Our 🌈 Rainbow 🌈 Connection

Autism is a beautiful spectrum.

 

In April, during Autism Acceptance Month, we asked one of our mentors who is a BCBA and Managing Director for Proactive Life Skills to write a blog post about autism for us.

Kelly Noda is one of the many mentors listed as a resource on our website. Kelly has both parental and professional expertise in working with autistic children and their families. She helps schools support these students in inclusive settings.

Kelly’s passion is finding a way forward for Catholic schools to be inclusive.

Her experience and expertise are gifts that she is willing to share in an open hearted, grace-filled way through our organization and we are so grateful.

Kelly reminds us that just as students with autism are on a spectrum…the diversity and beauty of a rainbow is a spectrum as well.

Each color adding a one-of-a-kind and unrepeatable vibrancy that our world needs.

SHOUT OUT TO THE AMAZING KELLY NODA!

Thank you Kelly for your willingness to share your insight here.
We are forever grateful.

*****

“I think at this point most people are aware of the developmental disability known as autism. The month
of April as Autism Awareness Month was established in 1970 and today marks a season where buildings
are “lighting up blue,” and puzzle piece icons abound. This is the time of year when the news likes to
highlight stories associated with families living with autism.

This is also when many of the people in my life ask me why the diagnosis rate is increasing.
“Is it the food we eat?”, they ask me,

“What about vaccines?” (Definitively NOT)

I don’t really know why the CDC now reports 1 in 59 children are identified with autism spectrum disorder. But from my personal and professional experience, this is what I do know:

Autism affects each person differently.

Some kids I work with, you would not be able to tell they have
any need at all for therapy services.
Their conversation skills might need a little fine tuning.
They might not understand when people are laughing at them rather than with them.
They might not process loss or change as well as others.
Some might use technology or picture cards to help express themselves.
Or they might be a little behind with managing emotions and regulating themselves when things are difficult.

You see, autism is a spectrum, and everyone is on a different wavelength of development.

Everyone.

Not just kids with a diagnosis.

Not just kids who flap or stim.

Not just kids who talk with a different tone or use big words or touch an icon on an ipad to ask for
things.

Everyone.

Developmental milestones are general.
Just because a certain skill hasn’t emerged by a certain timedoesn’t mean it never will.

The S is ASD stands for spectrum.

Do you know what spectrum actually means?

A spectrum is a band of colors, as seen in a rainbow, produced by separation of the components of light
by their different degrees of refraction according to wavelength.

Rainbows are beautiful.

In fact, as Christians we believe they’re a symbol of God’s promise.

Can you envision a monochromatic world where we can see in only one color? Depressing!

When we take time to get to know each other, we can see beyond a diagnosis and the developmental
gaps that might mean.

We might see different shades of the same color.

Want to know what I’ve been lucky to see?

I’ve seen joy expressed in creative ways. Abilities beyond what I and others can do. New ways to see
things and say things.

A spectrum so beautiful, it has to be divinely created.

We’re all aware that people are being diagnosed with autism more now than ever.
But are we aware of the beautiful spectrum that exists across our kids with and without diagnoses?
More importantly, are we ready to accept and celebrate the differences in our classrooms and in our world?

Just imagine the possibilities and creativity that result from a palette with different degrees of refraction.”
-Kelly Noda for The National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion
** Kelly is one of our mentors who are willing to support you as you work to begin inclusion in your Catholic school.
Reach out to her here:

https://fullinclusionforcatholicschools.org/supporters-of-inclusion/inclusion-mentors-for-teachers/