How Carly Fleischmann’s Trip To The Hairdresser Raised Autism Awareness? Autism Is Awesome!

Carly Fleischmann without knowing did something so moving and impactful I had to write about it.  I am quite lucky to be a part of a mother’s social group from my older’s son school. It is hard for me to get away from the demands of being a autism mommy, this is a group of friends I make sure I always have time to meet.

The evening was great with wine, food and stories.  One mother arrived late, the seats were all gone, she created a spot for herself at the head table.  As we were speaking, the topic moved on to my son, Niam Jain Autism Artist, and how Niam has been able to overcome disabilities to forge forward in the art world. Many have watched my struggles over the years and, were genuinely happy at Niam’s progress.   Mom at the head table, interrupted the conversation, as the topic of autism, led her to remember a recent experience she had at the hairdresser.

Mom, ( my friend who I will keep anonymous)  was getting her hair dyed. In walks a pretty girl with her therapists. She sits down but is moving a lot. She wants to have her hair dyed and highlighted. As she has Autism some of her mannerism may not seem “typical ” to those who are unfamiliar to the broad Autism Spectrum. My friend proceeds to narrate her story. She is a writer , beautiful and articulate and, she had the table’s undivided attention.

She was watching the girl, who she thought,   was being put through undue stress, to have her hair highlighted. She had a team of people around her who were trying to help her get her hair highlighted As a concerned and courageous  mom, she approaches the hairdresser and the team to voice her concerns. She honestly thought this girl was being put through undue stress to fit into a society’s perception of beauty.   Yeah Mom! The therapists were very polite, and proceeded to educate mom,  and tell her she has written a book, has been on talk shows and, will be appearing on a show. She is here on her on free will and   wants to look pretty.

The concluding line, Mom said was so impactful I had to share this story with you

” Shame on me for  not looking beyond the disability and underestimating abilities”

The table was silent, 14 friends of mine, had a great lesson on Autism Awareness.I took the opportunity to share the girls name, for all of us parents in the Autism World , we know who are beloved Carly Fleischmann is, the hope and voice she represents.  Mom wrote down her name and, will be reading her book.

There are some important points to note

1.Yeah Mom for stepping up to the plate to ask the therapists if Carly Fleischmann was okay. I think it takes great courage to intervene and be concerned for someone else’s well being who you don’t know. There is no shame in this. Mom’s intention was to stand up for someone’s rights who she did not even know in a loving manner. This is to be celebrated. What I am most proud of , is my friend, who patiently listened to the therapists, was ” big enough” to share her story and, say she learned a big lesson.  I am very proud of my friend.  I proceeded to tell her, always intervene, you never know when someone is in ACTUAL distress.  Concerned citizens, like my friend, will make our world safer for when our children step into the world.

2. I am proud of Carly Fleischmann Therapists who handled themselves with such poise.  They listened to mom’s concerns, and eloquently explained the situation with such dedication educating mom on the large spectrum of Autism and highlighting abilities. I hope other therapists can learn from you.

3. Dear Carly, Thank you from a mom of a child with Autism, Niam Jain,  for not being afraid to go out in the real world, be yourself and, raise Autism Awareness by being yourself.

I had the pleasure of meeting Carly Fleischmann two summers ago, at Camp Thrive when she tried one of Able2learn’s free visual recipes. She probably does not remember me, I remember her.

This is what is important. I REMEMBER HER.  PEOPLE REMEMBER HER. Her impact as a beautiful human being is special.

Keep doing what your doing Carly. Autism Is Awesome!  Be Yourself!

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Purchase of Give an Original Piece of Art of Niam Jain’s as seen on CBC National.




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