Shannon was on the Autism and Scouting Radio broadcast on November 27th and if you would like to listen to the show, here is a link for you. This radio broadcast was based on her blot that she wrote on Thursday, August 2nd.
Within a week I got an email from the cub master asking my husband and me if we would speak at the next Pack Meeting which was going to focus on Special Needs and if we could introduce Autism and Justin to the pack. What a great idea!! I really hadn’t thought of doing something like that since Justin “went” to church with these same boys—but he really didn’t stay at church when he was there so a lot of these boys might not really understand why that is hard for Justin. I told him we would, to which my husband said, “you know that means it is just you, right? You’ll do a great job, and I won’t say it like you. I’ll watch Justin while you talk.”
I started searching on the Internet to see if there were some good explanations of Autism for kids and after a very long search and not knowing where to even begin with my introduction, I found this website. This mom did a great job of explaining autism in a way that kids could understand. I used her example of “pins and needles” to explain sensory issues for Justin and then came up with some other things on my own that related specifically to Justin.
The pack meeting went really well and I was really surprised how many adults told me later that there kids brought up other kids they knew who must have had Autism like Justin too!!
Before we drove out to our family reunion, I sent my cub scout autism introduction talk to my husband’s family (who some of them had never met Justin, and others it had been over 3 years) so they could share it with their kids and talk Autism before we got there. I think it helped prepare them and it never ceases to amaze me how team oriented kids can be for a good cause!! They were so accepting of Justin!!
I have decided to post my introduction in case it benefits anyone else in understanding Autism. I am in no way proclaiming to be an expert in Autism, or explaining it…I’ve just had many wonderful conversations about Autism from sharing this introduction:)
I have to admit that the day of the Pack Meeting I had a little cry-fest with my sister-in-law. She has four typical boys, and she is a huge support to me! I was so worried about saying the right things that night, and she let me read it to her over the phone and helped me with editing—Thanks Elaina!!
Scouting has been a success for us and I will never forget the kindness of the boys in Justin’s troop.
Thank you so much for stopping in. We are hope you enjoyed this story.