I realized that I never told Syd that she has autism. It wasn’t that I was ashamed or didn’t want her to identify with her autism. I didn’t know if she would understand. Over time when Syd has struggled at school, with social situations. I began to bring up the A word.
Syd loves her walk team Sydney’s Super Squad and she knows that we attend autism friendly events. I think autism made sense to her just last year when she advocated at Legislative Hall for autism awareness.
Earlier this week the social worker at the hospital said that Syd should make people aware of her autism, especially first responders, and law enforcement. Her example was “Hi! My name is Sydney Copher and I have autism.” A simple statement, but one that would help others to be patient and communicate with her.
I made autism power cards for Syd to carry in her purse that state she has autism and epilepsy and we use these power cards as a teaching moment when we are in public, in the event that Syd is experiencing a meltdown or seizure.
Autism looks different for all individuals, so raising awareness is still crucial for our kids. Syd is deciding on what type of bracelet she wants that will display her medical information. Her mood for things changes quickly, so I’m not sure she would wear the bracelet all of the time. Or would she take it off and lose it? Having Sydney prepared with this information in her communication device and in her wallet will help her, but I also will continue to have her practice stating all of this information to me.
Our autism conversation prompted me to discuss other disabilities. Syd got her Barbie and we role played different scenarios. I don’t want Syd to be ashamed or embarrassed about having autism. I want her to embrace it and kick ass in this world!!! One thing I know is that if you are lucky enough to meet Sydney your life will be changed and you won’t forget her!!