Autism Awareness? Or “Oh, I’m Pretty Aware of Autism! I’m a Freakin’s Autism Ambassador!” – By Tom Hibben, Dad Blogger

It’s April – Autism Awareness Month. I’m writing this on April 2nd, otherwise known as Autism Awareness Day. Funny but I find it much easier to think about Awareness Day rather than my 31st birthday which was on the 16th.

World Autism Day! Kind of funny…but all these years of having a kid with Asperger’s has made me think a little like him, so when I think “World Autism Day,” I imagine it like Halloween where everyone walks around pretending to have autism. (That would be more offensive to me in real life than the funny picture in my head).

But I’m all about awareness. I mean really – I’m spilling my family’s guts in a blog. Not for awareness but more so for sanity. It might be nice for you to read my posts to know your kid isn’t the only one, and it’s nice for me to get it off my chest and to know a lot of the things we deal with go on in more houses than just ours.

Awareness really isn’t enough though. I know its great to be an autism advocate but I’m more like an “Autism-I’ll-Cut-You-If-You-Act-A-Fool-Ambassador” – but wait…that’s not very “p.c.” – so how about an “Ass-Kicking-Autism-Advocate?” Either way, bottom line is, I want people to be aware that these kids have some issues – but they are just kids and just people that, given the benefit of some patience, are the coolest people you will ever meet.

As a lot of us know, those who are aware don’t always care and, hey, that’s okay! But what I mean by (…and sorry for the “A” word again) “Ass Kicking Autism Advocate” is…I will beat you with a large blunt object if you are not nice to my kid. Granted I have two other sons (one with special needs and one without) that I would also beat someone over, but being mean to a kid with autism – that gets the large blunt object part thrown in there as an extra “teaching tool.”

All that aside, our life is pretty good right now. Just like everyone we have good days and bad days. This year, when we made the choice to go back to school instead of homeschooling, it was scary but we have an amazing teacher that has taken so much time to get to know Jayden – I mean to really learn his personality. She told me at one of our meetings that she has started introducing him to a 5th grade teacher in order to prep her for next year. This woman is a flippin’ saint! I’m sure there are days when she wants to stick a piece of chalk in her eye but she pushes through.

Jayden has grown leaps and bounds this year. One of the biggest shocks to me is that he wants to join the running team. Yeah…his foot turns in pretty badly so sometimes he trips when he walks and talks at the same time, but this will be good for him. The P.E. teacher that is heading the team is going to look out for him. I bought him new running shoes and he is jazzed!

Autism Awareness Day – today – was his first day…and it’s raining. So we’ll see what the story is when he gets home from school. Either way I’m just super excited we are into something other than Skylanders, Pokemon, Harry Potter and Egyptology!!

Well, that’s about all I have to say about that. Remember if you can’t spread autism awareness gently on everyone you meet then feel free to smear it on at least some of them and then run away!


Tom Hibbin is the 31-year-old dad of 3 boys. He is a photographer and EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). Because his words describe him in a way only he can – here you go:

“My wife & I do our best to balance forty eight hour shifts at the ambulance station with the growing business at our local photography studio…with raising 3 boys (the oldest having Asperger’s)…with all the things we want and want for our family… and with what real life has handed us. It gets dicey sometimes but it’s always an adventure! I married a woman way out of my league and I try to let her know every day that she is way too hot for me. My kids are my best friends and no that’s not a cool dad thing to say, I’m just a dork that would watch “Phineas and Ferb” even if I didn’t have kids. We love to travel and do so as often as we possibly can, whether it’s on vacation or for a wedding we are photographing – we love to get away. I have several tattoo’s and I want lots more (yes, they hurt). I’m a geek. When my wife isn’t home I play with my food.”

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