Year in Review | 2021

Hello everyone, and happy new year! I hope that all of you had an enjoyable holiday season and are staying safe. With all that’s happened over the past year as a result of the pandemic, I found it important to reflect upon how Anjali and the entire special needs community have dealt with these newfound challenges. 

Autism and sensory friendly New Year's eve ideas for kids
Since we’re on the topic of new years, here’s a great read about how NYE can be made most enjoyable for ASD children: https://www.andnextcomesl.com/2019/12/sensory-friendly-new-years-eve-ideas-for-kids.html

Our first discussion of the year was about Sports & Special Needs. It was quite a fulfilling experience for me to share Anjali’s experience of developing a cycling routine, and how this was greatly beneficial to her sensory needs. I hope that my message, about sports and active lifestyles being a great outlet for special needs children, resonated with all of you! Witnessing my sister go through the process, helped me realize that any special needs child can be introduced to the world of sports with patient and persistent support. 

I then had the opportunity to share a special project that I learned of. My local FBLA chapter ran the well-acclaimed FBLA Disability Community Service Project. I hope that my coverage of this project spread awareness about the grass-root level work being done by the youth for the special needs community.

Autism&Us’ focus then shifted towards how the pandemic is impacting aspects of daily life for Anjali, and the special needs community as a whole. Perhaps the article closest to my heart from the year was the one about Anjali’s Experience with Hindi, and how her exposure to music during lockdown familiarized her with vocabulary from our family’s mother tongue. COVID-19 & The Special Needs Community focused more upon the health adversities facing special needs children, and their relative inability to comply with COVID regulations and precautions. I hope all of you gained an understanding of the nuances and characteristics of the challenges that fall in this bucket. Additionally, I hope that I was able to aid families facing these day-to-day problems, by familiarizing them with the vital techniques mentioned in the article. Anjali’s Academic Adventure, as suggested by the title, adopted a different lens for exploring how the pandemic altered a certain aspect of my sister’s life. The biggest takeaway that I hope we all gained from the described experiences in the article, was that perseverance and adaptation is key for helping a special needs child academically excel.  

Autism During the Coronavirus Pandemic
This fantastic graphic from VeryWell Health (https://images.app.goo.gl/2KJWsePo9xPGHNFd7) neatly summarizes a lot of the points that I’ve emphasized through my posts this year.

ASD Prevalence revisited the well-known statistic of “1 in ___ children in America are diagnosed with ASD.” Upon reviewing this statement again, and how the number itself has drastically changed, I had the intriguing experience of learning more about how the diagnostic process for ASD has rapidly changed in just a few years. I hope that this was an informative read for all of you, as it covers important context behind a statistic that often gets assigned to the identity of the special needs community. 

So that was what we discussed in 2021! Just like the year itself, my writing was very much focused upon fighting through challenges and having a productive and optimistic outlook. That’s the message I want all of us to carry into 2022, as I find it to be ideal for nurturing the unique and talented community of special needs children!

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