Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Autism is a Pain in the Aspergers

Autism is a Pain in the Aspergerstm

Chris with his Kazoo

Eric and Chris

IF you read my blog you know that my adult son Eric has severe Autism. What you may NOT know, is that my eldest son Christopher is also on the spectrum. Chris has a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome. When my boys were small, there were only two places to go for information, Geneva Centre for Autism and Autism Ontario. Help wasn't readily available back then, but the information was crucial, especially at a time when Autism was a word most people did not know. Autism Ontario and GCA helped guide me on my way to training as a therapist to help my boys


So when I heard about Autism is a Pain in the Aspergers , a variety show being held at Hughs Room (as you know by now, one of my fave venues) with proceeds going to Autism Ontario's Building Brighter Futures Fund , I knew I had to go, AND take Chris with me! 
But when I saw the lineup I died and went to heaven!    
Canadian Comedic Royalty, a YouTube sensation, and musicians I regularly grab tickets to see! 
Going to this event was a no-brainer, we just had to go!      

What I didn't expect was the emotion that would flood over me throughout the evening.

 I have a regular seat at the bar when I go to Hugh's Room, best view in the house, direct line of sight to the stage, completely unobstructed. Going with Chris, my spot was even MORE perfect as it allowed him to walk outside any time he needed a break. I was chatting with the bartender, whom I see regularly at shows I attend, when Chris mentioned I'd be needing tissues during the show. Yes, my son knows me well. He knew I'd cry at least once. The bartender inquired why, and well, guess what? Her Godson is autistic so we chatted a LONG time and she pulled out a giant roll of paper towels for me, figuring I'd need THAT many tissues! As it turned out, I only needed a stack of napkins 1.5'' high, so there! (sticking my tongue out mockingly!)

The night started off with speeches, and my sobbing began as a tale of meeting a mom with an adult son for whom no day services were available was told. Hit WAY to close to home.

But then the first act hit the stage.

Well, through my tears I could see my son Chris shedding his own. Not sad tears. Wonderful happy tears. The first act was Jordan Hilkowitz, a 12 year old boy diagnosed at 18months old with severe Autism and non-verbal til 5, now an internet sensation! He taught us all how to make a lava lamp with household materials and charmed our pants off!

Jordan's YouTube channel 'Doctor Mad Science' (YES, I subscribe) is in my `cool clips`bar on the home page of Days Of Whine and Rosè, but here`s a sample!

After Jordan left the stage it was one incredible act after another. Comedy, jazz and blues filled the air and an incredible time was had by all. Actors and comedians from 'Second City', 'Little Mosque on the Prairie', and more. Stars of television, stage and radio all made us laugh and cry and kept us thoroughly entertained.

A highlight of the evening for Chris was the hilarious comedy of 17 year old  Michael McCreary. Chris loves comedy, and the fact that Michael is also Aspie created an instant connection. Michael's humour had Chris and I (and the whole audience) in STITCHES! Below is a clip of Michael performing a comedy skit at the age of 14. Can't wait to see more of him!

The host for the innaugaral Autism is a Pain in the Aspergers last year was Canada's own Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway et al). He was unable to make it this year because he was accepting his well-deserved Canadian Comedy Awards Comedy Person of the Year accolade (we'll excuse you THIS year!). After a lot of fiddling with the computer (Where's an Aspie when you need one?) and a time filling hilarious take on Cinderella by host/creator/executive producer extraorinaire Carolyn Scott we were blessed with a sweet AND side-splitting 'video of apology for non-attendance' by Colin and his equally hilarious Canadian Comedic Royalty wife Debra McGrath. Carolyn's 'asides' (did she use a pointer?) added to the hilarity. 

Later in the evening 'Blues Goddess' Shakura S'Aida ,an extraordinary singer whom I've seen many times at Hugh's Room, graced the stage. Her incredible voice combined with a knack for charming her audience and upping the fun-ante was a thrilling addition to the night. Check her out, you will not be disappointed.

The evening ended with a quick hustle as volunteers handed out Kazoos (yes Kazoos, not Gazoos, as in 'The Great', a mistake I make often!) and through true Audience Participation we bid Bon Nuit via the playing of Oh Canada. 

Chris and I left happy and reveling in our Mother/Son time, something that you other Autism Mommas out there know is precious, fleeting and far too infrequent. I am still aghast at the exceptional entertainment we were treated to, and feel pure joy that the proceeds from the evening are going to such an incredible cause as Autism Ontario's Building Brighter Futures Fund. 

A perfect way to observe Canadian Autism Awareness Month! 

Thank you Autism Is A Pain In The Aspergers for a night my son and I will never forget!

Debra McGrath

To donate NOW click here

or pick up this 2014 calendar designed by Humber Design Students by clicking here

If you were there at Hugh's Room for Autism Is A Pain In The Aspergers, PLEASE feel free to comment below, tell your stories of the night, your fave acts (I couldn't fit them all in this posts but everyone was INCREDIBLE!), pics etc!

If you weren't there, but want to be NEXT year, follow @AutismsAPITA on twitter or Autism Is A Pain InThe Aspergers on Facebook.

No comments: