Unity in the Community

Backpack Chat with Nancy

Lots of great spirit this week at Alberta’s 100th year of the Calgary Stampede. Pancake breakfasts, great entertainment, traditional events and record breaking crowds.  This tradition and spirit is part of what makes us such a great community. Albertan’s come together to unite in this outstanding tradition; stores decorated, everyone decked out in cowboy hats and jeans, country music and the air is filled with unity in the community.

We have felt this “Unity in the Community!” many times since the birth of Stephen’s Backpacks Society. Many of you probably know the story but for those who do not; I would love to begin to share our journey. What better place than the beginning!

May of 2001 we were introduced to an 11 day old baby boy who unbeknown to us would change our lives forever. It was instant love and we adopted this new bundle of joy! We travelled a very difficult journey for the first five years in determining what our son’s challenges were. November of 2005 our little boy was diagnosed with PDDNOS on the Autistic Spectrum. We surrounded our son with a village of supports from O/T’s, Physiotherapists, Speech Therapists, Pediatricians, Specialists, a great Preschool and the list goes on. We engaged in every seminar, course, books and articles to totally engage and educate ourselves.

For any of you parents out there who have gone down or going down this road; it is indeed an overwhelming, frightening, confusing and frustrating one. You are asked to deal with sensory issues, special diets, social stimulation, strategies, advocacy at school, special toys, special blankets, and the list goes on. Your life becomes a roller coaster in a whirlwind of new information. In shopping centers when your little one has a meltdown you feel like everyone around you watching wants to give you a parenting handbook. You have so many questions and no answers. Have you been there? Please write and share with me. I would love to hear from you. Sometimes just knowing you share this journey with others really helps.

At the tender age of five our son was playing in the living room and overheard my husband and I dialoguing about a homeless man on the front of the newspaper. Stephen came into the kitchen and asked us if there are kids on the street? We respond with “Unfortunately Stephen yes there are.” “Mommy I need to help them!” These six simple words would change our lives forever. I look forward to sharing more next week.