When I was approached by Dr. Mike Woo-Ming about his latest endeavor, which is to help and create awareness for an important cause that's also affecting him at a very personal level, I wanted to do my part.
I could simply write about it and tell you what's going on. I certainly couldn't write about the issue specifically because, fortunately, it doesn't affect my family.
But I recently discovered that this issue hits very close to home for one of my coaching students, Mila Sidman. Mila is also a great writer. So rather than writing a blog post myself on a topic I know little about, I decided to ask her to write today's blog post as a guest blogger, instead.
You'll soon realize why…
The latest statistics show that 1 out of 150 children have autism (up from 1 out of 10,000 just two decades ago).
I believe there are many more that have mild cases of autism and remain undiagnosed. Often times, they go through life being labeled as “strange” and in school they may be seen as troublemakers or “bad.”
For families living with autistic children there is a daily struggle to do even the simplest of tasks. Getting ready for school in the mornings or going out to dinner can be an ordeal.
And raising other “normal” children in a household with an autistic child means siblings often get pushed to the side or have to just deal with it, as the autistic child needs so much extra help and attention.
I know of these experiences all too well.
My 9 year-old-son has Asperger's Syndrome also known as high-functioning autism.
Ever since he was a baby, I knew there was something different about my son. The toddler years in our house were filled with turmoil, many everyday things like going to the supermarket or park would send my son into an extreme crying or screaming fit. At times he would hide and just rock and cry.
I felt helpless as a mother and thought I must be doing something wrong because I couldn't comfort my child.
Around the age of 5 or 6 things got much worst.
School can be a scary place for an autistic child. Some of his teachers were loving and understanding, but others weren't. I'll never forget one substitute teacher saying to me, “Your child acts like he's possessed, something needs to be done to stop him or he will grow up to be a monster.”
You see my son started screaming because he couldn't take the sensory stimulation from an experiment they were doing in class (he can't deal with loud noises).
At the age of 7 we had to pull him out of the public school system because he was having night terrors about going to school and was being bullied by his peers. He would cry and scream all the way to school and back. I had to drag him out of the car and leave him in a terrible state. One day, I couldn't face it anymore and didn't send him back.
It was a struggle but I knew I needed to find another solution.
My son turns 10 in a few days and he's slowly learning to deal with many of his symptoms. He can now control his ‘stimming' to a certain extent. Autistic children tend to stim and flap their arms and hands at certain times.
He's also a very kind child and has learned to play the piano. He loves computers and enjoys playing with his younger brother and sister.
I do worry about the future. What will it be like when he's a teenager? Children tend to become less accepting as they age and peer pressure kicks in. How will he cope when he has to live on his own? Will he ever go to university or get a good job? Will he ever get married and have children of his own?
And if all that isn't enough to worry about, parents of autistic children have other battles to fight. To get the right education and treatment for their child, they have to jump through what seems like an endless array of hoops and red tape.
Most insurance companies don't cover important therapies autistic children need such as occupational or speech therapy. In our case, we have to pay out of pocket for ALL expenses.
We have speech therapy costs, occupational therapy, and school costs. The public education system isn't geared to give autistic children the help and support they need, so the choices are find a specialist private school or let your child pay the price in other ways.
Where other families are saving for college or family vacations and retirement, all our money goes to get our son the extra help he needs… thousands and thousands of dollars just so that he can have a somewhat normal life and not fall through the cracks.
And we're lucky.
I can sit at my computer and work till 2 or 3 in the morning to make a little extra money, but many other parents don't have a way of paying for these things and unfortunately their children don't get the help they need. What will happen to these kids in the future?
When I heard Dr. Mike Woo-Ming has put on an event to help autistic children and their families, I was very touched. Dr. Mike himself has a 7 year-old-son who has Asperger's syndrome.
Through hard work and a strong will to make a difference and ‘do something' to change things, he's brought over 50 top marketers together for a good cause.
That cause is Marketers on a Mission.
These marketers have donated some of their best-selling courses and materials for this cause. The internet marketing community never seizes to amaze me; this is such a generous and giving group. And this latest event cements just how much people care.
By donating to this cause, you'll be helping many families who are struggling daily to help their children lead a normal life. All proceeds 100% go to the Pioneer Learning Center, a school specifically that helps children on the autism spectrum including Asperger's, ADD, and other social integration disorders.
Please open your heart and help. You'll feel good, make a big difference to a child's life, and get some very valuable educational marketing materials in the process. Go there now…
Thank you, Mila, for such a great article. I equally ask you to do the same. Go check out the website and find out how you can be a part of this worthy cause.
Michel Fortin is a senior marketing specialist, renowned copywriter, and digital marketing expert. For the better part of 30 years, he's produced countless successful marketing communications and profitable campaigns that generated in excess of $300 million in sales. He's broken many industry sales records, including being instrumental behind the first ever “million-dollar day” online marketing campaign in 2004. He's worked with thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world in a wide variety of industries on building their businesses, improving their marketing, and increasing their profits. He's a published author and often speaks at industry events. To connect with him, visit his LinkedIn profile where he is most active.