Thursday, April 2, 2009

We're In Today's Paper!!!

'Warrior Moms' gather for photo shoot
By Rob Earnshaw
Times Correspondent | Thursday, April 02, 2009

Northwest Indiana mothers of autism are demonstrating how powerful a force they are.

It's all part of a worldwide campaign organized by The Autism File magazine due to the huge impact of this month's cover shoot featuring six autism mothers, or "Warrior Moms," striking an authoritative pose.

The magazine asked moms from all over the world to participate by gathering together to do their own photo shoot to be featured in its July issue, the Web site and at the Autism One Conference in May.

Today marks World Autism Awareness Day. One in 150 children are diagnosed with autism. It is the fastest growing developmental disability.

The campaign was sparked following a federal court ruling earlier this year that childhood vaccines don't cause autism.

"The ruling was a pretty big blow to our community," said Lisa Fox, president of the National Autism Association, Northwest Indiana Chapter. "The Autism File started this campaign to show that you can rule that but we'll never stop fighting for our kids. We'll always be the Warrior Moms -– and that's what those ladies on the front cover were representing."

Fox, who has a 7-year-old autistic son, gathered nine other autism moms to create their version of the magazine cover at The Color Room Salon & Day Spa in Dyer. The spa graciously donated hair and make-up services for the moms as did Tak Photography for the photo shoot.

"This is a real big treat for the moms," Fox said. "It's a nice little break and makes them feel special."

Maria Janik, vice president of NWI-NAA and mother of two autistic boys, said the campaign was a great way for the moms to get together.

"We want to make families aware there are treatment options available to help our children inside just as therapy helps them on the outside," Janik said.

Tracy Blaney, who has a 7-year-old son with autism, said the campaign was a pleasant surprise and great for the moms.

"Autistic moms don't have time to get pampered," she said. "We usually don't take time for ourselves."

For information on the local autism chapter visit On Aug. 1, The Color Room Salon & Day Spa, 14785 W. 101 Ave., Dyer, is hosting its 2nd Annual Family Festival. The event includes games, food, music and a silent auction with a focus to earn funds for the NWI National Autism Association -- Helping Hand Project. The project provides grants to families in Lake and Porter counties who are affected by autism. To find out how to help, call (219) 365-0173.

Red Flags of Autism
* No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
* No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
* No babbling by 12 months
* No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
* No words by 16 months
* No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
* Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
Copyright © 2009


Heather said...

Yay!!! I'm so proud of you and all the Moms- what a wonderful way to spread our message :) :)

Bridgett said...

I'm so proud of you guys. Wish I knew more moms around here...

Great article!


Christina said...

Awesome Michelle!! You are just awesome!!