2016 World Autism Day: My Journey In Autism

It's World Autism Day and I felt it was time to share why I love what I do so much.

So let me tell you my story... I graduated high school a few years ago (I'm being kind to myself, I'm old) and I immediately went to college thinking "I'll be a teacher." It has always been in my blood. Thank goodness my mother worked in our parks and rec department (as  much as I love her, she was no Leslie Knope) and always found me jobs. When I was 15 years old she found me a position teaching swim lessons and I quickly knew I loved working with children.

When I came home from college for the summer, my mom suggested I interview for a job working with students in one of their programs. I interviewed and was offered a position. My position was to run summer camps for students. I thought this would be a good chance to test out my teaching chops. I stayed in this position throughout college. When I would come home for summer, I would work in our summer camp programs. We we organize enrichment activities for students to participate in throughout the day. It was totally a blast!

After I graduated college, I was offered a position to run their after school programs. It was one of my first days doing this when I walked in to seeing a room full of about 30 students having fun with 1 student sitting on the computer. I immediately asked why this student was on the computer while the other students were playing and the response I received was "He has autism." In that quick moment I said "so..." and realized this was not a rationale I agreed with. Why couldn't this student participate with his peers? Why was it ok for him to be secluded to the computer for hours on end?

I ended up working with this student for the next 4 years on and off. By the time I left the after school programs (to enter the classroom) he participated in each and every activity we did in the program. He interacted with peers. He played games. He engaged in conversations. He is amazing. He has taught me so much about the world. He has adjusted my views. This is why I continue to teach students with Autism. I want to be their advocate. I want to teach them how to participate in their communities. I want them to live full lives.

This is why I do what I do. Every child deserves to have a voice. Every child deserves to be part of a community. This has driven me to do what I do.

Now let's talk about this awesome giveaway...

I've teamed up with some amazing Special Education bloggers to bring you an amazing giveaway!  We know how exhausting this time of the year can be so we want to giveaway FULLY PREPPED ITEMS!  I will be giving away my amazing new Addition Flipbooks.  I love these things and the amount of practice my students have been getting.  If you win, I'll be sending all 10 flipbooks (laminated, bound, and velcroed) your way!

One lucky winner will win 8 amazing FULLY PREPPED (I'm kinda excited about that part) items delivered to your front door!  Make sure you enter to win!  This is amazing!

**Due to shipping this giveaway is only open to US entries**

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Wondering more about these awesome prizes? Check out what else you can win by visiting these other bloggers pages.
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