Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reader's Choice Awards for 2014

2014 was our fourth year at Autism Light. Here are the top posts and special awards at Autism Light from the year according to reader views. This is not meant to diminish the value of any of our posts or the subjects they reflect, it just reflects the one's that were viewed the most in my Blogger statistics.

Top Ten Most Popular New Posts During the Year:
  1. Naoki Higashadi's post debuted on May 27, 2014. This post about a 21 year old autism self advocate and author from Japan received hundreds of views.
  2. Jaci Velasquez' post debuted on February 27, 2014. Jaci is an Autism Mother and Musician from Tennessee.
  3. Toni Braxton's post debuted on January 6, 2014. Toni is an Autism Mother and actress from California.
  4. John and Traci Schneider's post debuted on February 2, 2014. John and Traci are Autism parents from Seattle, Washington, where John serves as the General Manager of the Seattle Seahawks.
  5. Pentru Voi Foundation's post debuted on February 13, 2014. The Pentru Voi Foundation is an organization that serves those with autism in the country of Romania.
  6. Chelsea Stepp's post debuted on January 1, 2014. Chelsea is an Autism Sister and musician from Warfield, Kentucky, who has a special bond with her autistic sister Cammi.
  7. J.P. Morgan Chase's post debuted on January 11, 2014. J.P. Morgan Chase is a financial institution that added autism insurance benefits for its employees. 
  8. Sheila Chako's post debuted on April 24, 2014. Sheila is a special education teacher from California.
  9. Matt Kemp's post debuted on May 11, 2014. Matt Kemp is an Autism Brother and Major League Baseball Player.
  10. Tom Fields-Meyer's post debuted on June 15, 2014. Tom is an Autism Father and writer from Los Angeles, California.
Most Google+1's: Toni Braxton's post had Five (5) Google+1's during the year. Toni is an Autism Mother and actress from California.

Most Popular Backlight: Dr. Vince Carbone's post as Autism Light #5 returned for an encore appearance on January 5, 2014. Dr. Carbone is a Board Certified Applied Behavioral Analyst from New York. Dr. Vince Carbone's post continues to be a reader favorite since it's debut in the first months of the Autism Light blog on July 7, 2011.

Most Visited Memorial Post: Dr. William Bolman (1929-2014) is the Autism Psychiatrist and co-founder of the Autism Society of Hawaii who passed away on April 18, 2014.

Most Popular State Light: The Kentucky State Lights has been a popular post to find all the Autism Lights from Kentucky.

Most Comments:  This distinction of most comments goes to two golfers who we featured in January, 2014. Cliff Kresge and Elijah Winfrey both tied with the most comments.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Nathan Young

Autism Light #369 is Nathan Young.

Nathan Young is a 33 year old autism self-advocate from Fortuna, California, which is in western-central Humboldt County. In 2006 he founded the non-profit Autism Candles to raise autism awareness and to create opportunity for individuals with autism, and other developmental disabilities. What started as a local effort has expanded to a national outreach for autism. Nathan Young is an Autism Light because of his dedication to raise autism awareness and to provide employment opportunities for those with autism. His passion and energy to make a difference combined with his personal journey with autism helps him shine a light for autism. 

Autism Candles employs several people with autism who help make the actual candles. Workers hours change based on sales. It is the goal of Autism Candles to make homemade and personal candles rather than being a candle making factory. You can purchase candles through Amazon or on the Autism Candles Website

Nathan Young told Autism Light that, "The candle making project originated from the desire to show the world that people with autism, and other developmental disabilities, wanted to and could work. The goal was to get the attention of as many people in the area as possible."

These four goals are listed on the Autism Candles Website include:

  • Foster Autism Awareness
  • Promote Inclusion
  • Assist advocacy efforts on social media and traditional news sources
  • Assist advocacy efforts on social media and traditional news sources
  • Provide for the candle making needs of the autism community

Writer: Nathan Young wrote an article called Stuck in Transition that was featured on the Autism Speaks Webpage on May 7, 2012.

Advice to those with Autism:  Nathan Young encourages others with autism to guard their health. He writes, "Taking care of yourself is the first priority. Depending on the individual, accepting that help is needed to have a healthy life is important. Changing the world begins with being healthy."

Advice to Parents of Children with Autism: Nathan Young has the following advice to parents in relationship to how they can empower their children to make a difference in the world.
Take charge of change. The idealism and the expectations that people in society will treat persons with developmental disabilities fairly is not enough. Encouraging individuals to be self-advocates, that their dreams matter, and promoting inclusion where you live, with the help of self-advocates is important. Many people may mean well, it’s just that they aren’t aware of what issues are really there. It’s important to make as many allies as possible, and to turn things around to the positive as often as possible, even when people make obvious social mistakes. Opportunity for lasting change exists around every corner (Nathan Young).
Autism Awareness Strategy: Nathan Young shared his detailed autism awareness strategy with Autism Light.
I am hyper-focused on the strategies of societal change for inclusion, by using logically sound strategies, and trying to be more successful with the participation of national organizations and other self-advocates, families, disability professionals and allies within the general public. That is, to create a more feasible success pathway by using the communities within specific regions and nationally to spread awareness, which provokes measurable progress.

The national inclusion platform I wish to encourage organizations to work together for, is something I call <Area> Includes. Essentially it is a way for towns/cities within county regions to incite progress for inclusive opportunity. For agencies and nonprofits which serve individuals with developmental disabilities, including autism, to serve out their missions with the help of local and national awareness. Regions may compete with one another, measures can take place and, for instance, agencies which facilitate inclusive training, such as job coaching, can qualify local businesses for sponsoring job hours for participants. This further can be empowered through local chambers of commerce and other business organizations which can work with a regional <Area> Includes to spotlight groups who participate, and who eventually directly hire individuals who have been trained through sponsorships with area businesses. Nationally, further propagation of this model may further tailor its goals, and perception within popular culture. As a nation we must work together, on many levels, to better ensure inclusion and hope (Nathan Young).

Other Blogs: The following are additional perspectives on Autism Candles from other blogs.
Social Media: You can follow Nathan Young's work at Autism Candles at the following popular social media pages.
Goals: Nathan Young described to Autism Light his goals for self-advocacy in this way.
I want national autism and developmental disability organizations, and I want our legislators to listen. I think there is a great need to focus on inclusion, so that mainstream media cannot ignore it; I want the community to be a part of pop culture, and through that awareness to improve inclusion, that is, improve personal treatment and health care and to inspire hope. People just don’t realize how common poverty, for example, is in the developmental disability community, but if we put our minds together and fight for it in strategic ways, we will see real change (Nathan Young).
Nathan Young has taken the perspective that to accomplish great things it starts with believing in people. He says, "I believe success for inclusive change begins with a mentality that most people may mean well, and would help with these necessary changes if provided the opportunity in positive ways."

Special thanks to Nathan Young for raising autism awareness. In a sense the candles his company creates are symbolic of the light being brought to the autism community through awareness and opportunities. Nathan Young is a fine representative of many self-advocates in the autism community and we wish him all the best in his efforts to make a difference for autism now and in the future. As an autism father and blogger I hope to meet other adult self-advocates like Nathan Young in the future because they encourage me about the future my young son faces.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Photos: The images in this post were used with permission of Nathan Young.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Autistic Muslim Child

Autism Light Classic
Updated on December 23, 2015. 

Autism Light #368 is the My Autistic Muslim Child Blog.

The blog My Autistic Muslim Child was started in February, 2010, and is written by an autism mother from Orlando, Florida whose son Amin has autism. My Autistic Muslim Child is an Autism Light because it is uniquely supporting autism families in the Muslim community through the encouragement it provides on the blog. The blog can be found at myautisticmuslimchild.wordpress.com.

Spiritual Encouragement: There is a label on the right side of the blog that emphasizes the hope the blog tries to bring to other parents in the Muslim faith that says, "Never Give up Hope of Allah's mercy." That heading is followed by a quote from the Quran 12:87, "Certainly no one despairs of Allah's mercy, except the people who disbelieve."

The creator of the blog describes her purpose for the blog in this manner,
I realized that I needed to do something to show my fellow Muslim parents that autism is part of our lives, and that we should accept Allah's decree, and move forward. We continue to make du'a for him to outgrow this condition, and we have the greatest of hope and trust in Allah that He will continue to show us amazing things from this amazing child who is special in so many ways (My Autistic Muslim Child, About).
The tag line on the blog My Autistic Muslim Child is "A Site for Learning, Sharing and Support for Muslim Families." The helpfulness of this blog is in no way limited to the Muslim community, although the passion to help that faith community is clear. The blogger provides varied posts that range from research to inspirational encouragement.

The blog My Autistic Muslim Child is a blessing to the autism community, specifically for how it shines a light on the journey families in the Muslim community travel. While the blog is specifically of value to Muslim families desiring to learn, grow, and share the bond of community, those outside the Muslim faith can certainly read the blog to learn about the Muslim faith, varying aspects of autism, and the art of being a devoted autism mother.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism. 

Special Note: The blog references all new posts being placed on a new website at myautisticmuslimchild.com, but that was found to be offline upon a review of this post on December 23, 2015. We have changed the links for the time being to the wordpress.com website which was apparently the original website the blogger developed. Please leave a comment if the new website is back online.