Research demonstrates that job activities that encourage independence reduce autism symptoms and increase daily living skills.
Welcome to the latest blog post on the sixth annual Autism Awareness Blog Hop, hosted by the wonderful RJ Scott. I don’t think there’s anyone in the world today who doesn’t have a friend or family member who is either on the autism spectrum or who supports someone close to them who is. My own dear mom used to run a Brownie troop for some autistic teens at our local school, and it was always a blast helping her out on free afternoons. It’s an honor to be a part of something that endeavors to reduce the stigma surrounding autism and to generate donations for this very worthy cause.
The theme this year is childhood toys, which ties in nicely with some thoughts I’ve been having lately about storytelling and superheroes. A kind of origin story for myself as a writer, I guess. Watching Captain Marvel recently, I thought of how much I wish I could have seen a film like that when I was a nascent geek. But then I remembered that I did have my own version of Captain Marvel in She-Ra, Princess of Power.
Though I started out playing with Star Wars action figures, I quickly graduated to She-Ra and her fantabulous, kick-ass friends. There was so much to love. She-Ra was both outspoken Princess Adora and a fearsome fighter with a secret badass identity. She flew around on a crystal Pegasus. She had a legion of friends with multicolored hair and cool powers — one had a peacock fan! One had butterfly wings! One had long twisty pink and lavender braids! One was cold as ice in shades of blue! (No, I don’t remember their names.)
Some kids spent their afternoons outdoors. I could always be found in my bedroom, my imagination transforming every possible surface into some alien landscape against which my girl power dramas played out. There were epic battles — not stereotypical cat fights, but those of sheildmaidens who could smoke you with a roundhouse kick — betrayals, conquests, and adventure. The kind of tales a little girl seeking her very own heroine’s journey might tell herself in the privacy of her creative space. It’s where I learned to be a writer, where I learned to be me.
The stories we tell ourselves in childhood influence the adult we will become, which is why it’s so important that families with autistic children have the support they need to make sure their kids get a good start on learning to be themselves and have every chance to be independent adults. I hope you’ll consider a small donation, either to Autism Canada or RJ’s preferred charity, Lindengate.
To read all the posts and join the hop, here’s the master list.
And this wouldn’t be any fun at all without a giveaway! What was your favorite childhood toy? What inspired you to be a writer? Comment below to win a free copy of any one of my books! (Please include your email address in the comment.)