Sara Mae Hickey knew she wanted to be a difference maker for a long time. She considered the Peace Corps after she graduated fromSkidmore in 2012, but she soon realized her most important cause was at home — her sister Emily.
And so at 23, Hickey is the owner of Puzzles Bakery & Cafe, which is set to open sometime between April and June at 515 State St. in Schenectady and will employ adults on the autism spectrum and who have other disabilities, a group studies have shown to be severely underemployed. She's also the president and founder of the nonprofit The Autism Initiative, which helps provide educational and recreational programming to those in the autism community.
Hickey's sister Emily, who is on the cusp of turning 21, has autism and is considered low-functioning. She requires constant care, has a limited vocabulary for her age and is unable to live on her own. When Hickey was in kindergarten, she toted a pamphlet about autism along to class, a result of her parents' longtime involvement with the local chapter of the Autism Society of America. In a lot of ways, Emily's disability shaped Hickey's path.
"My whole life she's always been a big inspiration to me. I've always seen the bigger picture. We know so many families who are affected by this disability," says Hickey, who has bachelor's degrees in anthropology and government from Skidmore College and a master's certificate in nonprofit management from SUNY Purchase. "I don't think everyone really understands it's a lifelong disability. These children become adults, and they live a very long time."
To read more: http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/Puzzles-to-fill-a-special-need-5261216.php#photo-5931224
For more on The Autism Initiative, visit theautisminitiative.org.
For more on Puzzles Bakery & Cafe, visit www.facebook.com/Puzzles.Bakery.Cafe
Contact Sara Mae Hickey about either organization at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is so much to say to you all, you fierce soldiers of breakthrough. You grow up in the same house as one they call “special,” and that carries more weight than we understand. It means that your parents’ eyes look past you. That we take it for granted that you are whole even when you are not. It means that you give and give and give. Every big sister shares with her siblings, but most of them don’t give away their entire portion. You do it. Often.
You watched your brother grow bigger but not older. We had that talk, introducing you to that mysterious word, “autism,” but you already knew something was wrong. When did you figure it out? Was it when you saw other boys trying to play with him? Or when he threw himself on the floor and screamed in the lobby of the bank? I hope it was something like that, and not something we, your parents, did. Because I’m sure you saw the change in us, too. We traded in our laughter for dark clouds and chronic busyness—not just from the doctors’ appointments, but from the other appointments, too. The ones that took our joy and concentration even when we sat next to you on the sofa.
To read more click here: http://www.jasonhague.com/2013/02/25/a-salute-to-the-siblings-of-autism/
Dylan Siegel, 7, would do anything for a friend -- especially if that friend is his best one, 8-year-old Jonah Pournazarian. The pair has been inseparable ever since they met in preschool, when Dylan learned that Jonah faces a rare battle their other classmates didn't -- glycogen storage disease, or GSD, according to LEX 18. The condition causes Jonah's blood sugar to drop to potentially fatal levels, forcing his parents to follow an inflexible, round-the-clock schedule of feeding Jonah through a stomach tube in order to keep his metabolism stable, according to ABC News.
GSD does not have a cure. And, to Dylan, that is unacceptable. So, back in 2013, when he was 6 years old, Dylan wrote a book to help his friend and others struggling with the disease. But, it's not your typical page-turner, every penny from sales of "Chocolate Bar" -- a term used by Dylan to mean "awesome" -- goes directly to a lab at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Fla., which is working on a cure for the disease. "It is now reality. It's not just a dream that these children can be cured," Dr. David Weinstein, who runs the University of Florida lab, told Fox 17. To date, Dylan has raised more than $750,000 in the fight against GSD. Before the money began pouring in from book sales, funding for Weinstein's research was falling flat, ABC News reported. "Chocolate Bar" has given those suffering from GSD renewed hope for a better tomorrow.
To read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/12/boy-writes-book-for-charity_n_4949967.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl28%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D453593
Please visit website Dylan and Jonah's website: http://chocolatebarbook.com/
Carly Fleischmann has autism and cannot speak. She communicates with her family and the wider world using computers and tablets -- a skill she began to develop when she was 10, and for years, has been an advocate for autism awareness.
One of the 18-year-old's most creative communications, a 2012 short film called"Carly's Cafe," presents a typical coffee shop outing as the teenager herself would experience it: She can't express what she wants out loud -- be it a cup of coffee or the chance to spend her evening doing something without her sister -- and as the video progresses, spectators get a sense (briefly) of a world where basic interactions are beyond their control.
The film was released along with a complementary website that received a Silver Lion in the Cyber Lions category of the Cannes Lions Awards. It is based on an excerpt from the book the 18-year-old and her dad, Arthur Fleischmann, co-wrote. "Carly's Cafe" gained attention after its release and was shown at the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. It closes with Carly's message: "Everyone has an inner voice. I found a way to let mine out." What am amazing person to be able to do this. It gives people a different perspective with in inside look into Autism.
I first found this article on the Autism Now FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/AutismNowCenter
To read more about Carly please visit her website at: http://carlysvoice.com/
When Gabby Abramowitz was younger, she was cautious about inviting new friends to the house. She wasn't sure how they would react to her younger brother, Ben, who is autistic.
And she didn't want a repeat of the Simpsons incident. That was the time she had a friend over for dinner, and Ben sat at the table reciting the entire "Treehouse of Horror" Simpsons Halloween special.
Gabby pleaded with him to stop, but he persisted. "My friend was like, 'What's going on?' and then started laughing," she said.At that time, she was in elementary school and lacked the words and understanding to explain her brother's condition. But with the help of her parents and through her own study, Gabby, now 16 and a sophomore at Tenafly High School, has grown to understand the nuances of autism and often speaks out to teach her peers while growing closer to Ben, 14.
Through her research, she found that her experiences, and those of others like her, often are overlooked. "I think the effect on siblings is underestimated. We get pushed into the background."
Read more: http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/autisms-effect-normal-siblings-09277321#ixzz2v2F3NBHL
Rebecca is an independent publisher working to help siblings of children with emotional challenges.