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No Small Victories to host Autism Awareness fair April 21

April 11, 2012 SPRINGFIELD — April is Autism Awareness month and No Small Victories invites the public to participate in the No Small Victories Autism Awareness Fair on April 21. The event will take place at the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services Youth Center, 3 Rutland St., on April 21 from noon to 4 p.m. Jacqueline Williams-Hines, founder of No Small Victories, is a local author who writes children's books about autism. As the mother of a child living with autism, Williams-Hines was motivated to self-publish her first book in 2006. "Joshua and The Startabulous Dream Maker" gave a brief general overview of what autism is. Through a community grant and fund-raising in the form of her No Small Victories Autism Awareness Event/Walk-a-thon, she went on to publish the second book in her then aptly named No Small Victories book series. "The Adventures of Suther Joshua from Planet Yethican," released in early 2008, dealt with the preoccupation that children with autism often experience with certain objects or ideas, and how Joshua turned what is often looked at as a negative into a positive. The most recently released third book entitled, "Joshua That's Sooo Slimming!" deals with a phenomenon known as stimming, or auto-stimulation, which is often characterized by repetitive movements or sounds such as rocking back and forth, throat clearing or repetition of a certain word or phrase. Autism is the largest growing developmental disability affecting our children today with autism birth rates in America currently standing at 1:110, with boys being affected 4:1 to females at 1:70. For families on the autism spectrum, life can feel like a game of hot potato when dealing with insurance companies, schools, social service providers and the very communities in which they live. Finding and maintaining supports for families on the autism spectrum can often resembles a game of tag with everyone crying, "Not It!" Educational advocates and respite services providers often players, if available at all, to families to "tag-in" when requiring a time out. No Small Victories' goal is to bring about autism awareness knowledge in the greater Springfield area, to empower parents in seeking a diagnosis and supports, and to promote community inclusion. Bookmark and Share

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