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Citizenship Contributors

Little Leaders Series: Kathy Heath Owner of The Autism Edit!

Through The Jilly Academy, I have connected with so many amazing entrepreneurs, bloggers, influencers, small business owners (and the list goes on!). Today, I am so excited to introduce you to one of our Jilly Academy Alumni, Kathy. Kathy is a mom to three beautiful kiddos and the blogger behind The Autism Edit. Kathy is taking over the blog today, on behalf of her son Abel, and sharing some more information on her collaboration with The Branded Good!

Take it away, Kathy!!

Hi! I’m Kathy Heath, mom of three and the blogger behind The Autism Edit. My son Abel is 9 years old, and while I would love if he could tell you about himself, because of the way autism affects him, he can’t do that here. Even though Abel doesn’t express himself as clearly as his peers may, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a lot happening in his mind. He’s a talented artist, has a flair for music, loves traveling, and is extremely open to meeting new people. 

The Autism Edit

Image Credit: Haley Erdegard

Information About Autism, By The Autism Edit

Image Credit: Haley Erdegard

Aside from outdated stereotypes, I knew nothing about autism before my son was diagnosed. With my limited knowledge, I never thought the personality he has was even possible. Googling every fear I had and adding “autism spectrum disorder” to the end made me feel confused like there was no hope, and that I had completely failed him by not recognizing the signs earlier. Though autism used to be a rare diagnosis, it’s estimated that 1 in 66 children in Canada, and 1 in 54 in the US receive the diagnosis. Thankfully we have learned a lot about it over the years! If you’re a parent, your child most likely has or will have a friend or classmate that has this condition. You may even know some autistic adults whether you realize it or not.

One of the hallmarks of autism is difficulty with social communication. From my parental perspective, it is one of the toughest things to handle. It can be so disheartening to see people be dismissive of my son because he isn’t always quick to answer their questions. He doesn’t yet know how to answer what we usually consider basic questions such as, “How old are you?” and “What grade are you in?”. Until he was 7 he couldn’t correctly answer, “What’s your name?”. But all this doesn’t mean he isn’t eager to establish a connection with you! He has so much to share with us in his own way. He wants to be included, and even though it might look unconventional to others, he loves being social.

Things You Should Know About Autism from The Autism Edit

Image Credit: Tracey Jazmin

It’s easy to assume people who don’t immediately catch on to our typical modes of communication have nothing to offer, but that is never the case. Every human has something amazing to offer, and if we can simply take a little more time to honor that spirit within, and not immediately judge someone by the skills they possess on a surface level, we will all be better for it.

Our journey has inspired The Inclusion Collection. This collaboration between myself and The Branded Good is a limited run of quality apparel with original designs that celebrate disability and inclusion. 100% of the net proceeds go to Adaptabilities. They do amazing work to support individuals and families by providing programming for youth and adults affected by visible and invisible disabilities. 

My son has a voice. He has unique thoughts and ideas and wants to share them with others. But if we expect everyone to meet the criteria of typical communication, we’ll never get to experience the joy each of us has to offer. 

The Autism Edit

Image Credit: Tracey Jazmin

If there is one common thread throughout the disability community, I think it’s a message of inclusion. We live in such a busy world where we are constantly rushing and not often giving our routines a second thought. But people with disabilities make up 15% of the world’s population, and the reality is that any of us can become disabled in an instant. Autism and other disabilities are a wonderful yet often overlooked reality of our society. If we can all have a little more awareness, we can be better prepared to weave ourselves and others into a more intricate and enriched social fabric. It’s time we create space to befriend, employ, and uplift people affected by disabilities.

Kathy Heath

Find out more and support The Inclusion Collection here
Follow The Autism Edit on Instagram here

Leave a Reply

  1. Thanks for this post Kathy. I have a son with autism and a brother with Downs syndrome. Being inclusive to people with all abilities is important and makes the world a better place for everyone 💕.

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