For those with family members on the autism spectrum, autism awareness begins right at home. On today’s blog, we’re getting a first-hand look at a family brought together by autism. We are delighted to introduce you to Staar Fields, mega-talented musician and mother to 8-year-old Gabriel.
What’s your personal connection to autism? My son Gabriel was a twin. He was born at 1lb. 10 oz and his twin sister Grace was 1 lb. 8 oz. They were very premature born at 25 weeks 3 days. Our daughter Grace had complications and passed away after only 6 days. Gabriel was in the NICU for 97 days. I knew he would be a little delayed because of being so premature but at 18 months when he stopped making eye contact, and speaking the few words he was already saying, I knew we needed to get him into a specialist to get evaluated. They diagnosed him with autism and we have been on this journey ever since.
What would you like people to know about autism and understanding those with an autism spectrum disorder? Every kid on the spectrum is different and it affects the whole family and takes the whole family’s help. We are so blessed my mother quit her full time job to help me with Gabriel. All of the kids are unique in their own way and all learn differently. My son Gabriel loves balls and water and we have used different colored balls to teach him colors and counting numbers.
Why donate to autism awareness causes like Autism Speaks? There is an ever increasing number of children being diagnosed with autism. Autism Awareness causes will help educate the people on what autism is and how it affects families. When people partner with foundations it gives us a bigger voice and a better chance to impact the community by coming together. One person can not do it by themselves and it is going to take all of us learning and growing together to make a difference.
Autism Speaks aims to shine the light on autism through the worldwide #LightItUpBlue initiative. How does your son shine?
My son shines so bright he has a laugh that is contagious and smile that can light up the room. He has excelled in aquatic therapy and his teacher actually said he was the “Star” Student for the summer. It makes me so proud to focus on the things that my son does well instead of the things he does not do.
How do you promote autism awareness in your local community? We are very active in our community and around the country promoting autism awareness. I am a Singer/Songwriter/ Recording Artist and have partnered with many organizations and sing for many events here locally and across the country. I am the Music Director at my son’s school for children with special needs and autism and we make it a point to go out into the community at least 2 times a week whether it’s a field trip or a group of parents taking our kids out into the community to eat at a restaurant My motto is that “We have got to get the kids used to being in the community and the community used to being with our kids.”
We started a foundation called the “Give Away Foundation” to help children and families with special needs. We also started a daily blog to encourage educate and inspire others on what it is like to have a child with autism. You can follow us on our journey at www.staarfields.com, www.giveawayfoundation.org, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.