utweMqcIRtOcwE60AFX

Kodi is blind and has Autism Spectrum Disorder. When it was discovered that he loved music at an early stage, that became the one positive coping strategy He maintained against living in this world where a child is ‘boxed-in‘ because of their ‘disability“.

But He was still able to steal the hearts of viewers and voters alike with his silky voice and renditions of classic ballads.

According to his mother,  “We found out that he loved music really early on. He listened and his eyes just went huge, and he started singing, that’s when I was in tears. I realized he’s an entertainer. Through music and performing, he was able to withstand living in this world because when you have autism, it’s really hard to do what everybody else does. It actually has saved his life playing music.”

Ordinarily, He is like a little kid and his affect is typical of someone on the spectrum; but when he gets behind the keys and opens his mouth; It’s like, you have been blessed with the presence of an angel.

There is no doubt in my mind that this young man is not just “special(as the generality of people want to label him) but divinely gifted.

It is also evident in the support of his family and his interaction with his Mom, siblings and Dad. It is obvious that they have spent countless hours working on his “strengths” and his love for music, giving him the courage to go out there and not just thrive but also shine brighter than anyone else.

Each and every child with special needs or not, has been endowed and divinely blessed with unique gifts! ‘and that’s what makes us all SPECIAL.

The high point of the night for me was after he had been announced as the winner and was trying to celebrate and his mother took his stick from him so he can have a happy “tantrum” jumping as high as he dared and clapping with a huge smile on his face.

I challenge parents today to observe closely and find that spark that lights up their child’s imagination and brings them joy of accomplishment, believe me it might be the most mundane task, but when you find it, celebrate it with them every time they work hard or feel faint about it and enjoy watching them blossom.

God’s Peace,

Kevin Folarin Lawrence – is an active member of Man Voice@DCN and “My Child Thrives” – by DCN,  a Developmental Care Network Support Group on What’s App & FACEBOOK for families and caretakers of children on the spectrum/disabilities. He can be reached at kevin@dcnmail.org

Logo Transparency

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A light for her pathway – Autism Journey

 

Val 1

As the month of April comes to a close, many have spent the month bringing
awareness to the many faces of Autism. As any parent or family member who has
a child on the Autism Spectrum knows, this life is exactly that:

‘A Lifelong Experience’

I am blessed with two sons, both on the Autism Spectrum.

Now that they are grown, Ages 21 and 22, I can reflect on the many moments, early on before diagnosis, when I was full of doubt and confusion, thinking I was a terrible mom and simply did not know how to raise children.

What I didn’t realize was that I was being prepared for a life of adventure, smiles and small victories that would be major accomplishments in my eyes. No matter what, we are still parents. Parents of children that have so much potential and as their parents, we must remember that we are their best advocate.

We are also the ones to teach our children the life skills they need to survive in this unforgiving world.

As my sons have grown older, I have realized how much more they need assistance in everyday social situations. When children are younger, supports tend to be everywhere, but as they grow older, those supports seem to be less and less, especially if the child functions high enough to go to college or have a job.

Teach your child to be a good citizen that can function in society to the best of his/her ability. If your child is very young right now, this may seem a lifetime away however, before you know it, you will be looking at each other saying “Now What?

Keep in mind, while this may seem overwhelming at times, remember there are others who have been in your shoes and you CAN do this, and so can our kids!

Never be afraid to reach out to those in similar situations for support.

Together, with prayers, patience, community support and love, we can nurture young minds and raise resilient adults when we focus on their potentials now.

Written by: Valerie Lawson.

 

*For the past 3 years, Valerie and I usually meet one Friday in a month after clinicals at different Panera Bread locations to brain storm on assessment & treatment planning for children with disabilities, pray about challenging caseloads, talk- deep about life, laugh out loud & silly like teenagers over bowls of clam chowder as we continue to implement developmental disabilities initiatives. I met Valerie in class during  my practicum/residency program Fall of 2016).

Valerie is a Behavior Consultant with DCN Autism Clinic in Michigan, a caring and devoted mother to two young men with Autism, ages 21 and 22 years old.

Yours in HOPE!

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Taking self-inventory before Crossing Over.

 

ohio 2

 

“Sometimes only when bonds are tested, do we understand their strength, and when ties that seem to endure for a lifetime suddenly become frayed or grazed by fate, do we begin to appreciate loved ones.

We can choose to walk away and pretend that it’s all gone or forgotten, and that our pain will soon pass eventually, but its only when we begin to undo or un-learn the old ways when  approaching a new year; only then can we begin to step into our destiny”

“To unDo what’s Done” a Thinking-Corner Memoir by Yinka.

 

The unexpected death of her husband sends a woman, Agnes Browne and her seven children, ages 2-14, into emotional turmoil and financial crisis in 1967 Dublin.

She is forced to borrow money from a ruthless loan shark to make ends meet. She faces her dismal existence by selling fruits and vegetables at an open air market where she spends time with a best friend, Marion who gives her encouragement.

Wishing to escape her existence, if only for a short time, she dreams of finding enough money to attend an upcoming Tom Jones concert. She realizes her dream by accepting her first date with a French baker.Agnes_Browne_FilmPoster

Her kids pool their money so she can buy a new dress. Of course, eventually the family has to face the loan shark, her best friend passes away due to a terminal illness and…‘Go see the full movie!

(By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35036635)

In retrospect, like the above synopsis of the movie Agnes Browne, (which is by the way one of my favorite movies about Hope). We are all evidently hale and hearty witnessing today, the very last day of 2018, or for some, it’s already 2019 in their minds!

Looking back through the past months, I believe we all can boast of at least one single moment of euphoria! eventually replaced by a series of eye-opening experiences.

Some of us have slipped back into old patterns, the residual of thoughts rooted in joy, denial or self-assertiveness. We have turned a new page and laughed over our own comical situations, we have wept over inevitable losses! ‘casually strolled down life’s aisles with huge expectations; witnessed the cry of a baby at delivery while apprehensive at the thought of another child in distress.

We have reached into out wallets or bank accounts and amazed at the bountiful or perplexed at its emptiness.

Those with brewing millennial have been drawn to accept DanTDM as part of their household, British accent, blue hair and all! While also learning their dance moves, Phew! #Minecraft #Roblox #Fortnight #Scissors #Shoop

We have waited in the doctor’s office as the message of a diagnosis and prognosis goes in through the left ear and quietly exits through the right without making no darn sense…’Anyone? ‘Someone?

dantdm 3With pride, we have worn our graduation gowns as we were called upon to be given a new title of our dreams and had glowed in the beauty of our academic achievements! for others, doors of opportunities to finish up that much-delayed school-degree has been opened up, with an empowered energy  of accomplishment!

While some of us have made fruitful decisions on healthy-lifestyles commitment,  discarding toxic relationships, forgiving past hurts or deeds as we finally let go of unhealthy platforms or compromising negative vibes!

We have visited graveyards sober but grateful just to change the address of loved ones. For some, they’ve found themselves falling in love again, patched up that leaking relationship with hope, made new commitment goals and crazy enough to own it! for others,  we have been so moved by a song sang by the choir that eventually  led us to the altar in church, selflessly throwing it all at God’s mercy!

Oh! like the movie, ‘Agnes Browne’ just thinking about tomorrow was usually so exasperating…always far fetched…totally blurry, but with hope, she carried her dreams through it all, focused more on her 7 kids with an in-built perception on staying in-tune with crossing over into God’s promises, for every new year.

destiny-crossover

As far back as I can recall, while growing up, end of year celebration has always been a huge thing in my household, especially within the Brazilian quarters of Lagos Island.

Crossing over into a new year in the 70s and 80s was almost similar to waiting to the end of year to open your birthday gift and contemplating on how to tweak  our lifestyles for the upcoming year ahead.

It’s like an entitled holiday set apart for taking inventory of our past deeds! Mental-Report card session!

A few bottles of chilled Coca cola, Fanta, Guinness bottles and soothing highlife music playing in the background was all that’s required to start a crossover street party.

You get to see a magnitude of crowd in such a rush to join others at the water front at Marina to watch fireworks displayed by the naval docks.

Lagos was safe and fun then!

Blasts of Trumpets signal welcome messages announcing to the overflowing crowd hanging at the brim of all churches’ doors, with a dire-attitude of “12 midnight must find me within the 4-walls of a church” and then a sudden and quick dismissal once the church bells stop chiming in the New Year.

Crossover mode uploading…

It sounds so simple? strolling into the new year, doesn’t it? It isn’t. Because  by the time we think we have it all figured out, God arranges a reality check to remind us that without him approaching that new year with us ; we will fail.

You see people with diverse ethnicity, religious or political beliefs, sincerely excited to see another year – together! Hugging and lavishing good wishes, prayers are offered without a fee to passerby, blessings are spelt out like it’s on a bargain! forgetting any previous debt owned, anger or past hurts. Everyone is surprisingly happy for each other, Just-like-that?

As a kid, I never understood why so many people were always saying things like “Oh, what a year’ or in my mother’s Delta dialect “Oh, how the ground has swallowed good people” or” may we never return to our vomit”

I always wondered….’hypothetically, will things be different or better as every new year comes? Will burden or pain be repeated in the new year? those we lost will certainly not be replaced, our mischiefs, mistakes, misleading thoughts will still be carried over with us if we don’t make a conscious effort to drop them now…’before crossing over.

Those things that made us uncomfortable in 2018, will we see them again? when do we get to come to the realization that knowing God’s plan for our life does not guarantee success, unless we get up and execute the plan?

#EverythingMustGoForNewThingsToGrow

washed awayFailure in never final. It is inevitable. We are frail Human beings. We are mortals.

With 2018 running behind us, and so much laid out for us in 2019, will we always be in compliance, even after a defeat?

Decades ago, my mom would gather the family together after returning from church on new year’s eve and begin her own prayer sessions as she craftily picks on whoever has sacrificially won the black-sheep personality award for the family during the year!

Ah! her long prayer points were always intentionally and fervently directed towards interceding for the redemption of ‘the black sheep’s soul for freedom, well before the new year kicks in!

Mom’s logic. No debate. Just Obey.

I tried it once with my “Millennials” at home and they had a decent conversation with me on how I could have just addressed the black-sheep prayer point thingy one on one and not wait for end-of-year-dramatic-prayer-session like Grandma Virginia#IConcur

Today, many of us reading this have significantly re-constructed our approach towards life since Jan 2018, probably done some deep thinking and mind cleansing to move forward…

I hope someone reading this will understand that our greatest opportunities to grow are often packed in the ruins of failure.

Maybe today during crossover is a good time to stop, go back to the list, and review those life lessons we have learned, checking to see where we really are in our walk with God.

 

For me, as dreadful as the term cancer is, I have lost loved ones to it in 2018! while a huge percentage are still diagnosed and on treatment!

As intimidating as the term Autism is, many kids with disabilities were diagnosed in 2018 leaving many families with heart aches, depression, denial and loneliness!

How are we embracing awareness or supporting those still struggling with life?  Isnt it part of the recipe for cross over success stories? The lives we have touched and still touching… The joy we bring to others… The unconditional love showered to others..

To undo some of what’s  already done wrong earlier in the year, isn’t it time to wake up from our lofty  ideas or dreams we’ve always been talking about?  Can we for once approach crossover with a mindset of tweaking our dreams or plans into a project?

Can we move on from procrastinating to expediting, and then declaring it? Review and Scrutinize some traditional modes of crossing over and do that which sets us apart from the crowd? #BeANewYou

dantdm 2Whatever your story was in 2018… You made it here already! Give yourself a-high-five right now if nobody will! Its time to open our windows of opportunity to accept the new viewpoint of What could be, What we can be, and finally shut out the negative humming voices within us.  It is time to #MuteNegativity.

Are our trash cans still overflowing from our self inventory taking?

T-O-S-S  Y-O-U-R  T-R-A-S-H  N-OW!

Today, as we move and meander  in the mundane, I am hoping someone reading this will take a trip down memory lane to see what can be undone or done before crossing over, and accept that there is indeed a fresh compelling awe for This perfect love that breathes and speaks beauty to all our brokenness in 2018!  ‘which will also strengthen and propel us as we cling to the beautiful promises of truly crossing over for a purpose, with a plan.

And like Agnes Browne, to turn those dreams into a big deal and do something worth remembering or comforting, as we begin to count down to the few hours left… ‘May God help us all!

Farewell to 2018, with all its lessons, loss, laughter, pain and gain.  See you in 2019.

Yours in HOPE as I share Travis Greene’s CROSSOVER.

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When you meet Julia, you SEE AMAZING!

julia 2

When you wake up to a new day, what do you see? Well, apart from blurry eyes and snotty noses due to sleep deprivation, congestion or insomnia, what makes you just, ‘want to keep waking up?

If you are in love, or still thinking of it, I guess you’re probably saying…’duh, my lover of course! If you are missing someone, you’d probably say…’dang! Oh precious beloved, showeth thy face!! Where hath thou!! (in your magical imaginary soberness).

And if you are like the group of people I meet weekly for support coordination therapy…’Aha! Slowly and gently rise from your slumber, squeeze your pillow and whisper into the hollow of your palm (oh please ignore your distinctive breath) and say slowly, ‘Today, I will do better, because I will See Amazing”

All said and done? Yes? C-o-n-g-r-a-t-u-l-a-t-i-o-n-s! You made it into another day! I am also cheering you on….’as I subconsciously cheer myself on too!

So, a couple of days ago, yours truly turned 45! Like…’yeah, the big 45! And I wasn’t sure if it was worth celebrating or not. Thank God for caring people around me who raised the roof and made it rock! #NoviUnconditionalLove

The much-younger me would have jumped on the next train to NYC to be consumed in the awesomeness of the city, sometimes, it’s just that train ride that does it for me, a more one-on-one time alone with me, myself and I! Just meditating  (I bet you can’t keep a city girl out of the city for long, how I missed my early years growing up amidst the hustle and bustle of a typical Lagos city amusement!) or as my parents have always dreaded all those years…’Oh, she’s started another birthday party in our living room without informing us! Phew!

But not this year… ‘This time around, it was all about Julia. The new #See Amazing kid on Sesame Street! Have you seen her? All cute and so peculiar…’representing every child with special needs…more so, Autism!

Why now? I’d ask myself over and over again. Yeah, why now Yinka?

Awareness. Acceptance. Because just as I celebrated my birthday, my childhood bosom friend and neighbor also turned 45! And happened to be the Julia we all never knew or could understand….’45 years ago!

Did we (children) know she had a unique personality? Or did we just assume she’d always been a difficult child with mental illness? Who knew about the features of a child on the spectrum then? I bet none of us did. All I knew was that I eventually got used to her mannerism as her parents were my God-parents who mentored me all through my sacramental classes at Holy Cross Cathedral then.

So, please meet Cecelia, 45, a daughter, a sister, a friend and childhood neighbor of over 40 years with autism, a rare one that survived the stare, stigma and slur but prevailed with the support of her loving and caring family in a society that condemns such ailment and is so quick to label, castigate and if possible ostracize.

Or perhaps, you also know a Cecelia?  a Julia of my generation, that stood out without condemnation even as ignorant as we were then of her uniqueness, still managed to join in the street play, still managed to attend mass every 6am with her parents, still managed to attend St. Mary’s convent, managed to get her feelings out even when she’s oppressed by lack of consistent vocalization techniques.

julia 3

Today, as I watch sesame street and I see how the world is embracing the new character of Julia – the chosen voice from the autism community, my eyes well up with tears and my heart is unable to contain the joy and excitement of knowing that finally…’every child deserves a place of acknowledgment and acceptance, and not one of isolation or disparity!  Thank you Leslie Kimmelman for the digital characterization and Stacey Gordon for the performance. Thank you autism community for starting the discussion.

When you awake to a new day, what will you be thankful for? I am grateful to God for allowing me to see amazing in every child I encounter. Tantrums and all, I still see amazing and acceptance first.

Yours in HOPE as I share Sesame Street’s ‘Meet Julia’

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An awareness worth accepting: Embracing AUTISM!

An awareness worth accepting: Embracing AUTISM!

autism 1

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.

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How aware are you about ‘AUTISM’?

aut7

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!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Branding our optimism: Standing up straight and tall. PART ONE.

When I was a teenager, my mother used to threaten me whenever I hunched over at the dining table. “If you don’t sit up and finish up your food,’ she’d say, ‘I’m going to have to buy you a therapeutic back brace from Bola Chemist.” Honestly, I don’t even know if Bola Chemist make or sell back braces back then, but it sounded like a pretty good threat to me. Just the thought of passing through St Nicholas hospital or General Hospital all next door to Bola Chemist gave me nightmares! So I decided to cultivate a habit of always sitting up straight even when my mother’s prying eyes are not following me. And it worked out well, even until now as I’ve had to deal with some of life’s deep slumping experiences. And still ongoing.lag 3

So, I recently just returned from one of the greatest and fulfilling trips of my life! I was very blessed for encountering such beautiful and dedicated people back in Nigeria who deeply shared my passion for creating and making success stories happen. Not because the society requests it for status quo or cheap publicity, but because their love for humanity and community service is genuine.

wazobia 1

Talking about CANCER AWARENESS.

I’d learnt that carrying a banner to display a passion is not the same as connecting one-on-one with real life people, dealing with real life issues. Sometimes, creating a platform of awareness for our passion or a desired cause goes beyond media or social network. Connecting with the soul-carrier is deeper.

For the great opportunity given to me by Samson @TREK magazine who met with me at my parent’s house on the Island for the one-on-one interview on AUTISM AWARENESS IN NIGERIA and my proposal on establishing a support group/Autism school in Lagos. I am very grateful! For connecting me with various NGOs and Healthcare Administrators in Lagos. Thank you.

wa 5

ON AIR with KBABALOVEDOCTOR of WAZOBIA 95.1 FM, Lagos.

wa 4

With K Baba, Host of WAZOBIA FM’S “Love Clinic”

My midnight ON AIR radio show host connector! Ogunleke Kayode Clement aka. KBABA THE LOVE DOCTOR of  WAZOBIA 95.1 FM on Etim Inyang Street, V/Island. DR. Love! I hail! I salute! I am so thrilled and still excited about our ON AIR show. Thanks for giving me the platform to discuss more on #Moving Forward With Yinka! For giving me the opportunity to be your special guest on ‘Love Issues – relationships and marriage segments. Thanks for allowing me to be part of the panel for taking on calls from concerned and confused callers who needed help pertaining their love lives! Thanks for embracing my optimism on CANCER AWARENESS in Nigeria and allowing me to talk ON AIR to numerous wa 6listeners all over the world about my own personal journey as a 5year-cancer survivor. Oops! (Thanks for bringing out the best Pidgin English in me! Lol). You are truly appreciated. God bless you plenty my broda! – “As u don do for me dis good so! Na only better go dey come ya way o! (Lol).

60min tv

Autism Awareness Interview with Olori 60 Minutes TV in Lagos.

Special thanks to my team at 60 Minutes TV, Lagos! Olori 60 minutes! My PA and favorite niece! My personal graphics and studio manager, LeeGrapher! And everyone at 60 minutes TV. For the interview on Autism Awareness and support group in Nigeria, for connecting me with all the different families dealing with the challenges that come with caring for a special needs child in Nigeria. For every family who showed up and have embracedlag 4 the need for Autism awareness, and were more interested in finding a common ground for intervention! Because of you all, my journey to Lagos was successful! I pray that God continues to strengthen you all, emotionally and physically.

sagamu gals

FGGC Sagamu class of 1990 reunion @ Lekki.

A girly-shout out to my Almer Mater, Federal Government Girls College Sagamu class of ’90, for organizing a reunion luncheon at Lekki on OCT 1st! Love you all great shagamites! So good to see/hear from you all. Special thanks to Oby Ejekam-Ekekwe for creating what’s App Class of 1990 “P” Girls chat room! Babes, even after 25 years! You all still look smashing in your 40s! God’s hands’ is surely on us.

So, if you are reading this, ask yourself, what does it take to stand up straight and tall in your life? What is it that hinders my growth? Am I failing to thrive? Do I know my purpose for life? How can I package my idealism or confidence? Talk to me! Hmmm…

To be continued next week…

Yours in HOPE

Yinka.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

April is “AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH” (why every WOMAN should attend the upcoming AUTISM support workshop) Part Two.

autism mainWhat I noticed as I walked in was a toddler laughing and spinning around with a stuffed animal at the end of her outstretched arms. She had that kind of pure laughter that made me smile just hearing it. I was ushered in by her tensed parents as I pulled out my hands for a firm handshake, something I usually do to help calm my client’s family, especially when they’ve just received a diagnosis of Autism for their child.

Their beautifully decorated living room had every wall covered with pictures of Alana from child-birth; some were craftily captured in black and white prints, with focal point on the child’s contagious laughter. I sat back and observed my little client for a while. I’m not sure she even noticed me.

Halfway through my pile of paperwork (Developmental Behavioral Assessment/M-CHAT/ASQ) with her parents, I heard the girl shout, “Elmo! ‘Love Elmo!” her speech was stifled and seemed mumbled, under water-like.

“Oh hi. ‘I love Elmo too! I whispered in exaggerated excitement, “Do you want to play with me?” I went down on the floor and sat next to her, not looking into her eyes or invading her personal space, just showing her my folder with the picture of Elmo in it! She didn’t answer or object, but gently touched the folder and looked away! That was a go-ahead-show me sign from her! Yes!! (I was totally thrilled).

A relationship was built! trust was established! sensory impact was initiated, boundaries were set! and the tears began to fall from her mother, as I smiled up at my newly acquired friend. That was 2 years ago… Alana, the 80th kid with Autism Spectrum Disorder on my caseload was as equally special and beautiful to me as all the other children put together in my entire life time!

Today, she’s progressing well and is a very healthy five-year-old, last time I checked with her mom, “oh, she sings “let it go” in her own very special way! …well, literally! And also receiving support through Autism Speaks Group. Awesome!

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and Light It Up Blue! It is celebrated each year and adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. Autism is one of only three health issues to be recognized with its own day by the United Nations to increase world knowledge of autism and impart information about the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention.

So, if you noticed a child has lack of or delay in spoken language, repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects, consistent rocking), Little or no eye contact, Lack of interest in peer relationships, Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play or Persistent fixation on parts of objects.. Chances are you know an Autistic child or have encountered one somewhere. It’s not easy knowing what to do or how to respond to the quirks (or outbursts) of an autistic child. Public tantrums are par for the course with these children.

How many of us have seen a kid have an outburst while their embarrassed parents try to get control? Well, ratchet that up a couple of notches for autistic kids. Their tantrums can get rough. Don’t …gape and stare at the child and parent, saying “Can you believe that kid?” faces. And especially don’t make comments or tell the parent, “Can’t you control your kid?” Just go about your business. Or if you catch the eye of the child’s caregiver, just flash a smile. Or offer to help! It can work wonders.

Honestly, you haven’t met anyone so unique and exceptional until you encounter a special need child. Their love is pure, genuine and transparent. You see through their little eyes rays of hope and unquestionable bewilderment. What you see is what you get!

So, instead of staring at the “un-believable” sight or scene, why not give emotional support. Be that imaginary horse to be ridden on or be their knight in shining armor who sings of their praises, it helps build their confidence. Reach out this month – to a special need child and family.

***(Dedicated to all my 100 Autistic caseload children and their families from over 11 years! – ‘I am (still) Lighting it BLUE for you this month and (still) believing God for a miracle!) Love you all for real!

***You can learn more about giving support to a special needs child/family at the upcoming:

*** RCCG LSMC 2015 TOTAL WOMEN CONFERENCE RETREAT WORKSHOP:

Help! I Can’t Do It Alone! on Saturday, April 25th 2015. Please visit http://www.rccglivingspring.org for more information.

Yours in HOPE…

Yinka.

—————————————————————

FYI:

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome”

https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why every WOMAN needs a yearly Retreat Workshop! (In Marriage, Sexuality, Relationship, Family & Total Well Being) Part One.

twc front

“Is he capable of loving me?”  It was a question I’d wondered many times, as I mulled over his countless reasons for being busy, his abusive tendencies, and this disease that makes him self-centered and manipulative. Maybe he’s loving me the best way he can, maybe I just need to wait for him to propose? But is it enough for me to keep waiting for him? And for how long? 

“He never hit me, never yelled, never called me hurtful names and yet the vacuum was there, hidden beneath my excuses and justifications for hanging in this marriage. Sometimes it takes an objective, outside perspective to shine a light on a truth I didn’t want to see. I wanted simple love-making! He wants just raw sex! How do I let him know without seeming desperate or sex-starved?  

“A few months after my beautiful son Sammy was born, I began to wonder why he hadn’t started laughing or cooing yet. My family and friends tried to calm my fears. They said nothing was wrong. But I knew there was a bigger reason. After series of developmental evaluation and assessment, the diagnosis came…Sammy is Autistic! ’And suddenly, my world began to crumble. How do I deal with this?

“I would really love to do more in God’s house…but I feel trapped in my mindset with negativity and all the drama and politics that comes with it and I get distracted and run away from my God-given purpose… I know God’s calling me to do more…but, what do I do?”

 “When you see me on the outside, I glow and dazzle like a beautiful-stained glass! But on the inside am totally not myself. I feel overwhelmed and empty, Am still waiting patiently on God for his beautiful promises! But sometimes too… I need HELP! I can’t do it alone. What do I do?

 ‘I’ve historically been most attracted to damaged, baggage-carrying men! My past is sour, yet juicy when am entangled with what the future has to offer. But how can I move forward in a relationship where there’s no heat, no fireworks?  Am still asking myself, why I’m attracted to certain men?

 So, if you are reading this and would like to add more significance or meaning to your life as a WOMAN! You are most definitely invited to this workshop! Hosted by www.rccglivingspring.org in Philadelphia, PA.

If you have navigated a major life transition? Battling a personal emotional dilemma? Needing to make an impact by touching someone? Needing a Christian support group that can help you open up and talk deep WOMEN’s talk! Ahhhhh! You REALLY! REALLY!! don’t want to miss this: WOMEN ONLY RETREAT/WORKSHOP/SUMMIT!

This women’s workshop is a delightful journey in self-exploration with an eye towards finding pragmatic steps to life changes.

The workshop includes: facilitated group-coaching sessions; exploration and heart-to-heart discussion to help build up your marriage, make you appreciate your current relationship, clarify priorities in dating, connect to a support group that addresses your special-needs child or family member, create dreams for a balanced life , and help set goals to develop personalized action plan; and best of all…

Be empowered with a Beautiful group of WOMEN who love God deeply and are willing to SINCERELY hold your hands, look into your eyes and tell you…”Sister! You are only a traveler on this life’s journey, your destination is guided and directed only by God! You Can Do It! Let it out! Let it go! Let God In! Because you are a woman…’You are truly Beautiful Inside Out!

SAVE THE DATE!!

April 22 – April 25, 2015. It promises to be an inspiring and empowering week with anointed speakers:

 *** Pastor Marcos Mercado, Praise Philadelphia 103.9 Radio host of Marriage Beyond the Vows.

***Ministering: Pastor (Dr.) Esther Obasi-Ike (RCCG Solution Center, Kenya, Africa),

***Rev. Sade Fasedemi (Waterfalls Ministries, South Africa).

 ***Registration can be completed at http://rccglivingspring.org/total-woman-conference/

 ***Early Bird Registration is $120, which ends March 27, 2015.

***Regular Registration is $150, from March 28 to April 21, 2015.

***Full Time Student Early Bird Registration is $50, which ends March 19, 2015.

 

Yours in HOPE…

Yinka Lawrence ( Workshop Moderator for Beautiful Wife/Woman )

To Be Continued…

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: