Be Aware, Autism Aware

With April , which is Autism Awareness Month, right around the corner, I wanted to tell you about my nephew, Aaron.  I first met Aaron the summer he turned 6  when he was in my summer camp group. Now 12 and 1/2 , Aaron enjoys listening to music and watching videos.  He also likes to tease his younger sister Sydney. Aaron is affectionate ,  loving, and like most kids about to become teenagers, he also likes to do his own thing. Did I happen to mention that Aaron has autism?  To our family, Aaron is just … Aaron. We treat him just the same  as we treat his  younger sister, Sydney, and older brothers, Seth & Ryan.  We see no reason to treat him any differently. I became Aaron’s aunt last summer when I married my husband Steven, and I couldn’t be happier to have him as part of my family along with his brothers and sister.

Aaron goes to middle school and is finishing 6th grade this year.  In August, Aaron will turn 13, and like any 13 year-old boy of the Jewish faith, Aaron will be Bar Mitzvahed. He has learned his prayers and is starting Hebrew lessons with a Rabbi. I can tell you, there will not be a dry eye in the house on the day of his Bar Mitzvah !  We are all so proud of Aaron and his accomplishments!

Aaron is not defined by the fact that he has autism. It’s just one part of who he is. And who he is, is one terrific person!

A few years ago I wrote the following poem for Aaron and all kids with autism,and I’d like to share it with you:

Since I cannot look you in the eye

It may be hard for you to see

The person on the inside

The person that is me

Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry

Sometimes I get angry too

Please be patient with me

That’s all I ask of you

Take the time to know me

You’ll be glad you did

Because underneath it all

I’m one fantastic kid

The pieces of the puzzle

May not fit perfectly

That’s okay,I don’t mind

‘Cause I’m happy to be me!!

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