I was thinking the other day…..why do I enjoy wearing these shirts and why do I keep purchasing more?
Well……because of AWARENESS!
Awareness to others….. what I support…. who I support…. AND…….. When I wear my therapy shirt, it shows to others who I am. It allows them to make a connection.
But I think maybe it really makes me feel good inside when I can connect with others with the thought that I am familiar with a particular topic, subject or idea.
A visual cue is a tool used with my students, allowing them to take in the information visually and alerts the student to “look, engage and make a connection”. I am saying that this is what or who I believe in. An individual that I encounter may wish to have a conversation or discussion about the topic. This has happened on MANY occasions when I wear these shirts like walking down the hallways, in the store, walking in the park to name a few. It is a tool to identify with others. Even when at school, we often ALL wear a particular shirt. When we wear the shirt for our school, it shows that we are a cohesive group, working together and being a “family”. It says WE belong here!
When we wear a shirt to support a particular cause, again many students are SO excited to see that we ALL have the same shirt. The saying on the shirt, or the color of the shirt will peak their interest and willingness to share their experiences. Like when it is time for the Special Olympics. Even if we all aren’t attending or participating, many of us purchase a shirt for that year, to support the students as part of our school community. We ALL work together to support the individual athletes. It is an identity, an excitement that we can share a similar bond and make a connection. Even if the individual has limited speech, just the gesture of them looking at themselves, then to you, then they point to their shirt and then to yours……and then a SMILE! We are similar!! How exciting!!
Or when I am at the store, wearing an awareness shirt and I am in line. An individual in front of me, turns and starts a conversation……” I have a sibling with Autism…….and then it leads to further conversation that this sibling is a gifted artist, has a job, and is being successful!! Wow!!! Just because I have a particular shirt on that day. It also allows me to engage in the conversation about what I do …..as a professional, as a parent of a child on the spectrum. We have made a connection. And during this encounter, I learn that I am familiar with the organization that the sibling is employed by!! What a small world don’t you think??
Or, when I am at a restaurant, and a gentleman walks by the table, looks at my shirt and recalls students that he has had in his classroom with the particular disability. He speaks highly of the supports that he was given, gives accolades to those that supported the particular student, and encourages others to keep supporting through positive affirmation of a job well done!!
~ALL BECAUSE I WORE AN AWARENESS SHIRT!!