To be assigned the blessing of raising a child is a job all by itself. But to raise a child with special needs takes a mother like my sister who scarifies everything for the needs of her child. This is part two of the amazing sit down we had with Sabrina Reeves Partee, mother of Storm Asenath.
What is your long term goal for Storm?
My long term goal is that Storm Asenath accomplishes everything she is capable of accomplishing.
What are some things you do to help educate others about autism?
When Storm Asenath was first diagnosed I was in my ninth year of teaching. Although I had taught for almost nine years I knew very little about autism. So the first thing I did was to learn as much as possible about autism. My motto became "educate myself first, family and friends next and then educate the community". I know parents that have a child with a disorder. Some of those children are now adults and I still don't know the diagnosis. I wanted my family and friends to know that Storm had autism and I also wanted them to know about autism. After I educated myself I mailed out autism info sheets to all of my family and friends. I attached a picture of Storm to the info sheet. I think it is very important that people put a face with the individual that has autism, because autism has "many faces".
When Storm was diagnosed in 2009, 1 in every 150 American children were on the autism spectrum. Currently 1 in every 68 American children are on the autism spectrum. In March 2013, the results of a parent survey sponsored by the U.S. government estimated 1 in 50 American children are on the autism spectrum. Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in America. 50,000 teenagers on the autism spectrum enter adulthood each year in the United States.
Given these statistics, it is highly likely that most people will know, see or work with an individual on the autism spectrum. In my opinion, community members should know about autism and how to interact with individuals on the spectrum. I carry autism information sheets in my purse. I give them to people in the community I meet and talk to that are interested in learning more about autism. I have also written articles about autism that were published in local newspapers and magazines. In 2015, I started Storms & Miracles to educate others about autism, especially parents of children on the spectrum.
Tell me more about Storms & Miracles:
Besides increasing awareness about autism, Storms & Miracles purpose is to provide parents of children on the spectrum with resources and support. Most autism organizations do autism research, increase awareness and focus on the needs of individuals on the spectrum. However, very few focus on the needs of the parents. Parents of children on the spectrum make a lot of sacrifices and autism takes a toll on families. It is important that parents have the support and resources they need to help their children reach their optimal potential. If the reader would like more info or know a parent of a child on the spectrum email me at StormsandMiracles7@att.net .
When I interviewed you in 2014 Asenath's Place was in the beginning stages. What's the update on Asenath's Place?
We're making slow but steady progress. Once everything is completed Asenath’s Place will be a developmental and learning center that focuses on children with autism. The main reason we haven't opened is Asenath's Place needs more money and donations. Our new goal is to open in a couple of years. We've set up a Go Fund Me Account!! Here is the link: Help Educate Autistic Children
There are millions of parents faced with the challenge of raising children on the autism spectrum, can you give
them some advice?
1. Educate yourself and others about autism.
2. Do not compare your child to other children on the autism spectrum.
3. Remember this quote by Joan Rohde~ “The truest measurement of my growth and accomplishments is in remembering where I came from where I’ve been and where I’m going.”
I wouldn’t really say the following signs are the top ten signs of autism, but they are ten signs that I think are really important.
2. Echolalia (repeating something heard at an earlier time) a lot of times the child will say the phrase and it has nothing to do with what is being talked about at at that moment
3. Little or no eye contact when talking or being spoken to
4. Walking on tiptoes or posture/ gait disturbances
5. Preoccupation with hands or flapping of hands
6. Spinning in circles or spinning objects
7. Lack of interaction with other children
8. Confusion between the pronouns “I” and “you"
9. Lack of interest in toys or only interested in part of toys
10. Uneven development – a child may be delayed in some areas and on track or even advanced in other areas
Sabrina Reeves Partee