Haiti and Disability and How To Help
Via lagloria via Izzyland on Twitter, I read this article on autism in Haiti in Spectrum Magazine by Cris Italia. One commenter, a librarian at a school in New York, asked about contributing to an organization that helps children with disabilities; Italia notes that such information will be posted soon as it's found out. I'm still looking for an autism organization in Haiti on this list of such organizations around the world (via Action for Autism). The Justice For All blog of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) reports:
In Quakes Aftermath Haitians With Disabilities Suffer Devastation
I think we all felt shocked, saddened, and horrified by the news and images of the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti this past week, and many of us lent money, time and support to excellent relief efforts. However, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about relief organizations that are targeting those victims who are most severely affected, those most isolated, most stigmatized and most overlooked by other organizations, those with disabilities. Before the quake approximately 800,000 Haitians were living with a disability. With the destruction of the quake, that number is likely to have increased significantly. Portlight Strategies is on the ground in Haiti providing food, water and other emergency service to our Haitian brothers and sisters with disabilities. Healing Hands for Haiti has been serving Haitians with Disabilities for over 10 years, and despite having suffered serious losses of their own, they are continuing to assist in Port-au-Prince, the capital city.
Also see LauraHershey.com on how to help Haitians; another of her posts provides more information on Portlight Strategies, which is collecting emergency supplies and equipment to ship from Atlanta to Port-au-Prince. You can also see the United States International Council on Disabilities for additional information and a list of non-governmental organizations that accept donations and specialize in assisting individiuals with disabilities in Haiti.
Life raising a child with disabilities like Charlie certainly is not easy, but I know he, and we, are fortunate that we're in a place where there are many, many resources, and that Jim and I have been in a position to provide many of these for Charlie. We had a very nice Saturday here, with a rather early morning wake-up (5am—actually, that doesn't sound early, compared to 3.45am), a walk, a mid-morning snooze for Charlie, a trip to the barber shop for a buzz cut (also for Charlie—not me, for sure!), a bike ride. I'm noting a small but (to my mother's eyes) progression in Charlie's writing skills, as in this rendition of Saturday:
The initial "S" is a bit of a doodle-squiggle, but he slowed down to write the remaining letters, looking carefully at my model. Again, I have a very motherly bias, but I find Charlie's writing of "haircut" quite impressive.
Charlie continues to do these little exercises without objecting when he takes up the marker. I would like to work him up to using a pencil or pen, but I can see Charlie is more inclined to write with a felt-tip marker as he has to exert less pressure, and so can concentrate more on forming the letters; he can also see the results more easily. Indeed, at the moment, Charlie has a pleased little grin when he puts marker to paper.
Not going to ask for more than that here.