I usually make a note on my editorial calendar to post content here only once a week, but I absolutely could not wait to share with you the phenomenal news I heard yesterday.
Thousands of parents across the country are talking about the game changing April 2014 cover of Parents Magazine and with good reason. It will be the first time in US history for two special needs children to grace the cover of a national, mainstream magazine.
The children featured on the cover are Chloe and Daniel Molina, ages 3 and 5, who are both autistic and nonverbal. At first glance, the average onlooker may not notice the true condition behind Chloe's beautiful smile and Daniel's serious gaze. Despite the uncertainty one may have from simple observation, the reality is that autism has become more common than anyone could have ever imagined.
Every 1 in 68 children in the US are now identified with an autistic spectrum disorder according to the CDC's report on Thursday. That is an alarming 30% increase since 2012.
As most of you know, this story hits pretty close to home with my 11-year old son being autistic. When I heard the news, a flood of emotions came over me all at once. Out of all the emotions I felt, the one that resonated the most was that of pure joy.
It was a truly proud moment to see a national magazine emphasizing the importance of inclusion for so many children who are unable to advocate for themselves.
As I looked at Chloe and Daniel I saw my son in both of their faces. There are many days when he laughs hysterically without any rhyme or reason yet at other times he may stare off into the distance as if to be lost in his own world. The photographer was excellent at capturing that reality for so many autistic children.
The magazine will feature a 24-page section on "Living In a Special Needs World" which could potentially give a voice to so many families who have been unable to articulate what it is like to parent a special needs child.
In an effort to continue to spread the word and to honor the children who are serving as the face of so many special needs children around the world, I will be giving away a 1-year subscription to Parents Magazine.
The giveaway will close April 4, 2014 at 11:59PM CST. To enter click here. Good luck to everyone! :)
Illustration via Parents Magazine
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