The Announcement You Have Been Waiting {Anxiously} For…

The month of April is Autism Awareness Month.

Autism Awareness is something near and dear to my heart. Why, do you ask? Because Sweet Pea is near and dear to my heart.

You see, Sweet Pea is my nickname for my little sister, Shannon. At 2 1/2 years younger than me, she is one of my closest  friends, a confidant, and my cuddle buddy. And she is autistic.

Sisters. Shannon is in the middle, surrounded by Jennifer (left) and myself (right). Courtesy of the amazing Mia Coelho

When you first meet her, you would never guess that she has had to deal with a learning disability her entire life; she is a high school graduate, in college at a major university, and has had a few job opportunities. By the time she was in 10th grade, she was able to take all regular classes and no longer needed extra help in the classroom, and for that I am so proud. It wasn’t always like that.

Shannon in the arms of our beautiful mom, and myself in the arms of Dad.

I didn’t know better when I was growing up that her development wasn’t the same as other kids her age. I was only 5 or 6 when she was diagnosed. I do remember that she was always on a different level than my other two siblings and myself; her attention was drawn elsewhere by what I thought were the strangest things. She didn’t really start communicating verbally (I don’t want to say talking, because she could talk, but it was mimicking with no true understanding) until she was around 5 years old. Through much dedication from my mother (who later went on to be a Special Education teacher) and her amazing teachers, she has shown so much progress. It still amazes me to this day how far she has come. I am so proud and inspired by her.

So in honor of my beautiful, incredible, smart, talented Sweet Pea, and in honor of Autism Awareness month, I am offering any session* free of charge to families affected by autism in any form, from mild Aspergers to severe autism. I hope to not only reach out to these families but spread awareness of these wonderful, beautiful people who may seem a bit different in the eyes of the world, but are precious in the sight of God, and were created in His image.

For more information about autism, please follow these links:

*Unfortunately, weddings cannot be included in this offer.

❤ Amy Lou


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