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Dakota's story.

When Dakota was 18 months old I started noticing problems, like hyperactivity and different little problems. Fixation on things. Went and talked to his Dr. And they sent us to a mental health facility. The Dr there said he had ADHD and that his primary Dr needed to put him on medication. So that's what they did. As Dakota got older and in school. He had a lot of problems. Fixated on computers. A lot of screaming and yelling. Hitting the principal, getting suspended from school. They finally put him on a I.E.P. and in special ed classes. Problems continued. I knew something else was wrong,but know one would listen to me. In middle school things just got worse and he was starting to get bullied a lot. Then the beginning of his 8th grade year the school phycologists called me and she wanted to know if she could do some test on Dakota. I said yes. I got another phone call to meet with her at the school and it was then that I found out he has autism. I told her I knew something was wrong and know one would listen to me. So we sat down and got a new I.E.P. started for high school. When Dakota entered 10th grade he didn't like a few of his teachers. He would get up a leave the class. His teachers didn't want to deal with him anymore, so they decided to put him in continuation school the following school year. I was told I had no say. Over the summer I decided I would talk to the principal. And he was put in a contained class. He needed structure. The thing that sucks about special ed is when they graduate they only get a certificate of completion. But he went back and he earned his diploma. He will b walking in 2weeks. I am so proud of him. He's 19 years old.

Debbie Hankins
Kingman, AZ

I'm not sure if this important message was sent in my previous attempts.

ADA Notification bills like H.R. 620 are gaining momentum in Congress. While similar bills have been unable to garner enough support to pass into law, we do not expect that to be the case in the 115th. This bill continues to gain support from both sides of the aisle in Congress, and it’s on us to fight it!

H.R. 620 would create additional barriers to seeing our rights enforced under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Requiring that businesses in violation of the ADA be provided with a very specific written notice by the person who encountered the access barrier, those businesses would then be allowed a lengthy timeframe to “make substantial progress in removing the barrier.” Not only would this remove any incentive for businesses to come into compliance with the ADA before receiving a notification, but it would also shift the onus of monitoring compliance to the very people being discriminated against!

Please tell your Representatives to OPPOSE H.R. 620 and any other bill that would weaken the ADA, thereby weakening the protections for people with disabilities all over the country.

You can get in touch with your Representatives by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You can find additional contact information for them by visiting www.contactingcongress.org.

The list of Committee members is below:

Republicans:

Bob Goodlatte, Chair (VA)

Jim Sensenbrenner (WI)

Lamar Smith (TX)

Steve Chabot (OH)

Darrell Issa (CA)

Steve King (IA)

Trent Franks (AZ)

Louie Gohmert (TX)

Jim Jordan (OH)

Ted Poe (TX)

Jason Chaffetz (UT)

Tom Marino (PA)

Trey Gowdy (SC)

Raul Labrador (ID)

Blake Farenthold (TX)

Doug Collins (GA)

Ron DeSantis (FL)

Ken Buck (CO)

John Ratcliffe (TX)

Martha Roby (AL)

Matt Gaetz (FL)

Mike Johnson (LA)

Andy Biggs (AZ)

Democrats:

John Conyers, Ranking Member (MI)

Jerry Nadler (NY)

Zoe Lofgren (CA)

Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)

Steve Cohen (TN)

Hank Johnson, Jr. (GA)

Ted Deutch (FL)

Luis Gutierrez (IL)

Karen Bass (CA)

Cedric Richmond (LA)

Hakeem Jeffries (NY)

David Cicilline (RI)

Eric Swalwell (CA)

Ted Lieu (CA)

Jamie Raskin (MD)

Pramila Jayapal (WA)

Brad Schneider (IL)

Tana
St. Paul, MN

An Autism love Story

The first time Jeffrey met our daughter was in 6th grade. They saw each other all the time at school. It took him though till their 8th grade graduation to get up enough courage to have his mom come to me during the ceremony. His mom said that she fell in love with our twin girls when Mikayla's sister was crying because she didn't want to leave her favorite teacher and Mikayla being mother hen, said to me in a loud voice, "mom she's crying". So, his mom approached me and told me her son was in love with Mikayla. I was hesitant at first but His mom and I talked at the reception and while we were talking he took our daughters hand and they began to dance to the music. All the teachers, aids and other parents were saying awww. Then he had her sit and he brought her drink and snacks. We exchanged phone numbers and that night he FaceTimed her and all 4 of us talked. This was the start of a forever love story. Their first date was on July 16th.

It's been over 8 months now and even though they are in different high schools, we get them together at least once or twice a week and they FaceTime each other all the time. There conversations usually last no more than a minute or two but they always say love and miss you to each other and blow each other kisses. Their love for each other just gets stronger everyday. No teenage drama. Jeffrey is always a perfect gentleman and he treats her like a Princess. They only kiss on the cheek and they hug and hold hands at times but are also perfectly content to just sit by each other and not touch. It's truly a real pure love story and they are proof that love has no boundaries and not even Autism can stand in their way of having a relationship. They have big plans for the future that includes marriage and a family when they turn 20 in 5 years.

Kimberly
Ruskin, FL

An Update About My Autism

Diagnosed with autism at 28 months old, my parents were given little hope that I would ever have a bright future. Non-verbal until the age of 4, my autism presented itself to the world through hand flapping, toe-walking, tantrums, and poor eating habits. As a result of my inability to communicate and socialize appropriately, I received help with speech lessons, occupational therapy and physical therapy. In addition, my parents put me on a gluten-free diet at 12 years old.

Although, this was a turning point for positive changes in my life, autism does not go away. My family and I learned to not only live with it but accept it. I am grateful for the support I continue to get from family and friends.

Often times, people ask me about my college years and why I didn’t finish my degree. For health reasons, I decided it was best for me to relook at a career that I felt will suit me better. I feel great success in what I have already accomplished. Because of my college, I am able to become a paraprofessional. While going to college, I had social anxiety and crazy obsession over studying. Even though professors probably didn’t expect everyone to be a 4.0 student, I felt I needed to be. My G.P.A is 3.75, which my mom tells me how proud of me she is, and she realizes how hard it really was on me.

Being a pencil artist is my gifted talent. I began to develop my talent around 13 years old. Unlike other children my age who were selling lemonade on the street corner, I tried selling my art. Although it didn’t go as well as I hoped, I continued to pursue my art in middle school, high school, and beyond. I received an exciting opportunity to display my drawings locally at the winery.

The inspirations for my drawings come from my passions. I am fascinated with the details of the Titanic, still life drawings, and animals. Depending on the topic, subject matter, and my mood, these drawings help me communicate with the world.

Lindsey Moreland
River Falls, WI

Pop Fantastic - And His Autistic Superpowers

Hi My name is David Fox and I'm the father of Ollie (Pop for short), an 11 year old little boy with autism.

Pop loves to read and memorise books and over the years we have acquired a huge collection of wonderful stories.

I noticed some time ago however that none of these stories featured a main protagonist who was autistic, so I've taken it upon myself to create such a story.

Pop and the millions of children out there on the spectrum have so many challenges to face in our world and many of the things that most people take for granted can be huge hurdles in life for those with autism.

What if there was a place, where those traits which set Pop and others like him apart here, were actually superpowers?

That is the premise for Pop Fantastic - a series of stories which will follow Pop as he enters a magical word and finds his autism traits will enable him to save the day at every turn.

I hope to create a world into which autistic children will love to venture; where they'll take great joy in seeing Pop overcome adversity with the help of his superpowers.

I hope to use the Pop Fantastic stories to educate and inform other children and adults about what autism is like and how it can be celebrated as something beautifully special.

We hope to see you there :) x

David Fox
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

An Original Epic Fantasy Novel Series with an Autistic Girl for the Protagonist Under Production!

Greetings everyone,

I am Jordan Lefaivre. I have high-functioning autism and I am an aspiring young fantasy author, who is working on a 5 novel fantasy/adventure/sci-fi series with a 13 year old girl with autism as the protagonist. I do this to entertain everyone with a very enjoyable and memorable story and as a tactical way of greatly spreading autism awareness and understanding at the same time.

Book 1 is ready to be presented to any literary agencies and Book 2 is edited enough for any literary agency or publishing company to look ahead of Book 1 if they feel they need to before deciding to publish the series. I also have all the rough drafts for books 3, 4 and 5 completed.

If you want additional information about my novel series, including its plot, and about myself, including my contact information, you can read it all here at this link to my website called JTL Dimension: http://jtldimension.weebly.com/

I will immensely appreciate it if you share my website on Facebook, Twitter or any other websites you are connected to. Thank you all immensely for your interest and your support!

Jordan Lefaivre
Chilliwack, BC, Canada

my story so far

I am a typical teenage boy who lives in a small coastal Australian city called Warrnambool, or at least that is what people thought before April this year.

When I was 9 years old I was diagnosed with autism which changed how people perceived me. I was no longer just Bryce, now I had a new label that defined the person I was. In Primary school, I was separated from my peers and was put into a special education class that didn’t give me the education I needed and wanted. By the end of Primary school, I feared being different from everyone else as my diagnoses defined everything about me and took away my right to define my own future based on my abilities.

When I reached Secondary school, I decided to hide my autism diagnoses from everyone including the school staff as I wanted to be treated as an equal. I hid for 4 years until the 10th of April this year when I decided it was time to tell everyone. Since April I have started to be an advocate for autism students as I believe everyone should have the right to the same quality of education. I have even started up my own Facebook page utilising the articles I write regarding autism acceptance. I advocate for future generations so that they can gain a quality of education equal to their peers and so they can live in a more accepting world.

you can find my articles at: www.facebook.com/bryce.pace.autism.advocate

Bryce Pace
Warrnambool, Australia

Transformation from "lower-functioning" to "higher-functioning."

Aaron Stuart was was told leave a third adult day training program in January, 2015, for once again exhibiting "behaviors" considered too difficult to manage. Aaron was 24 years old, and built like a football player. He has the personality of a teddy bear, but suffered from digestive issues his parents didn't know about at the time: hiatal hernia and ulcer. He couldn't speak of his pain; only act out by grabbing someone's arm in desperation. That was all it took to have him ejected from three well-known programs in Florida. Michael and Harriet Stuart had had enough of this treatment of autistic individuals, and, after saying a prayer, started a program in their home that is unlike anything offered in Florida to date, or most of the nation. Operation Meaningful Life was born that February, 2015, with a unique goal: train the developmentally-disabled adult population in skills they were not receiving in schools and day programs, which would enable them to lead productive lifespans. Using unique and individualized methods and approaches individuals would be taught career, vocational and life skills; and the special emphasis would be on those rejected and ignored by society: the so-called "lower-functioning." The program has been amazingly successful. Aaron is now employed part-time by two national restaurant chains; and works part-time for a large regional supermarket bakery chain that makes up-scale products. His language propelled quickly and became functional. He is now considered "higher-functioning," and happier because he is being productive, and feels accomplishment every day. OML operates a "Home Base" in Jacksonville, Florida, where it professionally duplicates numerous career and vocational environments and skill sets to successfully transition the disabled individual to the actual work setting. The program is so efficiently run that, unlike other programs, financial donations have not been accepted nor sought. Being "higher-functioning" is merely, to OML, a matter of appropriate training and instruction; something most adult training programs do not recognize, nor understand how to accomplish. Operation Meaningful Life now has a Facebook page that is dedicated to inspiring families and professionals around the country to accomplish the same results.

Michael Stuart
Jacksonville, FL

Learning About Autism Through Kids

I recently wrote a children's book named, "Learning About Autism Through Kids" to teach children who

aren't autistic how to interact with children who are. It also helps adults

identify with the many characteristics and behavior of autism.

Each short story is about characteristics associated with autism. They are

also narrated through the voice of a child. The readers get to spend time

in the mind of the little girl that's non-verbal, the little boy who's

having a meltdown, the child who nearly has a panic attack from the sound

of a pencil tapping on the desk, and more.

We can go on a 1000 charity walks, hashtag every *Autism Speaks Awareness*,

and the list goes on but until we experience what that child is

experiencing, we can't really relate. This is why it's so important to me

for this message (book) to get out. I can honestly guarantee if you read

this book you will have a new outlook on autism. Yes, it is a children

book, but every reader will be rewarded and educated. You can purchase this book directly from Amazon.

Rasheema Kearney
philadelphia, PA

Autism Survivor now Composer

By four years of age, Christian had attained several labels including autism. With the guidance of neurodevelopmentalists, his mother worked with each of her son's function and sensory problems with exercises that created auditory/visual processing and development, normalized tactile and auditory sensitivity and eliminated stuttering. Christian is now a twenty-one year old composer, traveling, performing and speaking out about how to find hope and help for the journey with his mother, Stephanie Anderson. They just released a book, "From Unlikely to Unlimited!" and music CD "Unlimited" through Tate Publlshing/Music Group.

Stephanie Anderson
Helena, MT
Earth Gardens Sleeveless Top
Ripple Effect Sleeveless Tunic Dress
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