This blog post was written by Allison Hill, author of Jacob’s Special Power. Hill is an autism advocate who is passionate about encouraging acceptance for individuals with special needs. Allison writes a blog at www.jacobsjourneythroughautism.blogspot.com that is inspired by her youngest son, Jacob, who is diagnosed with autism. Find a walk near you here!
Walk Now for Autism Speaks has been important to my family throughout the years. Our youngest son, Jacob, has autism. We participate in the walk because we see how valuable research is for Jacob’s life and for all those affected by autism. Jacob is on the more severe end of the spectrum. Although he is very smart, he has limited communication, no sense of danger and prone to wandering, and has to attend an ABA clinic to learn life skills. Jacob is full of joy and has taught our family so much about love, acceptance, hard work, and the value of all people. Having Jacob in our lives has really opened our hearts tremendously.
Each year that we partake in the walk, my daughter, Jordan, and her cousin, Makaylee, come up with fun and unique ways to try and raise money. Jordan is very close with her brother. From a young age, she took a serious and intentional interest in watching how Jacob’s ABA therapists communicated with him, so that she could imitate it and connect with her brother in his own way. She and Makaylee are very passionate about helping people understand autism and special needs and treating those individuals with kindness and acceptance. One year they held a lemonade stand and another a snow cone stand to raise money and hand out information about autism and all about Jacob and the need for research. They even raised close to $1000!
This year they decided to do something a little different. Just a few days ago, the girls came to me with a big surprise. They told me that they had written a song to help get donations. They said that they wanted to do something that Jacob could look back on and always know how much they loved him. Jordan told me that she sees how much Jacob struggles and the way people stare at him and that he deserves better. The girls just knew that people would want to get on board with this great cause and donate to Autism Speaks. So, they spent hours writing their own lyrics to Taylor Swift’s popular tune “Shake It Off”. I simply couldn’t believe how kind and thoughtful the song was. After sharing it on Facebook, the girls brought in donations, just as they’d hoped. I can’t help but to be so very thankful for their compassionate hearts.
The autism walk has been an avenue for our family to spread autism awareness and acceptance. It helps us raise donations to fund research for causes, prevention, treatments, and a cure for autism. The walk means a lot to us because Jacob means a lot to us. We want to help him and all those affected by autism in all the ways that we can.
FYI: In case you haven't seen Taylor Swift's original "Shake it Off" music video, it's below: