Sunday, April 10, 2011

Autism Awareness Giveaway Hop

April is Autism Awareness Month, and four lovely bloggers--Lindsey @ Just Another Book Addict, Heather @ Fire and Ice Photo, Pixie @ Page Turners, and Kathy @ I Am a Reader, Not a Writer--are sponsoring an Autism Awareness Giveaway Hop to help spread the word about Autism.

Before I announce my giveaway prizes, I asked a dear friend of mine, Danyelle Ferguson, to share a guest blog with my readers. Danyelle is the mother of an autistic child and the author of a brand new book about special needs children, and has some wonderful, oh-so-simple advice for us! Please read on:

"Be Aware. Be Understanding."

This is my very favorite quote. Autism awareness is so important to me, other parents, and individuals with autism. I have met many parents who have struggled with their kids at a park or store and received comments from people passing by about their child's lack of manners or the parent's lack of discipline. While these comments can be thought of as rude, really they are a result of 1) not being aware of the full situation, and 2) not being kind and understanding.

Even though there's a lot of publicity about autism these days, I often meet people who don't really understand what autism is. Well, guess what? I'm a parent of a child with autism and
still don't understand what autism is! Autism just isn't that simple. There's no easy definition or description because it affects each individual differently. You can't just look at someone and say, "Hey, he has autism." If you don't interact with someone who has autism on a daily basis, you will most likely miss any cues that might make you think of autism.

So how can you help if it's not easy to tell if someone has autism? Just be a good community member. The key to making parents and individuals with autism feel comfortable - no matter the circumstances - is to
be kind and understanding. 

Do you remember that rule your parents taught you about - if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all?
Live it.

If you encounter a situation where a parent and child are struggling and the groceries go flying or an adult is having a difficult time expressing what he's trying to find in a store
you feel comfortable helping, then do it.  The help could be as simple as picking up the groceries, walking beside the parent to the car, then putting the groceries in the trunk. Something so simple can make a huge impact on a weary parent, whether their child has autism, another disability, or is just a tired kid throwing a tantrum. Do you see how just being a good member of the community can help anyone and make your town a happier place to live? The difference is really just your attitude and being kind.

I challenge you today to make a change, to be more aware of those around you, and to reach out and share a simple act of kindness with just one person. Then do it again tomorrow. Make it a goal each and every day.

Danyelle Ferguson is the author of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ. She’s the mother of a son with autism and the co-founder of Friends of GIANT Steps, a non-profit that benefits an autism preschool. For more information about Danyelle, please visit her website:

I wanted to offer Danyelle's new book as my giveaway, but it's not quite available yet. (Although it is available for pre-order on Amazon.) So instead, I'm offering the winner's choice of these two books:


Loyalty's Web, by Joyce DiPastena

I'm going to make this giveaway simple. All you  have to do to enter is read Danyelle's guest post then tell me in a comment ONE THING you can do to help a parent with an autistic child. Please include which prize you would like to win and your email address so I can contact you if I draw your name. (Actually, will do the drawing.) USA entries only, please.

Deadline is April 14, midnight EST.

And after you leave your comment, see the blog hop list below to hop on to the next blog hop stop!


Tricha said...

If you don't have something nice to say don't say aanything at all.


brendajean said...

Just be aware and a good member of the community. Help if you feel comfortable and be understanding.

I'd like Loyalty's Web please.

Thanks for the hop:)


Danyelle Ferguson said...

Thank you for asking me to write a guest post today, Joyce! Have a wonderful day & Happy Autism Awareness Month!

Diana said...

Thanks for this post.
I appreciate the reminder about fussy kids in the grocery store. It's true that our first reaction may be to think less of the child and/or parent but who knows what's really going on? Perhaps the child is autistic and both the child and parent are doing the best they can and are just having a hard time. We need to not pass judgment and to change our thought patterns. We need to be kind inside and out.

I am interested in Loyalty's Web.

Maria said...

Do you remember that rule your parents taught you about - if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all? Live it.

I think this pretty much says it all. i try to live this way and teach my children to do the same. You don't always know the whole situation. So you can either try to help or just leave it be.

Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew.

DHidey said...

One thing we can do is to be kind to parents with autistic children!
also a new follower!

LuAnn said...

I have a friend whose son is autistic and I've found the most important thing you can do is LISTEN. Sometimes, these mothers just need to vent their frustration and that's what friends are for!

reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

debbie said...

Don't say anything about the child if they are having a hard time in a public place. I hated when people did that when my son was younger. I would like the book things your child wished you knew about autism.

E.A. West said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. As an autistic adult, I can say with certainty that one of the best things people can do is be patient! Stores can be overwhelming for anyone on the autism spectrum, and a little patience goes a long way.

Judy said...

Even something as simple as helping a parent load groceries into the car can make a huge difference. My kids aren't autistic and I know what a help it is so I can get them buckled...

I would love Loyalty's Web.

judywhatilivefor at gmail dot com

I also just wanted to say that my older brother is autistic and having spent my entire childhood explaining to countless people what "Autism" was, it is so refreshing now that people are trying to learn about it and understand it. I can only hope and pray that the efforts of so many to increase autism awareness will better the lives of children with autism.

Janelle said...

Be a good community member, if you feel like helping do it. If you can't think of anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
I'd like the first book: 10 Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew.
My IT co-worker's son has severe autism, hearing this dedicated father speak of his son & their family's struggles is heartbreaking.
Thank you for spreading awareness about Autism! Best wishes and thanks for a chance to win this giveaway!

Cindy Rogers said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

As a mother of a child with Autism and two NT kids, I ask that people live the axiom "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all..."

I'd love to win the 10 things book

heather at actingbalanced dot com

Devony said...

I think we just need to be aware of other people and help if we can, no matter what. And most importantly, teach your kids to treat EVERYONE with respect and kindness. Everyone, regardless of situations or capabilities, has struggles and needs to be treated with love.
I'd love to read Loyalty's Web. thanks! wilsondev(at)gmail(dot)com

Kris Summers said...

You can help bring the groceries to the car. :)

I'd love to win a copy of Loyalty's Web, by Joyce DiPastena. Thanks for supporting such a wonderful cause.

elfdrop AT gmail DOT com

Cindy Rogers said...

I have helped two families at church with children with Autism. I know it is a relief to have someone help you watch your children so you can enjoy your church meetings.

I would like Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew.

robseanmom at gmail dot com

infertilenanny said...

Be kind and understanding! I'd like to win 10 things book!

Megan said...

I loved her comment on being understanding. My son has routine meltdowns in stores and I HATE the people who give me dirty looks. It's not helping! Be understanding- you don't know what the situation is.
I'd love to win either book!!
AmethystDaydreams at zoho dot com

A (Daily) Woman said...

I think one thing you could do to help the parents with child on the spectrum is just to acknowledge understanding
I would like the 10 Things every child with autism wishes you knew.
Contact me through Google

Kaylie said...

I think the best think we can do for a parent with an autistic child is be supportive and kind to them.

I'd like Loyaltu's Web


Ramblings of a Part time Druid said...

I have an autistic cousin who is 5 and he struggles and i always try to help out when ever i can cause i know how difficult simple things can be.

i would love to read loyalty's web

jskell911 said...

Honestly, as the mom of an Aspie, I always felt I wasn't a "good enough" mom. Just be encouraging to the parents, it goes a long way! I would love to win 10 Things

Crystal said...

Be kind and understanding

I'd like to win Loyalty's Web. Thanks for spreading autism awareness and for the great giveaway!a


Linda Henderson said...

My 7 year old grandson is on the autism spectrum. The one thing I can do is be there for my daughter when she needs my help with him and give all the love and moral support that I can. I have to understand when we have to postpone plans because we don't want to upset his schedule. I have to give all I can to his siblings so they don't feel like he gets all the extra attention. I thank you for promoting autism awareness on this blog hop. I'd love to be entered for Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew.

GFC follow as seriousreader

seriousreader at live dot com

nicolesender said...

Ms. Ferguson is so right. An act of kindness and expression of understanding can make all the difference in the world to a tired and fatigued parent.

IandSsmom said...

As a parent of a child with asperger's syndrome I could just cry reading the article! My son from all outward appearances seems normal and then to try and explain day to day life and difficulties even to people who know him seemingly well is so hard because they see something different then what we get at home and he can relax and feel comfortable. Thank you for this!!
Since I've read 10 Things I would like to request the other book but I encourage anyone who has contact with a child that has autism to read 10 things it is a wonderful book!!!

Elise said...

if you dont have anything nice to say dont say anything.
caliblue7 at gmail dot com