Eye opening event last Friday.  I was asked to emcee the Spectrum of Hope luncheon for the Autism Services of Mecklenburg County.  As the host of  Heath Headlines: The Show I get to interview many experts about many different medical topics, but so often we just skim the surface.  This was a chance to really learn what parents of children with autism go through day by day.

Autismbook The speaker was Susan Senator, mother of three.  Her oldest son is, in her words, severely autistic. She gave a wonderful presentation, with family photos and heartfelt emotion.  It really helped me begin to understand what life is like for those who have a child with autism. Senator is the author two books, her newest (right) is The Autism Mom's Survival Guide.

Friday was also Benny's first day of Kindergarten, so I kept my phone on during the luncheon. I was pretty sure a room full of moms and dads of kids with special needs would understand that my kid with special needs might need me.  Turns out, he did.  The teacher called just before his lunchtime to let me know Benny's blood sugar was very high (300). We chatted about what to do and then they went on to lunch and I went on with the event.

You know how once you start thinking about something it suddenly seems to be everywhere?  Came into work this morning to see this as the top story on Yahoo news: Who Is Temple Grandin?  Grandin was diagnosed with autism in 1950 at the age of 2 and went on to earn multiple advanced degrees, including a doctorate in animal science.  The HBO biopic "Temple Grandin," was nominated for seven Emmy awards Sunday night and won five. Hers is an amazing and motivating story.

So is Susan Senator's.  It was a pleasure to meet her and eye opening to spend some time with local parents of autistic kids. If you'd like more information about Autism Services of Mecklenburg County, including adult residential services, after school programs and summer camp, please click here. 

Autismlunch Autismlunch2 (left) ASMC CEO Marc Phillips, NC Rep. Beverly Earle (D-101), Susan Senator

(below) me and Susan Senator