April is Autism Awareness Month

autism-awareness-monthEvery day, the millions of Americans living with autism and their families face unique and daunting challenges that many of us will never fully appreciate. During National Autism Awareness Month, we make a commitment to better understand autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the lives of individuals living with it.

So you might be asking you self: Why is awareness so important? Well, It’s not news that people tend to be afraid of what they don’t understand. Awareness has the power to change people’s attitudes from “Ugh” to “is there anything I can do to help?” This is why parents, educators, family and friends of kids with autism use the month of April as a platform to share stories with their community. And why a month dedicated to Autism Awareness can be so important. Here are somethings you might consider this month get involved:

Get Informed: Autism is defined as a developmental disability characterized by varying degrees of social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. There are a lot of resources available to learn more about ASD. Educating yourself on the facts is invaluable to get a better understanding of  the challenges indivuduals and their families face. Learn more about ASD at the Autism Speaks website.

autism-awareness-ribbon-puzzle-lapel-pin-21Put on the Puzzle! The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is a recognized symbol of the autism community. Autism prevalence is now one in every 68 children in America. Show your support for people with autism by wearing the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon – as a pin on your shirt, a magnet on your car, a badge on your blog, or even your Facebook profile picture. You can find merchandise via Autism Speaks for purchase and support their mission here.autism-awareness-rubber-bracelet-wristband-adult-8

Connect with your neighborhood. Many Autism Society local affiliates hold special events in their communities throughout the month of April. It’s a good way to educate yourself and meet and get farmilar with people in your community that are living with Autism. Participating resteraunts around the country host a Dine Out with Autism event to educate community members and raise funds for the cause.

Donate your money or your time. Here are some online resources to help you donate your time or money to research and programs to support Autism. Autism Speaks a leading organization dedicated to research and support of families. You can donate here.

National Autism Awareness Month is an important month to consider learning more on this important issue. April represents an excellent opportunity to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year.

 

Halloween Safety with PinSource

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During Halloween, parents will take young children from house to house, and older children may be crossing streets unattended in the dark. Because trick-or-treating usually happens at night, visibility is reduced.  So, for moms and dads, often there is a fine line between Halloween fun and safety concerns, especially when it comes to road and pedestrian safety. This month we have featured some items that could be used to be sure trick or treaters are visible to motorists or other trick or treaters at all times. Whether you’re a group of parents who want to stock up, or  you  are with a school group or  organization and want to encourage families to be safe – we’ve got you covered.  Here are some featured items that will help with night visibility:

Our Blinking Safety Lighround-flashing-safety-light-3-1118-301847ts:

These help to light your child’s way to a safe, fun time while trick-or-treating. Clip these handy 1½” lights to your clothing to make sure you’re visible to others at night. They’re also great for attaching to your bike, dog’s collar or backpack. Simply push the button to turn them on and off.

Our Reflective Bags: These are great for trick or treaters running house to house fitim-hortons-reflective-halloween-treat-baglling up their bag with treats. The metallic bags reflect car headlights to provide increased visibility of trick-or-treaters at night. It features educational safety tips and is 100% recyclable.

Some Other Halloween Safety Tips Include:

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  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children.

PinSource wants to ensure your little monsters are safe this Halloween season. Be in touch with us if you are interested in these safe and fun Halloween items this season.

Shatter the Stigma: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Let’s face it, sometimes it can be hard to admit you need help. It can be even more difficult when the struggle involves something that carries a negative stigma. The stigma associated with mental illness can often be as hard (if not harder) to deal with than the symptoms. This may prevent those affected from speaking out or seeking help in fear of feeling judged.

s3_93772_bEach year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the month of May, the National Alliance on Mental Illness are working to bring awareness to this issue. While feeling sad, stressed or worried is certainly a regular part of life, these same emotions -depending on severity and duration- can also be a symptom of deeper issues involving our mental health. This is why it’s more important than ever that we all work together to break down misconceptions and promote recovery for healthy communities.

To answer some questions concerning mental health awareness, we reached out to Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Jessica Rothman.  Jessica is based in Chicago and has been practicing Marriage and Family Therapy since 2011. We’ve asked her to help us  join the conversation about the stigma attached to mental illness.

PS: What does it mean to have a mental illness?

JR: Everybody struggles with mental health from time to time. We can feel depressed about our job or about something happening in our life which is completely normal. What makes it different for those who have a more serious issue is when it starts disrupting every aspect of our lives. That is when it’s important to ask yourself : Is this fleeting or consistent? If it’s consistent it can indicate a more serious mental health issue.

PS: Why do you think it’s difficult for those who suffer from mental illness to come forward?

JR:It is Stigma. In our society we are programed to put our emotions to the side. It’s about success being strong; it stems from our Puritan ideals of not wanting to look weak.

blog-picI like to use the analogy of a car: You are on the highway of life and every so often you need to bring your car in for an oil change or a tune up. Sometimes it can take awhile to get repairs, other times it is only a quick check in for fine tuning. That is how I see therapy. It’s important to check in on your emotional health from time to time and talk about things that you might need help getting through – that can also mean the good things too.

PS: What are first steps someone might take if they are concerned about their mental health?

JR: The first thing to ask yourself is is this fleeting or consistent? Is this pervasive in every aspect of your life? If it affects your life all the time it’s important to seek the help you need. If you sprained your ankle, the first thing you would do would be to see a doctor. It’s important to think about this when it comes to your mental health as well and seek the professional help you might need, just as you would for a physical issue.

PS: What advice would you give to families of those suffering from a mental illness?

JR:That it is a normal thing and it can be worked through. Less than 1% of mental health issues last a lifetime. It is something that your loved one can work through. It’s important to support them and remind them there is nothing wrong with who they are.

PS: Since May is Mental Health Awareness month, what stigma would you like to shatter?

JR:The media like to paint a untrue picture of what it means to see a therapist. It s not sitting on couch telling an unresponsive person your problems like Signund Freud. It is about sharing the good and bad feelings in your life. It is a collaborative experience that is solution focused, and sometimes only lasts a few months for some people.

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