Autism: Building a Community Mindset

Autism Building a Community

With it being Autism Awareness Month, I thought I would share one foundation that has been very inspiring. We all see rich and famous people helping with charities and yet oftentimes they are nothing more than a plea for donations. Many of you may have seen Kate Winslet’s face lately, whether on television or your local news stands, but do not know about her nonprofit organization, “The Golden Hat Foundation”. I didn’t either, until I saw an incredible documentary, “A Mothers Courage”, narrated by Kate Winslet. It’s about a mother with a non verbal autistic son from Ireland who travels to the USA to get help for him. Through the narrating of this documentary, Winslet decided to create a foundation for autism, not to find a cure, but to help bring the attention of this disorder to all people. I have included her site. This is one remarkable story she shares about Margaret, the mother. Winslet has written a book about it, called the “Golden Hat”. To read more on this story, click here.

Having read such great stories about ways to raise awareness regarding autism, I am hoping to attain enough support to create a foundation, where all proceeds would stay right here in our community. This is my community, and we all need to be aware and educated on autism and the epidemic it is turning into. There are great resources available here but we need more. Our local fire departments and law enforcement all need to be involved. It’s not up to just our children’s teachers; it takes the community as a whole. My neighbors are part of my support system. They are aware of Jason’s autism and that he is prone to wandering. Make sure your neighbors are aware of your child’s disorder, especially if they have a pool or pond as there have been numerous instances of these children being attracted to water and unfortunately, far too many fatalities because of this. Having a whole community aware of this tendency may save your child’s life! Even the best parents can turn their heads for a second!

Things that we do to educate ourselves and promote awareness are to attend as many events as possible. We participate in the ““Walk Now for Autism” in Cleveland every year. This will be the sixth year for the event. We have participated all six years and the last five years we have had our own team, “J-Walking”, in honor of our son. If anyone would like to join us, the walk will be held August 19th at Voinovich Park in Cleveland. It is a nice paced walk by the Browns stadium and the Rock Hall. This is a fun and educational event that I look forward to every year. See Autism Speaks, team J-Walking, for more information.

Rachel Dannemiller
Author: Rachel Dannemiller

Rachel is a lifelong resident of Geauga County. She is married to Tom and has a son Jason, and a dog named Harley. Rachel and her family are devoted to bringing autism awareness to the community and they are organizing the local Autism Speaks event in Burton this year.