Apr 6, 2013

Autism Awareness Cake by Simply Sweets by Honeybee

Hi I'm Melissa from Simply Sweets by Honeybee. I would like to thank Kim for asking me to be a part of this great month long project to bring awareness to autism. It's an honor to be amongst all the talented individuals guest posting this month.

I have to admit that I was very nervous to be a part of this project because my knowledge of autism is limited. Until I met Kim I didn't know anyone with autism or with an autistic child. Everything I know has come from things I've heard in the news. There has been great debate about what causes autism. I'm not here to discuss that or try to educate you about autism. Instead, I'd like to focus on the individuals and families that are affected by it and what we can do to support them.

According to Autism-Society.org the puzzle pattern used in the autism awareness ribbon "reflects the mystery and complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope--hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and appropriate treatments, people with autism will lead fuller, more complete lives".

I made this cake to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of each individual with autism.
We can't lump people into a category and expect that they are all the same. Every individual with autism is as unique as you and me.

I grew up watching individuals give an occasional stare to my brother who has down syndrome. Yes he is different from "normal" people but he is one of the smartest individuals I know. Although he may still act like a child he has a memory that is sharp like a tack. He can watch a movie once and repeat it almost word for word the next time he watches it. When we would visit my sister in Houston he would remember exactly where to turn to get to her apartment. On one visit she had moved from the last time we saw her and my brother quickly told my dad that he had missed the turn. We didn't remember the area that well but he sure did.

People that don't know my brother can take one look at him and see that he has down's and make assumptions. Autism is no different. As a society we tend to look at individuals that are different from us or labeled with a condition and make assumptions about them. It's so important that we educate ourselves and get to know someone first before we make any assumptions.

I recently started watching a show on MTV called World of Jenks. It is a documentary in which Andrew Jenks follows the journeys of three individuals over the course of one year. One of the individuals is Chad. He's a young man with autism that is about to graduate high school and enter a new and unknown chapter of his life. I have become so captivated with Chad. He is outgoing and smart. He has quirks about him and is very set in his ways but he is a magnificent young man. I can't get enough of watching his story. I want to know how things turn out for him and how he handles the big changes happening in his life. If you can watch the show I encourage you to do so.

I'm really grateful for the show because it has helped me grow closer with Kim. I feel like I get a glimpse into her life with Collin. Kim also loves Chad and is watching his story. She's discussed with me how in some ways Chad has similarities to Collin but in other ways he is very different.

Although Kim and I have never met in person we have become great friends. She is a wonderful mother who has helped mold Collin into the young man that he is today. Very much like Chad, Collin is getting to the age where big changes are coming. Very soon he will be graduating and getting a job. I have no doubt that he will be a very successful young man. I look forward to hearing all about his accomplishments.

It's important to remember that behind every individual with autism are the family members that work hard to make sure that they grow up to lead full and complete lives. While finding a cause for autism is very important it is also very important to focus on supporting the families and individuals living with autism. If you are someone like me who is not directly affected by autism then ask yourself how can I educate myself more about it and what can I do to help?

Last year I had the opportunity to donate to Cookies for iPads. When I learned how an iPad could dramatically help a child with autism it made me so proud to know that I was a part of getting one into the hands of a child who needs it. I look forward to helping this organization for years to come.

I encourage you to find a local autism chapter and offer your support or you can support a group like Cookies for iPads. I promise you that your heart will be filled with joy to know that you helped make a difference.

11 comments:

  1. I seriously had goose bumps all over my body while reading this. You nailed it Melissa! The cake and story your wrote are truly beautiful.

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  2. Beautiful post, Melissa! You are absolutely correct...people see or hear a diagnosis and they "ass"ume they know how the person will act but in reality they do not.

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  3. Melissa, Your post is beautiful, and so is your cake! :)

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  5. I'm sitting here in tears...beautiful post. Those of us with Autistic children appreciate posts like this that touch the heart...because these children have so much heart. Thank you so much for your beautiful words and your beautiful cake!

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  6. Beautiful post, Melissa. Thanks for sharing the story of your brother.

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  7. Beautifully done Melissa. I didn't know about your brother. You can see the love and admiration you have for your brother from reading your story. The cake, people and puzzle cookies are perfect. Hugs! Cristin

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  8. WOW Melissa.. you did an awesome job. I love the cake and cookies too. I love how you shared your brothers story. You are amazing, and I am proud to call you and Kim "friends."

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  9. Beautiful story and beautiful work as usual. Your personal experience with you brother brings this post to life. All of us are striving to be ourselves in this world. For some it is easier and for some they have a harder road ahead of them- but loving and accepting them as they are is the best gift we can ever give.

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  10. Beautifully written, Melissa! I loved reading this post! ♥

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