Thanks to Carolina for sending us this interesting Infographic (graphic courtesy of www.nursedegree.net)
For weeks, I culled through the data, reading through it over and over and, when the time came, commencing the gritty task of actually analyzing the data.
The task consumed me. Sleep eluded me. I forgot to eat. All I could think about was the data. The words of the families came to life, I could hear their voices, see their images and, all too often, felt their pain and struggles.
Thinking of our military families downrange on World Autism Awareness Day.
WASHINGTON – Civilian personnel at Department of Defense Education Activity schools and the Defense Commissary Agency will be affected by sequestration, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here Monday.
The department will struggle to ensure DODEA — which serves 84,000 students at 194 schools — maintains an accredited school year, Little said.
Story by Airman 1st Class Klynne Pearl Serrano
97th Air Mobility Wing, Public Affairs
PLEASANT HILL, Ill. – What started out as a means to pass time quickly turned into a passion when Erin Hart, a senior at Pleasant Hill High School, took on figure skating. Erin, who has mid-to-high functioning autism, started lessons approximately one year ago, and will be one of 11 athletes to compete in the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeong Chang, South Korea scheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, 2013.
“When Erin and my wife, Kathy moved back to Illonois, we told Erin she could choose something she’d really like to do,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Rawnald Hart, 58th Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III Loadmaster instructor at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. “Erin answered, ‘figure skating’.”
Kathy gave Erin the task of finding a rink nearby. So Erin, being the research guru her father described her as, got on her iPad and started her research right away.
After mentioning several places, Erin finally found the closest rink which is in Springfield, Ill.
“It’s still an hour and a half from Pleasant Hill, but Kathy took her over to the rink,” Rawnald said. “One of the coaches, Janet Icenogle, was watching Erin skate and she walked over to Kathy and asked her if she ever thought about letting [Erin] compete.”
That caught Kathy off-guard.
“I mean Erin’s been on the ice a couple times before and she could skate forward, but that was it,” Rawnald said.
The coach invited Kathy and Erin back the next Saturday for a “Learn to Skate” program.
“She started doing that and she picked it up really quickly,” Rawnald said. “She was just skating once a week for about two months when she went to Chicago for a figure skating competition and won second place in her level.”
After around another two months, Erin competed in the Illinois Special Olympics Winter Games in January 2012 and took home a gold medal.
“Erin ended up beating the girl who won first place in the competition before that,” Rawnald said. “And she had only been skating for three to four months while the girl she beat had been skating for five or six years.”
But Erin’s talent specifically caught the attention of one of the judges.
“While we were there, one of the judges told us that Illinois has the level 2 figure skating slot for the World Games in Korea and asked if Erin would be interested in going,” Rawnald said. “They could not have picked a more perfect child to go to Korea.”
Rawnald could not stress enough how big of an Asian culture fanatic Erin is.
“When we were looking at plane tickets to go to Korea, a lot of them stopped in Tokyo,” Rawnald said. “My wife and I would love to stop over in Tokyo, but if we were to stop there without [Erin], we would probably never hear the end of it.”
“Because of the autism, the good news didn’t get to her like that the first time, but the closer we are to leaving for Korea, the more excited she gets,” Rawnald said.
The family is holding bake sales, t-shirt sales and other fundraisers for the cost of their plane tickets to support Erin in Korea.
Rawnald and his family could not express enough how proud they are of Erin.
“When she’s on the ice she’s in her own little world—she’s in the zone. I’d say she’s most happy on the ice,” Rawnald said. “Don’t ever underestimate what your child can do, because they’ll surprise you every time.”
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Erin Hart, a senior at Pleasant Hill High School and daughter of Air Force Master Sgt. Rawnald Hart, 58th Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III Loadmaster instructor at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. and Mrs. Kathy Hart, takes a break from practice to pose for a picture at the Springfield Nelson Center Ice Skating Rink. Erin, who has mid-to-high functioning autism, started figure skating lessons approximately one year ago, and will be one of 11 athletes to compete in the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeong Chang, South Korea scheduled for Jan. 29-Feb. 5, 2013. (Courtesy photo)
I had the privilege of taking one of my kids to the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing yesterday. I home school my kids, so this was a valuable learning experience for her.
There were several military families at the event, with rising autism rates the number one concern on the agenda.
Many of those in attendance were advocates, including the neuro-diverse community, and members of several autism organizations. They addressed a variety of issues that concern autism and our country. They put in their opinions as well.
An inspirational person of interest that we met today was James Williams, a young man with autism who shared his remarkable story. As an entrepreneur, he has succeeded in creating a business providing social skills training to teachers and children with ASD.
James has written several books and is very knowledgeable about medical needs of kids with autism. He provided an insight into autism that I had not heard before; that was the voice of an ASD child after gowning up.
My own son does not speak, so I cannot tell what he is feeling, but hearing it from another person who has autism was confirming and relieving; it provided support and I know what we are doing for our own son is needed.
My daughter was able to interview Mark Blaxill, a father of a child with autism. She learned that Mark works with Safe Minds, an organization that provides literature to parents and clinicians about the safety of the environment around them, and ways to reduce the risk of neurological disorders.
From talking to parents in the room and watching their reactions during the hearing, it seemed that an overwhelming attitude was that the government is not doing enough to address why the rate of autism is rising, and why there are not any services for adults with autism.
Many theories were put out by members of the committee, but no real answers from the doctors.
Again it seems we are at a standstill, and perhaps Congress will be forced to enact a law that requires health officials to resort to drastic measures to reduce to rise of autism, including reducing the toxic environment around children.
I urge military members to stay on top of the information and watch the archived videos of the committee hearing. Many hard questions were asked, and parents need to know just what is going on in our country.Editor’s Note: American Military Families Autism Support respects all our families’ perspectives on care and blog posts represent the personal opinions of the blogger. Tara is an AMFAS community member and blogs at Red Green Lellow. You can see all AMFAS bloggers at our AMFAS blog site.
Washington, D.C (Nov. 29, 2012) — James Williams, Tara McMillan and her daughter stop for a photo while attending the House of Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on autism.
Below is the hearing.
One of the greatest opportunities afforded by a free society is the right to vote. This should not only be thought of as a right, but a responsibility. Regardless of how you vote, it’s important that our families have the information to ensure they can.
If you haven’t requested your absentee ballot for the 2012 general election, go to FVAP.gov and use their online registration and absentee ballot assistant or contact your unit or installation voting assistance officers.
Stationed Overseas? The Military Postal Service Agency provides free expedited ballot delivery and ballot tracking to your local election office for military and their family members. Go to your local post office or postal clerk, use the Label 11 – DOD form on your absentee ballot envelope and mail it. Go to www.usps.com to track the status of your ballot.
If you haven’t received your ballot by Oct. 6, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) as your back-up ballot. Go to FVAP.gov and use the automated assistant. For each office for which you vote, write in either a candidate’s name or their party designation.
If you would like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process, contact FVAP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-438-8683, DSN 425-1584 (CONUS)/312-425-1584 (OCONUS). More info is available at FVAP.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DoDFVAP and on Twitter @FVAP.
He taught us how to dream. He taught us about conquering the unthinkable. He taught us to shoot for the stars.
On the last day of August, America’s stars and stripes are flying a little lower in memory of Neil Armstrong.
By Nicholas Sabula
In about three weeks I’ll once again join nine other military family representatives from all services for the next next DoD Advisory Panel on Special Needs Sept. 13 in Alexandria, Va.
Two important aspects of the day include an update from DoD leaders on improvements to the system and input to what’s needed for our families. The advice our panel members provide is terse in many aspects, elaborated in others, but always specifically focused on what our military families really need.
Representatives from each of the services, TRICARE Management Activity, Department of Defense Education Activity and others have attended the last two panels.