If you were asked to make a list of qualities of a true friend, what would they be? For seven-year-old Molly-Raine Adams from Ireland, her list is short, simple and something I think we can all relate to. Molly-Raine, who has autism, was asked to make this list as part of a homework assignment, which, according to her mom, Karen, she did all by herself. Her note reads:
Someone who . . .
anbrstans (understands) me
nos I have atesm (knows I have autism)
smiles all the time
cees me comgin wen im sad (sees me coming when I’m sad)
Karen says she thinks her daughter really just wants other children to understand why she struggles with certain things and how she processes her surroundings, saying, “Mol struggles with everyday things that people take for granted. She may start screaming or lashing out at me in a shop due to sensory overload when her brain is struggling to process all the sights, sounds and smells. Because she has adult like speech people don’t realize she has special needs and assume she is just being naughty.”
We could learn a lot from Miss Molly-Raine – and, in fact, that’s exactly what she’s hoping for. When Karen asked her daughter if she would mind sharing her list online, Molly-Raine said she thought “it was a good idea because someone might read it and tell their child about autism.”
Anita Lesko and Abraham Nielson will be getting married this weekend, and they have planned something significant to mark the occasion – they’re going to have the first all-autism wedding.
Both Anita and Abraham on the spectrum, and their entire wedding party and all the participants – such as the ring bearer, harpist, cake baker, groomsman, etc.) identify as autistic. They met initially through an autism support group, which was led by Anita, and after some time they went to dinner. As Antia describes,
“We got into these big conversations about our feelings, our emotions and our loneliness issues. That was the night that we fell in love with each other,” she says of that evening in May 2014.
The wedding will take place at San Diego’s Love & Autism: A Conference with a Heart, a conference organized by Dr. Jenny Palmiotto to bring awareness to the fact that every individual deserves to be loved.
Anita said, “People on the spectrum tend to not get invited to parties or weddings or anything. I figured our wedding could give folks on the spectrum an opportunity to get to attend a wedding and be part of something like that.”
Congratulations to Anita & Abraham! You can read more about their story here.
Jackson Cook is one impressive 8-year old. He took a very brave step at the beginning of his school year at the Twin Cities German Immersion School, where he is in the third grade, by giving a speech about autism. You see, Jackson, nicknamed Jax, wanted his new class to understand why he’s easily frustrated or avoids eye contact – and why he needs extra help sometimes. So, with help from his mom, Jax wrote a heartfelt speech, which he read to his class. In it, he shared:
“Raise your hand if you know what autism is. Raise your hand if you know that I have autism. It makes some parts of my brain work really well and some parts of my brain work not very well. Doctors don’t know what makes some brains have autism and some brains not have it. I have it, but Charley doesn’t, even though he’s my twin brother.
Sometimes I need help learning things that other brains automatically know. Like my brain tells my body that it is not comfortable to look at someone in the face when they talk to me.
The autism in my brain is something that I like, and something that I don’t like, but it’s part of me, just like your brain is part of you.”
When asked about Jax’s speech, one of his classmates said, “I thought it was a good speech because it was really nice and really brave.”
We know that for every four boys diagnosed with autism, there is only one girl diagnosed. And while that ratio may imply that autism is more prevalent in boys than girls, it doesn’t mean that’s necessarily the case.
According to a new study, there are significant brain structure and behavior deviations between boys and girls touched by autism. Girls with autism often display symptoms differently—specifically, girls tend to show less repetitive behaviors, such as hand-flapping, a narrow scope of focus, or even the need for rigid routines are not as prominent.
What this means is that girls with autism could be getting overlooked, or it may make it harder for them to get the right kind of therapy. This type of study could prove extremely helpful in understanding how autism differs between the sexes, leading to better diagnostic criteria and treatment.
Prepare to be blown away by talent! Seven-year-old Jacob Velazquez, featured in this video, showcases his amazing piano skills with a medley of Taylor Swift songs, such as “Bad Blood” and “Shake It Off.”
Jacob, who has autism, gives a shout-out to Taylor at the start of the video, saying, “I’m your biggest fan and I hope you can sign this for me one day.” (holding up her album “1989”). And it looks like Jacob’s wish will come true – after sharing the video online, Taylor responded via Twitter saying, “I HAVE to give you a hug for that beautiful piano medley you did! Please come to a show on my tour and say hi to me? My treat.”