Blooming With Autism provides families with the resources they need to help individuals with autism flourish.
Jodi Davis, founder and president of BWA, is determined to expose children with autism to various methods of learning that can supplement and enhance traditional therapies. Her positive perspective inspires families to look at autism in a different light.
Below is a Q&A with Jodi Davis about her motivations and vision
Tell us about BWA’s journey. How did the organization itself bloom?
I started Blooming with Autism at the end of 2010. I felt and still feel that a child with autism needs to be exposed to many different types of therapy in order to bloom.
My daughter was a child that spun, no eye contact, tantrumed continuously, covered her ears with loud noise, covered her eyes if she was over-stimulated, spoke when she was 4, potty trained not too much longer after that, rocked to calm herself and many other typical characteristics of autism.
Being exposed to so many different types of therapy, helped her to integrate her senses and is now doing extremely well. All families should have the opportunity to get these priceless therapies for their children. Families who cannot afford them need support to get them. Their child, regardless of age can bloom as well!!
My daughter had a lot of extra therapies and was progressing at a nice pace. Then I noticed that some of her classmates were not learning as quickly. I found out that they were not getting private therapy because they could not afford it. This made me angry.
I started Blooming with Autism so everybody has the opportunity to help their child bloom.
Are there any misconceptions about autism that you can help demystify? What should people who may not be familiar with the condition be aware of?
Autism is a spectrum.
Some people have severe social issues; some might have academic issues and some might have speech issues. It is likely that a person with autism would need help with all three.
The brain is very complicated, but people with autism usually display certain behaviors as they develop. There are certain “typical” behaviors displayed throughout development, like pointing or clapping, that might not come naturally to a child with autism.
Regardless of behaviors, or lack thereof, these amazing people can learn. They just learn differently. They see things that you and I don’t see; they feel things that you and I don’t feel. And we need to be sensitive to that.
They are not going to walk around with the word “Autism” tattooed on their forehead, so when a person sees somebody doing something out of the norm, take a second to think, maybe that person’s brain works differently than my own.
Why do you think it is important for children with autism to be exposed to non-traditional forms of therapy like art, music, and sports in addition to the traditional forms?
People with autism learn differently.
Speech, Occupational and Behavior therapies are imperative, but non-traditional therapies can be just as important. Unfortunately, these therapies are not covered by most insurances and we need to have other ways to get these children exposed to them.
There is no rule book when raising any child. Blooming with Autism pays for these non traditional types of therapies, because no stone should be unturned to help a child bloom.
Can you share any stories about BWA’s grant recipients? What kind of impact do the grants have on their lives?
The most significant story that I have heard so far is a 21 year old man who is nonverbal.
We have heard that with his grant, he has been learning to communicate with his family with the help of an iPad and communication app. It is unfair that a 21 year old man did not have the tools to communicate.
We need to help more.
What is BWA’s vision and how can the rest of us help make it a reality?
Our mission is to ensure that all families have the tools and therapy; traditional and/or non-traditional, available to them so that Every Child Can Bloom!
Our vision is to provide all available resources to individuals with autism who cannot afford them in order to help them become independent adults.
At Blooming with Autism, we recognize the importance of exposing children with Autism to various forms of therapy; from traditional therapy which includes: speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy; to non-traditional which includes: auditory retraining, equine, NAET etc.
There is also a high demand for therapy tools such as iPads, apps, speaking devices, weighted blankets, adaptive strollers, etc. Due to financial constraints most families are unable to provide these for their children.
Blooming with Autism has 69 families who are in need of support. We have asked our 40,000 followers to donate a $1 to help get the tools in these individuals hands. $1 would help get 25 people off our wait list. $1 a month would help get every single person off of our wait list.
I always ask people help bring about change in the world today.