Tag Archives | charity

Autism Advocacy – Some ideas to get you started

autism ribbonI have been rather fortunate to be able to write for not only my blog, but also some pieces for several other blogs as well. It turns out that writing is something that I rather enjoy and I can even be proud to say that I do quite well.

It occurred to me though, that not everyone is a great writer… or comfortable with public speaking… but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be a great advocate. Some people find some great ways to advocate while others still struggle to find what works for them.

So I thought I’d put together some thoughts and ideas in ways that you could help be the advocate you really want to be even if you have no formal training or previous expertise.

Every day life

Probably the most recognized and frequently used method for advocacy is simply to live life with Autism or with a child that has Autism. You’ll find yourself explaining it to friends and family, you’ll find yourself correcting others or volunteering information when people ask… sometimes you might even have to explain yourself or your child in a public setting if something embarrassing happens.

When you live it, you advocate it simply by walking out your front door.

Don’t be afraid to answer questions, don’t be afraid to offer information. You don’t have to have all the answers, just your own experiences. Explain how it’s not the same for everyone but you can offer your own knowledge on the topic.

People are very receptive, people are often very willing to learn. You don’t have to advertise it but don’t hide it either. When someone shows an interest, speak up.

Wearing Autism Merchandise

Wearing something on yourself is not only a subtle reminder to people but can be a conversation starter. There are a lot of choices, some people even opt to get a tattoo!

What ever it is you do, don’t go overboard. The last thing you want to do is annoy people with it. So keep it smart, keep it clever and even classy if you can. Funny is good too but can be offensive to some if you’re not careful.

Ultimately, so long as you’re not annoying anyone… do what ever looks good on you.


Most charities and events are non-profits… meaning that they don’t do what they do to make money, they do it to fund research or support families.

That means that they could really use the help, since they have no extra money to pay people. And usually it only involves and afternoon or just a few hours but your help would be invaluable.

In these instances, I like to think of it as the worker bee scenario.

Events, such as concerts, walks, bbq’s, etc take a lot of people to pull off properly. Whether it’s flipping burgers, getting people’s names… what ever.

Each and every little job is not only important, it’s necessary… and if they can’t fill those spots, the entire event could be in jeopardy.

Your help, whether big or small, for hours or days, is a big part of it’s success. If you can’t afford to donate, if you can’t be a public figure… just pitch in and help out. It’s needed more than you know.

Local Support Groups

Every community, big or small, has at least one local support group. Those groups usually consist of people with valuable information that you can learn from but there’s often people there that have no information, that need information… that feel quite lost and alone.

Someone at that meeting will likely step up and help those people out… that someone could be you.

You don’t have to pay their mortgage, just help them to realize that they’re not alone. Give them some friendly advice, a shoulder to lean on…. take an hour or two to be a part of a team.

You could learn, teach and grow, all the while making friends and maybe even new friends for your children.


So maybe you don’t have a lot of time but you are able to muster $10 or $20 here and there… donate it. Keep the receipts for your taxes.

Charities do some amazing work but they don’t do it all on their own. They need donations from people like you and me to fund the work they do.

Also, no matter how hard you have it, there is always someone or an entire family out there that has it worse. Those people struggle far more than you or I could even imagine and they need support far beyond what you or I could give them as individuals.

That’s where charities come in. They pool those donations and build valuable support for those families using the donations from us all.

You don’t have to donate hundreds, every little bit helps.

Take part in the events

I mentioned volunteering to help events run smoothly but it’s also just as much of a help to actually take part in the event… like a walk or fundraiser.

The AutismSpeaks Walk for Autism events have proven very successful in raising donations as well as general awareness all over the world. And all you have to do is walk.

Several other charities and even just local businesses and people right in your own city hold events all the time. Find them, get involved. You don’t have to work if you don’t want to. Just be there.

In fact, you don’t really even have to be there. Help get the word out about them. Tell friends, post to your social networks…. if you get 2 other people to take part in it, you’ve doubled what you could have done just by being there yourself.

If you do get 2 friends to do it and do it yourself too… well, you can see how something relatively small can grow to something very big and very worthwhile very quickly.

Make up something, do what you do best

As @OperationJack says: “Whatever you do best. For me, unfortunately, that requires running waaaay too much.” He’s a marathon runner. When his son was diagnosed with Autism, he decided to run to raise awareness as well as donations. He ran over 61 marathons in 2010!

Another Twitter member, @invisaWriter suggested: “if you know how to plan a killer party you could do fundraiser dinners, or maybe you can organize boxtops for edu. collections”…  not a bad idea!

Use your strengths… even if what you do has never been used for advocacy or fund raising before, try to put some thought into it. You can make it happen!

We’re all equals

I often marvel at how public speakers can travel the country, helping people all over…. or at book writers who can produce amazing pieces of literature that informs and even inspires.

The truth is though, when it comes to being an advocate, we’re all equals.

From talking to a neighbor about Autism to telling the country on national television, we’re equals. We do the same thing… we inform. We have the same purpose, to inform.

The only number that is important to an advocate is 1. If you can inform 1 person, if you can open the eyes of just 1 person, if you can make just 1 person recognize the difference…. if you can inspire just 1 person to want to make a difference…. you’ve done your job.

Whether you write, speak, walk, donate, volunteer… what ever it is you do, your goal is to reach out to 1 person and have them understand.

If you can do that, do it again and again and again… always aim for 1. Before you know it, you’ll have reached hundreds, maybe even thousands.

Ideas from you

I asked this on several networks, here are some of the responses I received.

Sometimes the most effective thing you can do is just be 'out there':
live your life openly, don't try to hide it or be ashamed of it.
It is what it is. You can also give moral/financial support to
others who can go out and speak, write books, etc.

Answering people's questions as they are asked. Wearing Autism Awareness
stuff, my brother got a tattoo to help raise awareness and has become a
conversation starter...

I've been helping make a local Asperger Support Group for Adults and
Children become a 501(c)(3) organization. A lot of work, but it's so
rewarding when we see the families we help!!

I agree, to speak up when people ask questions, to tell people about your
journey. I have been amazed and overwhelmed how people want to listen, get
involved and even donate money to try to help my son be able to speak! I
used to lock myself away and at one stage became very isolated and
defensive. I turned my life around when I took positive action to raise
awareness of autism and what I'd been going through, people all of a sudden
became understanding, supportive and encouraging! Search for Time to Talk
Liam on Facebook to see what ive been doing. People don't understand,
unless you tell them, it's just not possible for them to understand
without you telling them. I'll keep speaking out for my son, until the day
he is able to speak himself! And even after that too probably!!!

I'm an autism advocate in that I ensure that my daughter gets treated like
everybody else, no matter what I have to do. :)

If there is no local clearinghouse for info on ASD and how to handle,
start one.
Please feel free to share your ideas as well!
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A special request, an Autism Birthday Wish

birthday cupcakeMy birthday is coming up, June 5th, and I wanted to ask a special request of you.

No I don’t want presents or money. I don’t really even want anyone to know that it is my birthday to be honest. I’m quite content with just going about my business.

However, there are a few things that I’d like for you to do for me, if you’d be so inclined. I’ve listed them below and I ask that you do one or more or all of them.

Donate to the charity of your choice

It would mean even more to me if it’s an Autism charity but it’s not necessary. If you have a favourite charity that improves peoples lives, that really helps people and is working hard to make a real difference, please make a donation.

I’m not asking for any specific amount, nor for you to do it in my name. I’m not even giving you a charity or list of charities to choose from. But to just do it because I asked you too.

Volunteer your time

Much like charity, donating your time is a wonderful way to help out and make a difference. It need only be for a few hours, it can be in any place that works to benefit people.

Just set aside some time one day and dedicate a little time to volunteering at a place that will have you. It doesn’t even have to be on June 5th. You can do it one long week-end where you get an extra day off anyhow.

Don’t let the negativity out one time

This is something that I practice as much as I can and it really does make a difference in your own personal life.

What I do is, each day, I catch myself before I say, write, share or even think one negative thing. Whether it’s me thinking that I can’t do something or being upset with someone else for what they said or did… I stop myself, realize what it is that I’m doing and stop myself.

Instead, I think I can do it, I am not here to judge and I don’t have to get into an argument just because someone on the internet was wrong (that one is hard!).

One time, when you feel down on yourself or get mad at someone in the next few days, or each day if you can…. think about me and think about how I asked that you not do it.


I don’t need anything for myself. What I really want is for people to stop fighting, for people to work together and for people to pitch in a few of their off hours or a little money.

You don’t have to tell me you did it and you don’t have to do it in my name. Just do it and feel good about doing it.

That’s what I like to see most.

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Here is how a small donation may get you an Ipad

iPads have become the go to device, not just in every day life, but also in treating Autism. So much so that there was actually a segment on Autism in Apple’s iPad 2 launch video.

If you know all of this already, then you probably have heard of Shannon Rosa and her son Leo. If you haven’t you should start here: iHelp for Autism.

Shortly following that, Apple was in their house filming that launch video that I mentioned just a moment ago. Yes, it’s Shannon and Leo in that video.

Now they’re giving you the chance to win an iPad in a raffle just as they have… not only that but it will come preloaded with a bunch of their favourite Autism apps.

Visit Leo’s ipad Raffle at http://www.crowdrise.com/leosipadraffle and make a small donation to the Autism Science Foundation, $10 will do… or more if you’re so inclined.

Each $10 will get you a raffle ticket that goes towards your chance of winning the iPad.

Imagine, an iPad, lots of great apps and all it costs is your donation of $10 towards an Autism charity. It’s kind of a win/win/win situation.

Hurry though, the raffle ends on April 29th at 12pm PST. The draw will be at 1pm PST that same day using random.org.

For more information, visit her blog post about it: Leo’s iPad Raffle

And for more about Shannon Rosa, visit her sites Squidalicious and The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism

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Happening right now, it’s still Autism Awareness Month

I’ve been receiving a lot of emails recently, people offering me copies of movies, products to review, information on charity events, surveys or new book launches… it’s very obvious that it’s a busy month in the Autism community!

Short Survey

The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) is conducting an online poll concerning autism awareness and government policy. It’s only 3 questions, so please take a moment to give your input here: http://www.theautismprogram.org/

Autism and Golf

On Saturday, April 30, the Tucson Autism Community Center is hosting its annual Autism Charity Golf Classic at the beautiful Tubac Golf Resort & Spa. The special guest will be Rodney Peete, NFL veteran quarterback and author of recent acclaimed book, “Not My Boy! A Father, A Son, & One Family’s Journey with Autism.” The book highlights Peete’s family’s experiences raising a child with autism and is told from the often unheard point of view of the father. All proceeds for the event will benefit the Tucson Alliance for Autism (TAFA). The weekend will incorporate other autism-related events as well.

The tournament will take place at Tubac Golf Resort & Spa, a luxurious hotel with a state-of-the-art golf course (“Tin Cup” was filmed there) and world-class spa.



Big Daddy Autism wrote a book!

The truly remarkable part is that it’s not in crayon… there are some cartoons though.

This book takes a look at Autism from a father’s point of view but it also incorporates humour as it demonstrates that there really is a lighter side to Autism sometimes.

The book includes some of his blog posts from http://www.bigdaddyautism.com, some of his cartoon work as well as contributions from many other parents around the Autism community.

Read more about it and buy it here: Big Daddy’s Tales From the Lighter Side of Raising a Kid With Autism


Big Daddy's Tales From the Lighter Side of Raising a Kid With Autism

Big Daddy's Tales From the Lighter Side of Raising a Kid With Autism

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Raise Money for Charity and Get a Great Gift – Bill Goldberg!


Congrats to Bill Goldberg (@therealgoldberg) and to all who participated in raising US $3,901.99 for charity, the money will go towards raising a school for orphaned children in Haiti. Also, a hearty congrats to all of the celebs who took part in this auction for such a good cause, many of whom also put some extras into the prize list to entice as much generosity as possible.

These tweets are from Bill Goldberg:

In this economy,asking someone to give $4 to charity comes with a sense of guilt..but to get $3,900 for my #TwitChange auction.. #SPEECHLESS

**********THANK YOU ALL*********

Please read all of this, even if you don’t know who Bill Goldberg is. It’s for charity and it’s important. Thank you.

If you are in the slighest bit involved in Twitter, you’ve probably heard about the TwitChange charity going on right now. If not, it is a twitter based charity from a LOT of celebrities, where you bid on eBay to have your favourite celebrity follow you on Twitter, mention you, retweet you, etc.

Some celebrities are matching the winning bids to double the money sent to those in Haiti, some are offering a few extras… and then, there’s Bill Goldberg.

The reason for this post is that even though I am aware that you may not know who he is (most of my readers are hard working moms), I am most certain that someone in your family does…. husband, father, son…. women who love good action??

Bill Goldberg was the first and only man to go undefeated for 173 matches in WCW wrestling, even beating Hulk Hogan during his run. He went on to star in television shows and movies, like Universal Soldier: The Return and The Longest Yard.

The reason I’m writing this today, instead of my usual advice or experiences on Autism is that I believe that this is a great charity, goes to a great cause and I’m inspired by all that Bill Goldberg is willing to do above and beyond what is asked of him to raise money.

In addition to following the winner, or other twitter stuff… he’s willing to phone the winner for a personal call, do a webcam chat, give the winner his name plaque from Pros vs Joes, some memorabilia from his movie The Longest Yard and even have the winner visit him in San Diego. In fact, he’ll pick up the winner at the airport personally in the muscle car of your choice (well, from what he has in his garage).

On top of this, he’ll continue to add on to the pile of winnings for each day that the charity runs, which still has 5 days remaining as of the time of this writing.

Even if you do not know who he is, even if the things he’s done does not interest you, someone in your family likely does. Ask around, find out, get this as a gift if you can. If you can’t afford these bids, ask those people anyway because maybe they can, or can find a way and would like to win this great package.

Bill Goldberg is doing a wonderful thing far beyond what is asked of him and I’m saddened to see that the support just isn’t there. The bids aren’t that high. However, that is good news for you as you could get all these winnings for someone in your family at a relatively low bid.

I have vowed to support him as best I can because I, like many who read my blog, do not have much to offer but we still support each other, especially when what we support is a wonderful cause. And this is one.

Other celebrities are getting tons of bids simply based on who they are. That’s great, they do not require my support nor warrant it quite as much because they are simply coasting on their fame and not offering any more than what is asked of them. I still wish them the best, of course.

But if I can help Bill Goldberg get even one more bid than what he had previously, then I have to try. It’s worth it.

You can bid for Bill Goldberg here: http://cgi.ebay.com/TWITCHANGE-Bill-Goldberg-Twitter-Pkg-therealgoldberg-/300468032373?pt=Tickets_Experiences&hash=item45f54a5375

Updated Listing, You get:

Bill Goldberg (@therealgoldberg):

  • follow you on twitter
  • retweet you
  • mention you
  • he’ll phone you
  • do a uStream webcam chat with you
  • you get his autobiography – signed
  • his name plaque from Pro’s vs Joe’s
  • swag from his movie The Longest Yard
  • he’ll pick you up in San Diego personally in the muscle car of your choice
  • dinner
  • VIP concert at @BellyUpMusic
  • Alice Cooper signed guitar
  • @TheFatBoys CD set
  • @TheFatBoys will follow you on twitter as well
  • $100 gift card from AutoZone
  • gift card for Dominos
  • @HeadBlade shaving kit
  • more!

And he’s not done adding more!

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