Autism Awareness 2024

It seems I’ve been blogging only once a year now, recapping comings and goings in our area each April. If you read my last blog post about transitioning, you will know what my year has been like. The proverbial dumpster fire. I think I am starting to see light again. The premise of my site, in part, is that families with autism need to go out and have fun. Everyone needs something to look forward to.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am so excited that Great Wolf Lodge is opening up in our area in October. My kids love waterslides and I do, too, provided my knees hold up to running up the concrete winding staircases. Also, a Margaritaville Resort is coming to Galveston. There is something called the FlyWay . . . it sounds exciting, like zip-lining. Chicken N Pickle opened there, a venue which combines eating rotisserie chicken with pickle ball and yard games. Top Golf is next door. Is it named FlyWay because balls are flying? A trampoline fitness / party place called “Altitudes” is going in next to King’s Bingo and the Game Preserve. Also, a Sports Illustrated Resort is going in in Texas City, not exactly what I imagine as a resort destination, but I’m glad our side of town is gaining traction as a destination for fun.

Except for GWL and maybe the trampoline place (it is a good work out), these other venues do not appeal so much to my inner child. I’m really ready for a good concert venue on our side of town. After all, we are on the side of Houston (yes, Galveston is a “side of Houston”) with a beach and hotels and a boardwalk and cruise ships. Seems not right we must drive all the way to the Woodlands or downtown to see a concert. Buzzfest should be here, not at the “Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.” Who wants to come in from out of town and stay in the Woodlands? Styx, Chicago and the B52s should play on our side of town, not Sugar Land. Demographically, that doesn’t make sense. I recently signed a petition for a Whole Foods. Who do we petition about a concert venue? My son loves music, but all we have on our side is a historic opera house. . . Dickinson, this may be a perfect opportunity for you!

Speaking of fun things, last week, my family participated in a wonderful Autism Awareness parade around Galveston’s historic Strand area, sponsored by Blue Skyes Over Autism. For this annual event, families come from all over the area to show strength in numbers and just get together to have a good time. We drove around in decorated golf carts which we rented for the day and then went to eat at a restaurant where we caught up with old friends and met some new ones. After that, we toured the Moody Mansion. Here is video of that event on April 13:

I like this promotional video which Alan Fowler, the founder, made for the organization ten years ago:

I love BSoA. We have been involved for several years with this group, but I have been reluctant to promote BSoA on my site and send parents their way only because the founder cautioned me that he needs to grow his organization strategically and sustainably. That is understandable. He must raise money for all that the organization does. Members are sometimes encouraged to sell candy or buy crawfish plates (crawfish boil fundraiser), but for the most part, the founder raises all the money himself. He can take in only so many people. Many years ago, I sent two families to him (they were both big hits, though, because they were funny and talented at karaoke), but after that I stopped after he said he wasn’t looking for more members. He does add new people each year, though. Already, the numbers are so large, the group is so popular, I imagine it is hard to find places to accommodate us for events. I am not sure why they spell “Skies” like Skyes, but it probably has to do with a domain name.

Headquartered in Pasadena, Blue Skyes Over Autism is now the most active autism group in our area. Play the videos and you will be impressed! Alan is an excellent videographer. He always picks good music. And our kids are so good looking, right?

Recently, an organization in New Jersey also called “Everything Autism” asked me if I would give them my domain name. (I came up with my organization’s name on my own, by the way. Others have since copied me.) It was another nonprofit, so they didn’t have any money to buy it from me. I almost just handed it over to them, thinking, meh, I never did accomplish what I set out to do in the beginning with my site, which was to gather together an army of parents to create places for our kids to go and live when they grew up. Who am I to think I could change the world? I’m just another autism mom with a blog. . .

While I was contemplating giving them and taking my site down, I noticed a surprising spate of activity. It was probably Chinese hackers (indeed, once before my site was compromised by a Chinese pharmacy), but I took it as a sign that I should keep this thing going a bit longer to see where things might lead.

As always, if you have any resources to share, I’m more than happy to post them.

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