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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Opposite of Yesterday's Post

Wow! Yesterday morning I unloaded my disappointment and anger in the form of my blog post and while it proved to be a long day the ending was the polar opposite to yesterday's post.

Yesterday morning was early and after writing my article I got to the hotel early and I struggled to stay awake. I have not been that tired since I was in Latvia in 2008 and I truly could've crawled underneath our table and taken a nap. Among better judgment I decided not to do this, but boy oh boy was it tempting!

I didn't hear any horror stories today at the Parents as Teachers conference and actually heard some great stories of people taking the initiative to bring about change in their area and to increase awareness. I love hearing these stories!

My day did not end at the conference. Once it was over I headed home for a quick layover as I prepared to come to Palmyra for a presentation. I decided to grab my toothbrush just in case I didn't make it home because I still was falling asleep standing up and it was scheduled to be a doubleheader presentation with parents first and police second.

The drive was pleasant and I didn't fall asleep so it was a win win. Finding the hall it was in though proved to be a challenge. My GPS system had me going all throughout Palmyra except to where I actually needed to go. As the minutes ticked by and 6 came closer and closer I called my dad to have him look it up. The internet proved to me just as confused and after he made a couple phone calls to local offices I made it to my destination. I only mention this because I am sure, for one reason or another, that my GPS tries to get me lost.

I walked into the American Legion hall not knowing what to expect in terms of how many people were there and was instantly shocked as there was at least 30 people at 5:45. Also, there was a reporter from WGEM who was interviewing the mother who set this presentation up. Instantly this presentation had an urgency about it, as if the frustration from yesterday was going to be replaced by this.

I was all about business and started to set up my computer for the PowerPoint when I was asked to be interviewed. This was new territory for me and I walked over as calm as could be yet I was nervous as I could be. I had the thought, "Who am I to be interviewed?" but that disappeared as the microphone was put in my direction. What I thought was going to be a painful experience turned out to be rather enjoyable.

As people continued to pour into the hall I was amazed at how many officers were there. It was only around 10, but their presentation was going to be after the parents. I give two different presentations and while they may share some of the same stories the material is quite different, but this was good as it can't be said enough how great it is that officers want this information. Of course they do need it, but this showed that they wanted it.

By the time I started the audience was somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 to 100 people. I was expecting 20-30 so this was amazing.

My presentations came and went and I started processing everything that I had heard through the night and I remembered that TouchPoint didn't 100% set this up as I remembered that a parent set this up. Things take a while before I comprehend what this means and I didn't truly appreciate this until I started driving away from the building.

Yesterday I complained about people denying the spectrum and today I was introduced to a parent who has nothing vested in this except being a parent that is trying raise awareness. This is what we need more of! This is how it starts! I said yesterday that are numbers are growing and our voices are growing and less than 15 hours after writing that I see it in person. When someone is dedicated to something people respond and the audience last night seemed to notice just how dedicated Sally White (the parent) is.

I wanted to drive all the way home last night (about 2 1/4 hours) but after getting ten miles from the Legion building I knew that the end result of me driving would be a crash of some sort so I stopped. I checked in and got to my room and turned on the television to WGEM. I thought the story they did would be in the 20th minute, if played at all, but of all things it was the top story! The lead!

My air time was minimal, but a soundbite was used and when I was on the screen I did not recognize myself at all. It was truly surreal as I have never been on the news before and I instantly became critical of my movements and voice and remembered why I have never viewed any of my video blogs.

Besides critiquing my news experience I was elated that this event got so much airtime. The event was mentioned, the passion of Sally was evident, and TouchPoint too got plenty of mention along with the TouchPoint website.

I feel much more at ease today as I felt as if I did something. Those stories troubled yesterday, but last night I was helping spread the word to parents, teachers, and officers. This may have been only one event, but if more and more people out there stand up and start working towards bringing about awareness we will get to the day when yesterday's article will be a part of history instead of something that still happens. I hope that day comes soon!

If you would like to read the online news story about last night it can be read at http://www.wgem.com/Global/story.asp?S=13475160

3 comments:

  1. CONGRATULATIONS Aaron. Your first TV interview! Wish I could have seen it. You are changing lives one at a time and that will change the world.
    Dad

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  2. Hi Aaron - thank you so much for coming to Palmyra last night. My husband and I attended along with our 15 year old who happens to have Asperger’s. He was the one that thought maybe some day he could sell your autographed book for $500 :O) Maybe you remember him… He hopes so. You made quite the impression on him and us as well.
    We had the privilege to hear you at the World Autism/Asperger's Conference and I have to say this was even better! We were the first family that brought this diagnosis to Palmyra Schools 10 years ago. They had never heard of it and reminded us often they didn't believe my son had autism. Julian was eventually homeschooled from 7-9 grade; recently starting back at the high school. We have discovered some wonderful teachers at the high school – I am truly thankful. I still hear he’ll outgrow it… I like to think he’s just growing into it and learning better coping mechanisms.
    I can't say THANK YOU enough for having the courage and using your strengths to reach out to communities and educate. You have a gift for sharing and explaining life as you know it ~ Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    And to Aaron's Dad – you must be so proud of him. I was.
    Here's a link to the WGEM website so your Dad can see the video. Hope it works!
    http://www.wgem.com/Global/story.asp?S=13475160


    Christina

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  3. Parents play an important role in autism awareness. They also can play a role in facilitating success for their children in school- by getting involved in PTA, school volunteer, etc. That said, eventually they have to pass the torches to their children with autism. All in all, parents will play vital roles throughout the child's life and eventually be mentors for their children to advocate for themselves.

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