Autism Awareness Month & “The Road Traveled”

As we enter in April and Autism Awareness Month, I stop and reflect on where life has IMG_6632taken me.

Sometimes in life, you set out on a path and stumble into a dream you never knew you had.  Social Motion Skills started as a thought and a necessity in Wendy Dawson’s life for her family. Social Motion Skills became a part of my life in 2010 and I soon found myself helping to breathe life into a dream we wanted to make a reality.

I was an assistant principal in the public schools and sitting in ARDS daily hearing parents express the desire for their kids to have social skills training. The school schedules just did not allow enough time in the day to help our kids interact with their peers and practice the skills that many of us take for granted and are needed to be successful throughout our lives. I met Wendy and our worlds merged into a forever partnership.

5342570901105Fast forward 5 years and here we are having touched hundreds of families, offer programs starting at age 2 and go up to our mature adults and have been a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston since 2012.  Social Motion Skills is a passion of our heart. Our paychecks are often watching a client succeed in a job, gain a friend or get their driver’s license. Our kids are growing up. Our program is growing. More families are finding a need for services.

We started offering after school social skills classes where students interact with their peers in a group setting. From there, we knew that our kids could learn to drive, but not in a typical setting. We partnered with SafeWay Driving and created Drivers Ed at Your Speed. This is an 8-12 week online course guided by one of our Social Motion Skills teachers. They take their time and really do learn at their speed. We offer a Young Adult group that meets and does activities in the community.  We partnered with Urban Chef and have a Cooking Club. We work with clients on job training and coaching as well as life coaching and behavioral therapy. This spring, we were able to bring the PEERS Program to Houston and are working to help today’s teens and their parents navigate and become their childs’ social coach. The sky is really the limit as we have entered into this path and see many needs that need to be met.

Donating to Easter Seals Greater Houston allows us to continue offering this IMG_5090exceptional program. If things don’t change now, then when? If it’s not us working to make a change, then who? Every life matters and we believe everyone needs a friend. Our clients, families, supporters & volunteers all believe in our program – and our clients and their families are all “going down their own road”, &  finding the right path or even paths.  I have been truly blessed by this dream I never knew I had. My career has gone down an amazing road….nothing I ever expected and more than I could ever dream possible. We can make a difference one life at a time….

Join our Walk With Me Houston team and come see what it’s all about!

Lauren Whidden  Social Motion Skills, Easter Seals Greater Houston

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