Thursday, February 24, 2011


So a major news network asked if I would write a blog about what we experienced yesterday.
I'd already written the beast you see below and sent the link to the media relations man.

He did some very cool editing and came up with this:

Autism Explores Program

My son Brian is on the Autism Spectrum. He was diagnosed when he was just 2 1/2 years old. Last week I got a phone call from Autism Speaks asking me if I wanted to be a part of a program called "Autism Explores" at Newark Airport. I didn't even hesitate. Just tell me where and when!

Later that day I got a call from one of the doctors at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. These are the folks who developed and run this genius program. She explained to me that we were going to take a mock plane ride, from start to finish. That Brian and I should pack a bag and be prepared to go through the airport just as we would if we were taking a real flight. We would be checking in, checking our bag, getting a ticket and a boarding pass, going through security, actually boarding a plane and going to baggage claim.

While Brian has gotten MUCH better at flying, he used to be a total terror and has on more than one occasion kept a plane on the ground much longer than it was supposed to be.

Since birth he's had the nickname "Brian the Lion" because of his legendary tantrums and the ones he would throw on the plane were horrific. I would board the plane fully expecting to have this flight be the one where I made the news as the mom who got kicked off the flight because of her kid.

On Wednesday, Brian was the youngest participant and to those who didn’t know him, he appeared to have no issues with the process of flying but I as his mother know that the past behaviors are not so far in the past and can, at any time show up unannounced and unprovoked.

To have the opportunity to show people the different shade of the Spectrum is one I was all too flattered to be a part of. I was not, however, so prepared for the craziness of the day. The media and the security and the folks from Einstein and Autism Speaks, we were like a huge caravan that moved about as fast as primordial ooze.

I found myself feeling a little anxious for Brian wondering if he was going to continue to tolerate the shutters and the bright light of the TV camera and all the new strange faces. He was a total champ though. He took the whole thing in total stride and never ever let them see him sweat. He was charming and friendly and very well behaved only having a very slight meltdown when I denied him his beloved routine of McDonald’s.

I of course got all proud mother hen on him, giving him high fives and telling him how proud I was. He in turn acted as though it was this way all the time and I was completely insane to act otherwise.

While we were on the plane, I found myself hoping that he behaves this well on our upcoming Disney trip (6 weeks!).

The day was fantastic and he and I both felt as though we had been a part of something super important.

I'm beyond flattered that they asked me to do this and cannot wait to see when it runs!

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