Brian, lover of firetrucks, books, and video games, melted our hearts from the moment we met him at a fundraising event at our local skating rink. The very first thing he said to me was "Cooking Autism...That name sounds scary." I chuckled inside and then stated that he might be right. The name Cooking Autism did sound like a scary name, but we had no intention of scaring anyone. Maybe we should rethink the name sometime in the future. It takes a village and our village is honest and doesn't sugarcoat a thing...We hope that never changes. Brian, you are amazing!
Onward to Brian's birthday story...
I Facebook friended Brian's mom, Alycha, after we met and continue to follow her because she radiates with positivity and love. I opened up my facebook on Saturday evening to see that Alycha's posted "Welp, no one showed... again :-( That's okay, we still made sure he had a good time." This ripped my heart into pieces. Most moms can envision this happening to their son or daughter, but this seems all to common in the autism world. There is no blame on the parents or children who never showed. Life happens.We have all been there at some point.
Brian is on the autism spectrum, has ADHD, and sensory processing disorder. These are pretty common diagnoses in the autism world, along with a handful of others. Unfortunately that also means that it can be hard for some children to connect with children like Brian because he is a little "different". Let's be honest, being different really means that Brian has his own unique superpower.
Brian's superpower presents like this...
He was nonverbal until age four, when he taught himself to speak and sing from YouTube videos. Well that is amazing! He had been reading from age TWO, which he also taught himself from YouTube. See, technology can certainly be a great thing, especially for the autism community. Mom says he is an avid reader and now writes his own stories. Ummmm, this is a teacher's dream student! He has a sweet small voice but boasts a lion's confidence with his words. He may be little in stature, but he is a giant in bravery.
After seeing Alycha's post, I quickly contacted her to see if there was anything we could do to help. I asked if we could make a post about Brian so that we could get our community to send him some cards. In the meantime we would ask the Aquia Harbor Fire Department to make a trip down to this young man's house to see if they could brighten his day. Brian and family were so excited to see these firemen and their truck. It was a great ending to a rocky birthday.
Overnight the Facebook post spread like wildfire (excuse the fire reference). Folks from New York to the Florida Keys were spreading #BriansBrigade birthday card posts to see if they could solicit their friends to send cards as well. People were contacting us to see if Brian would like to have a birthday ro-do party. Wow, the amount of community support is out of this world! Mom agreed to this idea so that Brian could have the opportunity to socialize in the hopes of making connections with other children. Great idea, mom!
Please join us at Rosner YMCA in Spotsy for a huge #BriansBrigade birthday bash. The Y is going all out and making it into a carnival type event. The Y also considered the needs of our community and will be having a calming/sensory room inside where kiddos can color and make sensory bottles. We sure hope that you will join us! It is sure to be a birthday that little boys dream of!
This Saturday, Sept 21 from 1-4.
5700 SMITH STATION ROAD FREDERICKSBURG, VA 22407
About Cooking Autism, Inc.
Cooking Autism, Inc, is a local non-profit organization that supplies life-skills cooking programs to Special Education classrooms. All proceeds gained go directly into that support. Thank you to our loving sponsors, and to our mighty community who keeps stepping up as we find that there is more need in our area that require support.
Now, Cooking Autism, Inc. is in a race against time. Currently we are supporting 54 fantastic special education classrooms and are fundraising to match that support for next year's teachers. This is estimated at about $33,000 (depending on classroom size and needs). Our deadline to meet this sizable goal is May 15 so that we can quickly gift grants to classrooms in need before the start of the school year. The good news is that we have gained $11,349 towards our goal, and we plan to keep on trucking! Go team!!!!
How can YOU help us as we help our beautiful local students?...Volunteering your time to help with some of our major events is a great way to help! Share our story with your loved ones. Start a social media fundraiser in our name (we can show you how), become a sponsor at an event, or kindly donate financially. There is no amount too small.
Together, we are building a happier, confident, and more independent community! We are truly grateful for you!
Platinum Sponsors for our upcoming Race Toward Autism Acceptance & Family Festival
Spectrum Autism Services
Affordable Automotive Repair
Pohanka Nissan of Fredericksburg
Black Sheet Print Shop
Paragon Autism Services