Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives an AUTISM Interview by asking six questions through each letter in the word AUTISM to give readers an insightful perspective from parents, experts, entrepreneurs, and other leaders in the field.
Today’s AUTISM Interview is with Kiedra Hinkle-Tyson, who is a single mother of a nine-year-old child with autism named Brandon. Professionally, Kiedra is a public relations and marketing expert, and this includes print, web, mobile, and social media. Her specialties are in the area of branding, identity, networking, and sales strategy.
A is for Awareness
When and how did you first become aware that something was different?
I realized something was different when my son was about two and a half years old; words that he would always say he started forgetting but would consistently repeat things he saw on PBS.
U is for Unique
How has this experience been Unique for you and your child?
This experience has been unique for us because it’s our experience. I read a quote that said, “If you meet one autistic child, you’ve met one autistic child.” Each child that is on the spectrum has their own thing that makes them special :). My son is funny, affectionate, and fun to travel with. We just took a nine-hour flight from Miami to Milan last week, and he did great.
T is for Tools
What tools are there now that were not there in the beginning that could help other parents?
Smart boards. My son is nine now, and at two and three years old, it was a struggle for him to pick a dominant hand. He is a super smart kid, just not great at writing. With the evolution of technology and computers, the world has been phasing out paper and pencil. When he was introduced to the smart board, he was able to show his knowledge of letters and being able to spell.
I is for Inspire
As a parent, when you look at your child or children, what inspires you?
When I look at my son, what inspires me is his future. He is an only child, and I want to make sure I am doing everything in my power to give him all the tools he needs to be successful and function in the world. I also want to do my best to leave something behind for him and make the world a better place for him.
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S is for Support
Are there things you struggle with or have struggled with and what types of support do you still need?
I am a publicist by trade and have to travel a lot for business. Most of the time, especially when I travel in the summer, he gets to come. My mom acts as the nanny when I travel, but I would love to be able to access other resources when I am on the road, and out of the country.
M is for Manage
What keys to success can you leave with parents so that they can better manage their day to day efforts?
You are not alone. I found a lot of help with Easter Seals. They have programs where they can have paras to come to your home, work with your child, for a few hours during the week. In the summer they also have camps as well. Work with the special needs school district; the schools have a lot of programs that they don’t advertise. Even the YMCA has options available for special needs. Take things one day at a time.
This article was featured in Issue 91 – Great Back-to-School Strategies