Sunday Dec 18, 2022
Sunday Dec 18, 2022
Sunday Dec 18, 2022
Hi, friends! Thanks so much for joining me on this podcast! I feel like each time I do a podcast now, I’m apologizing for not being consistent in the recordings. I was doing so well before COVID, and even early on during the pandemic. Then what happened? Well, virtual school happened, my work life was thrown upside down on its head, and I started experiencing extreme anxiety. I’ve battled with anxiety for nearly all of my life, but everything really just imploded. I had to take a step back to focus on getting healthy, being there for my family, and keeping my business afloat. It was a lot, but I feel like we’re on the other side and I’ve been able to start getting back into the swing of things…and have even added a few more projects to my plate. Not sure my mother agrees with this, but these projects are ones that feed my soul, and give me energy…so that’s good, right? So, I wanted to take some time to do a reintroduction and an update on what has actually been going on. There are so many exciting things happening, and I really do feel like there has been a shift in mindset.
I live in Kentucky with my amazing husband Cameron, and the beat of my heart, my son, Alex. He’s NINE years old now and in the third grade. That sounds so unreal. I’m not sure where all the time is going!
Several months ago, My Autism Tribe hosted an event at one of our local hotels in the community. It was just a fun event, but while having fun, we also educated our community about the autism spectrum, and Alex even took the microphone, introduced himself, and we shared some back-and-forth Q&A. I had absolutely no expectations on how the evening would go, but there were so many great questions asked, relationships that were developed, and Alex was amazing! So that kinda kicked off our reintroduction with the nonprofit. Then, another amazing thing happened!
We were connected with a local sheriff's department wanting to provide autism training to their officers. So, after a few meetings and several months later, My Autism Tribe partnered with them to create a video series that can be uploaded into their system so that officers can watch them in their spare time. Why is this important? Well, you can’t take all the officers off the road at the same time to conduct in-person training, so with the videos, all of them can still participate in the training…which is absolutely critical in the education and awareness of how first responders need to provide service in emergency situations with those on the spectrum. And because of this partnership, we have also now been contacted with other surrounding counties to provide the same. And if any of you listening know of someone that would like more information on how we created the video segments, reach out and let us know!
On a slightly different path, but with the passion coming from the same place and the inspiration being my son, I’ve also been working on creating a children’s book series. It all started about four years ago, when I wrote a couple of stories for my son to help explain differences and challenges he was experiencing. I was told by several people that I should write more, so I did. Well, this eventually led to the creation of this series called DinoSprout, and is published by Rainbow Sparrow Books. Through the DinoSprout book series, the overall mission is to provide children, parents AND teachers/therapists with resources that cultivate healthy conversations. I really wanted a way to provide children with a mirror and a window into the special needs world. A mirror would provide children with special needs to see and learn about themselves, and a window would provide children without certain special needs to learn about others. And it’s an A-Z collection of dinosaurs! So you have the first two books, “Stella, the Sweet and Spunky Stegosaurus”, and Toby, the Terrific and Talented T-Rex”. Stella is nonverbal, Toby has sensory processing challenges, and other dinosaurs in the A-Z are also woven through each story. Drew the Dyrosaurus has ADHD, Brody the Brachiosaurus has a brace on his leg, Alex the Allosaurus has anxiety, Hadley the Hadrosaurus has food allergies. You get the idea. I researched illustrators for over a year, and then my husband finally said, “Why don’t you illustrate them yourself??” I do paint, but my paintings look nothing like a children’s illustration, but I thought I would give it a whirl. I wanted the books to be fun, simple, with drawings that children could easily connect with. Think of Pete the Cat. My son loved those books, and illustrations. So, over a year later we have released the first two books on Amazon, AND I’ve even partnered up with a Ph.D. professor Sarah Hawkins-Lear to create educational activities and curriculum that teachers can incorporate into the educational environments. It’s something that I’m not only extremely proud of, but am also so passionate about. We need to start these conversations at a young age! I’ve visited several classrooms, and it’s amazing to see the children have these AHA! Moments. Hearing things like “I know someone that has to use headphones”, “My sister can’t say words”, “Sometimes I don’t know how to make friends”. I’ve literally left classrooms and have cried. These children are yearning for connections, and they really do want to be inclusive! It’s the crazy world around us, and sadly some of the home environments, that turn this behavior in other directions. So, we need to reach them young, and reach them when they are hungry for positive relationships! The books are for ages 3-8ish, so if you or anyone else would like more information, check ‘em out! Stella and Toby are both on Amazon, or you can go to RainbowSparrowBooks.com for more information as well. I’m planning on having Sarah, the professor that I’m working with, on a podcast as well so she can share how they are being integrated. She’s a wealth of information, and such an amazing human being. I’ll provide some links in the show notes.
Thank you so much for allowing me to join you today. Reach out to me on social media, send me a note, ask a question. I really do want to be with you on your journey, and I would love to have you as part of my tribe. We all need one. Love each and every one of you. Be well, and I’ll speak with you soon!
Books Currently on Amazon:
- Stella, the Sweet and Spunky Stegosaurus:
- Toby, the Terrific and Talented T-Rex: