If you would have asked me a decade ago, I would have had no idea I'd be championing the causes of people with different abilities. I was tucked away in my neurotypical world, enjoying my work and past times with no thought to the plight of so many others. I'm ashamed of this as I was once employed through a Memphis agency to work with those with disabilities to help them develop skills like public speaking. I'm most ashamed that, after the grants had dried up and I had moved on from the organization, that I didn't stay in touch with all those wonderful people that I had gotten to know. Occasionally I would look back at the photographs from those times with fondness, but I didn't stay in touch.
Now, with a child on the spectrum a huge part of my everyday life, I am constantly looking for new knowledge of laws, of resources, and of information in general to help our lives. Disability Scoop is one of those places I've found online that I like. The website, built like an online magazine, has the latest news concerning those with disabilities including laws, education, and more.
In 2014, I met the boy that would become my stepson. He walked into my Memphis, Tennessee home and immediately sat down to watch an episode of SpongeBob. A few months later, he met my biological son, and the family was formed. It wasn't long before I moved to Arkansas to make the family a legally binding organization.
So, what does this have to do with a website dedicated to "all things Arkansas?"
This website has been about people, places, and food with an emphasis on the outdoors, but how can you enjoy these things when you have a particular person in your life that, due to autism, has a difficult time with them? It is hard to go to a restaurant when one of the people in your crew only eats a (very small) handful of items. There are only so many places that serve chicken nuggets. How can one celebrate the outdoors when the sound of birds chirping causes one of your group to go into sensory overload? Camping is out. Travel becomes nearly impossible.
One thing that is a constant, however, is the struggle to find our way with an autistic child in the Natural State. This blog on I Write Arkansas will be dedicated to the organizations and resources available to all Arkansans. For instance, did you know that, via the Arkansas Department of Education, you can find all disciplinary actions by district? It is an interesting tool (link at the end of this post).
Welcome to The Autism Step-Dad. Another aspect of Arkansas.
The website is: https://adedata.arkansas.gov/statewide/ReportList/Districts/DisciplinaryActions.aspx