Over the past ten years, autism awareness has increased dramatically.
More is known about the disorder than ever and acceptance is now the main topic of discussion. Several notable organizations and people have stepped up in an effort to educate and promote autism. Niklas Kronwall, a defenseman for the Detroit Red Wings, donated tickets to every home game to families living with autism. Kronwall felt moved when Michigan State University basketball player Anthony Ianni spoke about overcoming his challenges with autism.
Up in New York City, the New York Mets have created a “quiet section” for families with autistic children. This April, they are offering tickets to numerous groups for Autism Awareness Month. The Theater Development Fund in NYC has also contributed to the cause with its autism-friendly shows on Broadyway.
As autism has become more and more prevalent in today’s society and culture, more people have stepped up to help these wonderful individuals. My parents run a non-profit group (A.A.L.I.V.E.) to help fund some events for adults with autism. Since the charity’s inception five years ago, A.A.L.I.V.E. has built and fostered many relationships. One of the deepest relationships is with Juniper Hill Farms.
Juniper Hill Farms is not a group home, nor is it a facility. It is “a model of independent living for adults on the autism spectrum.” They go on outings in the community and do chores on the farm. Basically, they live like everybody else.
I have had the good fortune of meeting some of these fantastic people through my parent’s work. I’d like to introduce some of them to you.
Brent – Brent was one of the first people I met from Juniper Hills. He is incredible at making blankets. My parents have bought a couple of them. You can check them out here. Brent may be on the quiet side when you first meet him, but he’s one of the most fun people to be around.
Andy – Andy is one of the most fun people I have ever met. There is never a dull moment with him. If you’re ever having a bad day, Andy should be the first person to call. It’s impossible to be sad around him.
Ray – Who needs college when you can talk to Ray? He’s a walking encyclopedia.