Before spring break, I had the opportunity to speak to Bella’s teacher, Mr. S., about April being Autism Awareness Month. He wanted to do something in the school to make the students more aware of autism. The goal being that by raising awareness, peers might be more inclined to reach out to other kids like Bella.
A few years ago I had taken a puzzle and glued a pin to the back of each piece. I had planned to give these pieces to teachers, friends and family…but it never happened and those pins sat in my cupboard with old pictures and rolls of tape. While talking to Mr. S., I remembered the pins and suggested that we get the kids to spread the word by wearing the pins. Mr. S. gathered a small group of students together, including Blake, and gave them some information about autism. They were each given a piece of the puzzle to wear. When they are asked about the puzzle piece pin, the students would then share what they have learned. If their classmate wanted to wear a pin to show their support, they were to see Mr. S. or the guidance counselor to get more information about autism and collect their pin.
Then I guess Mr. S. got a little excited about the plan and decided to add a twist. He gave the students a challenge. He told them if they could get 500 students to wear the puzzle pieces, he would participate in The 5th Annual Wrestle Against Autism. This is a wrestling tournament that raises money for organizations that help children and families dealing with autism.
Today was the first day and the first batch of puzzle pieces are gone! That means 70 students are wearing pins already! (The puzzle was 100 pieces but I guess when a puzzle sits that long…a few go missing). So, tonight our little family created an assembly line in the kitchen. We glued 300 pins to 300 puzzle pieces. If that’s what it takes to make a difference, then that is what we will do! One piece at a time.