A Visit To (the) SPAA

Nope, that is not a type-o.

Tonight, I was asked to speak to Students Promoting Autism Awareness (SPAA), the student group on campus at FSU dedicated to raising autism awareness on campus.  Through Miracle Sports, I had been fortunate to interact with many of the members, and Kaitlyn’s #1 buddy at Miracle is the SPAA President.  I had the good fortune to attend another SPAA meeting earlier this year, but this is the first time I had gotten to speak to the group.

The topic for tonight was a parent’s perspective on autism and Asperger’s.  Basically, I shared our experience from day one.  I shared the frustrations and the victories we have had in our dealings with the school district, and was open and honest about the challenges we face every day with Kaitlyn.

What I enjoyed most is taking questions from the group.  To me, I felt it would be more effective and informative to have the group ask things they were interested in knowing, rather than just hear me share our experiences.  And there were a lot of great questions.  To be able to answer the questions and possibly further pique the interest of the members was amazing.  I invited the members to spend some time with us and with Kaitlyn if they wanted to, just so they could really get that “hands-on” experience.

I am really impressed, though, about the level of enthusiasm from the group.  These students get it.  I cannot thank them enough for what they do on campus and throughout the community.  They have a number of events that they participate in each year, and a good number of the members volunteer at Miracle.  I continue to be excited about the future because of these students; if they continue to educate themselves and the community, and be advocates for autism awareness, people like us and like Kaitlyn are the real winners.  I hope to be invited back sometime, if even just to sit in on their meeting and marvel at what they are planning and what they have accomplished; I know Kaitlyn would love to join me sometime as well, especially since she will get to see her buddy.

I hope that SPAA continues to grow in enthusiastic membership.  Just as we can never have too many volunteers at Miracle, there can never be too many advocates for individuals with autism.

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