An Exclusive Look at AUTISM With Sarah Chambers
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 Sarah Chambers, general manager at SensaCalm (www.sensacalm.com). When Sarah’s son David was diagnosed with autism, Sarah’s mother Donna Chambers began sewing weighted blankets to calm him and help him sleep. This was the beginning of the SensaCalm weighted blanket company of Chattanooga, TN. This organization grew to a company of 30 workers, which Sarah now manages, and which makes weighted blankets and other therapy items for people with autism and sensory processing disorders all over the world. Her son, David, is now 15.
A is for Awareness
When and how did you first become aware that something was different?
I first became aware when my son was one and a half years old and stopped developing in speech then completely regressed and suddenly would no longer look at me when I was trying to play with him.
U is for Unique
How has this experience been Unique for you and your child?
What made this experience unique for us is that it was a very sudden event that we slowly worked through over the years. From what I understand, this is not normally how people find out that their child has autism. It was abrupt and obvious.
T is for Tools
What tools are there now that were not there at the beginning that could help other parents?
Goodness, there are so many tools now. I think the main one would be social media groups that have other parents talking about what therapies worked for their children and what didn’t. Another great resource I have just discovered is the adults with autism groups, getting their perspective on the therapies, and how they would like to be treated is invaluable.
Click here to find out more
I is for Inspire
As a parent, when you look at your child or children, what inspires you?
David inspires me by being so content with himself. He does what makes him happy, and that is just all there is to it.
S is for Support
Are there things you struggle with or have struggled with and what types of support do you still need?
Communication is always our biggest issue that we need support with. However, since David is close to aging out of the school system, it’s becoming more clear that there aren’t many resources out there for adults with autism, especially ones that are non-verbal.
M is for Manage
What keys to success can you leave with parents so that they can better manage their day to day efforts?
I manage by finding my calm and seeing the humor in everyday things. Taking care of yourself and your mind is just as important as taking care of your child, don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself.
This article was featured in Issue 93 – ASD Advice for Today and Tomorrow