As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Showing posts with label World Autism Awareness Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World Autism Awareness Day. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Starbucks, Make This Right. (UPDATED)

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.

It is a day recognized worldwide with the ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign by Autism Speaks, where thousands of iconic landmarks, businesses, communities, schools, and homes unite by shining bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families across the globe that are affected by autism.

So on April 2nd, 2015, a Starbucks partner (employee) in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, whose child was recently diagnosed with autism, wanted to show her support and celebrate World Autism Awareness Day at her workplace. She decorated the store with blue balloons and blue pompoms to help bring autism awareness to their customers and their community.


Later that day, their location had visitors from Starbucks Canada head office. After the visit, she received a phone call from the District Manager informing her that the Regional Director Operations told her to take down the decorations:

It looks tacky. It wasn’t done properly. Take it down.

Her response:

The blue was for World Autism Awareness Day’s Autism Speaks ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign and our store wanted to show support for myself and my son who was recently diagnosed with autism, as well as show our support for our community.

District Managers response:

You’re not listening.

Her response:

No. I heard you. I’ll take it down.

How could someone, let alone someone from a company that is “all about community” and “being good neighbors” have the nerve to say that autism awareness is tacky!?

The definition of tacky is ‘showing poor taste and quality.’

Here’s a picture of the decorations she put up. Does this look like ‘showing poor taste and quality’ to you?

I am sorry that the blue balloons and blue pompoms didn’t match your d├ęcor, Starbucks, but this was about bringing awareness to autism in your community, in your neighbourhood. Isn’t that what you’re company claims to be all about?

Every store is part of a community, and we take our responsibility to be good neighbors seriously. We want to be invited in wherever we do business. We can be a force for positive action – bringing together our partners, customers, and the community to contribute every day. Now we see that our responsibility – and our potential for good – is even larger. The world is looking to Starbucks to set the new standard, yet again. We will lead.
- excerpt from Starbucks Canada’s Mission Statement

And to say that “it wasn’t done properly”? The reason we ‘Light It Up Blue’ is because it starts the discussion about autism.

The customers have been asking questions [about the blue decorations] and we have been getting great feedback!
- a Starbucks partner (employee)

Well guess what, Starbucks? I guess it was done properly and successfully because the blue decorations did get your customers talking about autism.

Are the blue balloons for autism? This is great! I’ve been teaching children with autism for 12 years.
- Starbucks customer

Why the blue balloons? World Autism Awareness Day? This is wonderful! More people need to know about this!
- Starbucks customer

As a mother who loves someone with autism and as an autism advocate, I was completely disgusted and furious when I heard this from my sister who lives in Squamish.

I wanted to meet this mom and show my support. So I contacted her and she agreed to meet and share her story. I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone, that this was wrong, and something had to be done. This is exactly why autism awareness is needed.

I really believe that Starbucks owes an apology to all the families, in Squamish, their community, living with autism, to all of the families, in the World, their neighbourhood, living with autism, and especially to their partner (employee) and her child with autism, who spent the remainder of her day at work in silence and sadness because they took away the one day that we get to shine a bright light on autism.

Autism awareness is not “tacky.”

Starbucks, make this right.

Thanks for reading,

Edit: I’d like to add that this store often participates in local and world wide events, fundraisers, and awareness causes, and the partners (employees) have the flexibility to support and decorate the store to promote such campaigns so this wasn’t about permission.

UPDATE (April 23rd, 2015): The District Manager of this location left a comment at the bottom of this blog post denying everything:

Starbucks response to 'Starbucks, Make This Right.'

Wanting to hear his side of the story, and get some questions answered, I took him up on his offer. I sent him an email that same day and posted it as a reply in the comments below as well:

Bubbles Make Him Smile response to Starbucks, Make This Right

When I didn’t hear from him after a couple of days, I sent a follow up email from a different e-mail address incase my original e-mail went to his junk folder. I received an auto-reply response that he was out of the office until X day. So after that day, I followed up again, and got another auto-reply response that he was out of the office until X day again.

As of this update, I have not received a response from him.

UPDATE (April 23rd, 2015): The store is hosting an autism awareness event Friday, April 24th, 2015 from 2pm to 5pm in honour of Autism Awareness month. I’m not sure of all the particulars because they haven’t publicized it very well (no offense), but from my understanding there’s going to a representative from Autism Society of British Columbia to answer any questions people may have and provide information about autism to the community as well as some children’s activities and face painting.

I hope this is Starbucks making this right.

UPDATE (April 24th, 2015): Thank you, Starbucks, for hosting this event and bringing your community together in support of autism awareness!!!!!

I want you to know that it is absolutely beautiful that you were willing to TEACH your community about autism awareness, acceptance, and understanding. How much you LOVE and support your community enough to do this for them and hopefully INSPIRE many more autism awareness events throughout your community. And I personally HOPE this is something you will continue every year.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

This picture is a face of Autism.

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I thought it was perfectly said and asked to share.

Today is April 2. It is also Autism Awareness Day. Of course since Miss Wow came into my life, this has become a significant day for our whole family. I won’t state stats at you. I won’t reiterate what is autism. I will simply say the following few things:

This picture is a face of Autism. And it is the most awesome face I have ever seen.

I love my kid. Simply because she is my world and cause she is an amazing personality.

Anyone who choses not to accept her or others like her, will be missing out on all their wonderfulness. That is sad for them.

This kid will rule the world. Or least the space she is in I have no doubt.

She will continue to be happy, healthy and whole - and that is all that truly matters.

(And if you hurt her in any way, you will understand the term "Mama Bear" in a whole new way.)
- Anita Helser

Light It Up Blue #LIUB for World Autism Awareness Day #WAAD

Today is World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD).

World Autism Awareness Day is a day to rally people around the world to raise awareness about a disorder that impacts 1 in 68 children. This is your opportunity to get your family, friends, and workplace on board to draw attention to the needs of those affected by autism and to educate people on what autism is.

Our hope is that this one day will spark increased awareness and support for autism year-round. WAAD may just be one day... but autism is a lifelong disorder that needs attention the other 364 days of the year.
- Autism Speaks Canada

In honor of people with autism worldwide, iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, schools, universities, bridges, retail stores, and thousands of homes will light blue beginning today.

This year we've joined Autism Speaks Canada’s ‘Light It Up Blue’ (LIUB) online campaign and had a photo shoot! Sometimes It’s hard for Bryce to make eye contact and smile for the camera, so just taking one picture isn’t always easy, instead, we take a bunch! Here’s the results of our little photo shoot of selfies in honour of World Autism Awareness Day!

We’ve also turned our Facebook and Twitter pages blue today in celebration of WAAD! Find out how you can too and Light It Up Blue!

Find out how you can Light It Up Blue and help spread autism awareness throughout your community!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya and Bryce

P.S. Whether or not you support Autism Speaks organizations, this month and this campaign, is all about raising autism awareness and it starts with conversation. This month more than anything else is when the media and social media starts the discussion and ‘'blue’ gets people talking about autism which leads to understanding and acceptance and THAT is what Autism Awareness month is all about.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


The seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2014. Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. How will you celebrate?

team bryce

Let’s make April 2014 not only a month of autism awareness, but acceptance and understanding!

Thanks for reading,
Team Bryce

Graphic made by Jr. Media Group

Monday, April 2, 2012

World Autism Awareness Day – “Awareness is Key to Accepting Autism”

Today is World Autism Awareness Day! More awareness leads to more acceptance and understanding. This is the very reason we created our blog! To share our lives and experiences as people who love someone with autism to you!

I woke up this morning to text messages and Facebook wall posts from my friends letting me know they saw me and Bryce in the newspaper. I knew exactly why and immediately got dressed and headed to my nearest sky train station to pick up today’s 24 Hours Vancouver (a local paper) to discover our story was shared in today’s issue on page 3 (“Awareness is Key to Accepting Autism”.)

I knew they took pictures of us blowing bubbles yesterday at the Canucks Autism Network Family Festival in honour of World Autism Awareness Day and I spoke with a woman who was with the paper and did a little interview, but to actually see it on paper, and see how much of our story was published, even our website getting a shout-out, and how much attention it’s bringing autism today, it’s just completely overwhelming. I am literally at a loss for words. I am just so honoured that they used our picture and shared our story to help bring awareness to autism.

We’d like to thank Stephanie Ip of the 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper for sharing our story and Carmine Marinelli of the 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper for taking the beautiful picture! Check out the article here: “Awareness is Key to Accepting Autism”.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Canucks Autism Network Family Festival

We blew bubbles at the Canucks Autism Network Family Festival at Jack Poole Plaza in honour of World Autism Awareness Day here in Vancouver, British Columbia. Beautiful event, beautiful cause, beautiful energy and our bubbles made everyone smile!

Please check out the Canucks Autism Network website for more information on how you CAN help enrich the lives of individuals and families living with autism in British Columbia.

Canucks Autism Network Family Festival

Have pictures or videos of us blowing bubbles? Please feel free to post them on our Facebook page or email them to for us to share!

Thanks for reading,

Friday, April 29, 2011

Raise a little hell for autism

A little video I put together with footage from the rally for World Autism Awareness Day in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with Canucks Autism Network.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, April 5, 2010

WAAD in Vancouver (extras)

Just wanted to share some more pictures that I took from World Autism Awareness Day in Vancouver.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

World Autism Awareness Day in Vancouver

My footage from the rally for World Autism Awareness Day in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, April 1, 2010

WAAD in Vancouver (sneak peak)

Today we gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 7:30am to 9:30am for a rally with Canucks Autism Network (CAN) recognizing April 1st as World Autism Awareness Day in Vancouver.

Here’s a sneak peak of the event.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, March 26, 2010

April is all about Autism Awareness!

World Autism Awareness Day

Friday, April 2nd, 2010 will be the 3rd Annual World Autism Awareness Day.

World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of the autism epidemic and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe.

The Autism Awareness Ribbon

By bringing together autism organizations all around the world, we will give a voice to the millions of individuals worldwide who are undiagnosed, misunderstood and looking for help. Please join us in our effort to inspire compassion, inclusion and hope.

Thanks for reading,