What is it like raising a child on the autism spectrum? Unexpectedly beautiful.
Life is a path of self discovery– at least that’s what mine has been so far. Having children opened my eyes and heart to a world I didn’t know existed, a world of endless opportunities for self growth. Motherhood isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
I have been told that all kids kick their parents’ ass in time and I guess I got mine kicked earlier than expected. Six months into being pregnant with my second child, I was told by a pediatrician that my firstborn, who was then 2-years-old, had autism and my second would likely as well. My whole world froze and my heart sank deeper than I ever knew it could. The isolation and depression was like nothing I had ever felt. I had no one to turn to. I didn’t know anyone who had autism, much less a parent who had advocated for their autistic child.
All ideas, visions, and expectations of what I thought Winston’s life would be were instantly shattered. Winston’s diagnosis and the uncovering of who he is as a person has been the most important learning experience of my life. Winston is now five and is one of the most earnest, beautiful, brilliant, subtle and direct people I know. I wouldn’t change him if I had the power to. Winston might not be like everyone else, but I have come to realize that’s the point of life.
Everyday he teaches me to be present to my life as it unfolds. Winston’s actions gently remind me that tomorrow doesn’t exist, yesterday is gone and to always act according to my heart. Despite his many differences, there are endless gifts. After all, humanity can’t push forward if we are all the same.
In addition to Winston, I am mother to Constantin (2) and Olympia (1). I am a singer and use song to communicate throughout the day and to wind down during bedtime. Music is my language and in our home, music knows no end. My children are all exposed to different genres: pop, jazz, classical, lullabies, hymns, chants, and more. I have seen incredible transformation in Winston through the music therapy we do at home and outside of the home with other musicians. Music stimulates him like nothing else. We sing lullabies every night before turning in, the one time of day where he feels complete peace. (In fairness, this is the one time of day where we all feel complete peace!)
Lullabies bring me back to a place of safety, protection, and love, where I can go each night with my children. That’s why I created a lullaby album titled Modern Lullaby for parents and children to enjoy music together. The album includes covers from my favorite musicians, and an original track entitled “There You Are,” which I wrote for Winston at birth. Winston also has a singing debut on the album, and his voice takes my breath away.
Modern Lullaby will be released on June 3. Proceeds will go to Easterseals, a nonprofit organization providing services for people on the autism spectrum and special needs at large.
Please contact the Governor and your elected officials this week by email, call or tweet at TheFutur…
It’s time to TAKE ACTION! Please contact the Governor and your elected officials this week by email, call or tweet at TheFutureIncludesUs.org urging them to end the disability workforce crisis by accelerating funding for regional center services and supports NOW!
The disability system is facing a serious workforce shortage and people with disabilities are either going without services, or not getting the full services they need. Last year, this Legislature passed a historic budget that included a “phased-in” five-year plan to close the $1.8 billion funding gap to the disability system that would ultimately stabilize the workforce for direct support professionals and regional center service coordinators. Unfortunately, the bulk of the investments are not scheduled to occur until 2024 and 2025
Rapidly changing circumstances like the pandemic and inflation now threaten the viability of that five-year plan. This funding could be “too little too late” if we don’t make those investments in the 2022-23 May Revise budget, which is being negotiated this week.
Let your elected officials know you support The Lanterman Coalition’s proposals to address the staffing crisis by accelerating the IDD five-year funding plan by one year, so those investments start NOW. It can’t wait.
Let’s build a future that will provide Californians with disabilities and the professionals who provide their supports and services a chance to live full and equitable lives.
Claire is a singer/songwriter with an international career spanning over 15 years. She has also added entrepreneur and business owner to her resume, but she is first and foremost a mother of three (all under age 5!) and an autism advocate.
Her new album, Modern Lullaby, is an outpouring of Claire’s love as a mother. It features her family’s favorite iconic cover songs from today’s hits, which can be enjoyed at bedtime by children and parents alike.
Claire’s son Winston was diagnosed with Autism at age 2 and ever since she has been a passionate advocate for the autism community. Modern Lullaby is launching this summer for families to enjoy and as a platform for autism advocacy and awareness.
The album’s first single, a cover of Beyonce’s “Halo”, will be released this Friday, April 29 on all major streaming platforms, followed by the full album release on Friday, June 3.
As part of her album launch, she is donating all streaming proceeds to Easterseals Southern California to support the essential services and on-the-ground support we provide for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities— an honor to her eldest son and a cause that is particularly dear to Claire’s heart.
Autism Acceptance Month Celebrations Fill Easterseals’ April Calendar
Thursday, April 7, 2022, 4:11 PM
Events, stories and activities increase understanding, acceptance, and support for autism and autist…
This April, Easterseals is celebrating Autism Acceptance Month with events, stories and celebrations to increase understanding, acceptance and support for autism and autistic individuals, developing a kinder, more inclusive world of full acceptance.
Partnership with Blippi for Special Episode, Webpage, Watch Party and Panel
Blippi is a live action, educational children’s show for kids ages 2-6 years old. Through singing, dancing, and exploring, Blippi helps children understand the world around them by going on all kinds of learning adventures, from museums to wildlife parks. His contagious curiosity and love of learning through play has taught millions of kids how to count, colors, letters, and much more.
Blippi and Easterseals Southern California (ESSC) partnered to create a special episode, Blippi Meets Hans the Robot, to celebrate how kids learn in different ways. In the episode, Blippi and ESSC’s therapy robot, Hans, explore some of the different ways people can play, eat and dance during a visit to ESSC’s Autism Therapy and Disability Services Center in Irvine. This episode is available on April 2 on Blippi’s YouTube Channel, which has 15 million subscribers.
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
Friday, February 18, 2022, 6:16 PM
The National Disabilities Awareness Month theme for March 2022, "Worlds Imagined," seeks to increase…
March 2022 is the 35th year that the United States has recognized and celebrated National Disabilties Awareness Month.
On February 26, 1987, President Ronald Reagan issued Proclamation 5613, calling upon Americans to provide the “understanding, encouragement and opportunities” necessary for people with developmental disabilities to reach their potential and lead productive and fulfilling lives.
This year, Easterseals Southern California once again joins with our partners; the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the Association for University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), and the National Disabilities Rights Network (NDRN), to encourage and highlight the many ways in which people with and without disabilities can come together to form strong, diverse communities.
The 2022 theme, “Worlds Imagined,” seeks to explore new and ever-changing opportunities for inclusion in the post-pandemic world. It also serves to increase awareness of the need for inclusivity in all areas of community life, and of the barriers that people with developmental disabilities still sometimes face in connecting with their communities.
Support the campaign this March by:
Encouraging legislators, employers, friends and allies to declare their commitment to a world of equity and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities via social media with the hashtags #DisabilityTogether and #DDAM2022.
Raise awareness and encourage dialogue about what it means to have a disability
Dispel stereotypes and help others understand disability
Break down barriers and create opportunities for people with disabilities
You can also join us in sharing artwork that captures the spirit of “worlds imagined” during the month of March, like the artwork created for our national logo imagery by artist Calvin “Sonny” Clarke, and tagging our social media channels. Look out for artwork from our participants at @EastersealsSoCal Facebook and Instagram pages and at @Eastersealsocal on Twitter.