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R.E.S.T. Support Group
Michelle Cox, Founder

How long have you been working in the autism community?
I have been working in the autism community for four years.

What is one myth about autism that you'd like to squelch?
One myth I’d like to squelch is that people with autism are difficult to understand. I know many mothers of children with autism, and I feel they have a deeper understanding and appreciation of their children than some mothers of typical children. I love how autism stretches mothers and fathers to become students of their children in a way that they learn to see the world from a different perspective. It is a beautiful thing.

What makes your group unique?
R.E.S.T. is unique because it is a cross-disability support group that meets once a month for intentional Rejuvenation, Encouragement, Support and Truth. I started R.E.S.T. because of my personal experience of isolation and desperation after my son was diagnosed. I found it so hard to keep a positive focus, and I wanted to provide support and resources for other moms going through the same challenges. Our monthly meetings, playdates, family events and moms' night out are all great places to connect. However, our Facebook page is really wonderful for connecting right away with other moms who understand what you are experiencing. We started with 10 moms and now we have over 400! It’s comforting to know a friend is never farther away than your computer.

What are some of your personal interests and hobbies?
My personal interests are gardening, being crafty, reading and planning special events for R.E.S.T. Our next big event will feature Portland author, Pam Vredeveldt, who will speak on Oct. 8 at Good Shepherd Community Church on “Experiencing the Power of Joy.” All are invited to come!

To join REST Support Group, please e-mail restsupport@hotmail.com or contact Michelle Cox at (971) 506-4949.

Ricardo Ismach and Melissa Kenney, with son Zee (age 9, pictured left)
Portland, Oregon

What is one myth about autism that you'd like to squelch?
That "Auties" don't don't have feelings. That they can't have their feelings hurt by being teased or excluded. (Ricardo)

Folks on the spectrum feel as deeply and profoundly as folks with more neurotypical brains. They express their observations and emotions in less common ways. My son tells me about his day by sharing his favorite Mario character's YouTube episodes and putting himself and his friends in his own Mario cartoons, but the themes are the same: conflict, battle, getting help, understanding the problem, coming to a resolution. His descriptions of his life describe the same human themes that we all address in our lives. (Melissa)

What is your favorite trait of your child on the spectrum?
His playfulness. (Ricardo)
When he unexpectedly gives me a hug and says "I love you, too." I hear that most moms of 9-year-old boys cherish this moment, too. (Melissa)

What does neurodiversity mean to you?
It sounds like a political buzzword with implications and undertones that I don't understand, but probably aimed at including people on the spectrum in settings where they may have been excluded in the past and present. (Ricardo)

It means we humans are learning the concept that all of us see, experience and express our perception of our world in unique ways, and that those collective perceptions give us a greater understanding of our place in the world and universe. (Melissa)

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Check out several trainings sponsored by FACT to support the goal of integrated employment for all Oregonians. More information.

"Emotions to Advocacy," Assistance with the IEP process
Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 7 | 9:30-11:30 a.m.

ARC of Clark County Family Center
6511 NE 18th Street, Vancouver

Eight-week workshop to prepare for the IEP process with professionals and advocates on hand to help. $10 includes a book and scholarships are available. Call Darla for more information, (360) 823-2247 or email darlah@ccparentcoalition.org. More information.

"Experiencing the Power of Joy," a lecture by author Pam Vredeveldt
Wednesday, Oct. 8 | 6:30 p.m.
Good Shepherd Community Church
28986 SE Haley Road, Boring

Presented by R.E.S.T., a support group for families with special needs. Please RSVP: restsupport@hotmail.com or call Michelle Cox, (971) 506-4949. More information.

Sensory Processing Disorder and its Effects on the Family
Thursday, Oct. 9 | 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Providence Portland, 4805 NE Glisan Street
Cancer Center Amphitheater

Lisa Porter, MOT, OTR/L will discuss the basics of Sensory Processing Disorder, SPD, its components and subcategories, and how they may impact your child’s function and family dynamic. More information.

SW Washington Support Group for Adults with Autism
Friday, Oct. 10 | 6:30-8:30 p.m.

ARC of Clark County Family Center 
6511 NE 18th Street, Vancouver

A free autism mentoring book, "Been There, Done That, Try This: An Aspie's Guide to Life on Earth," to all who RSVP and attend. Please RSVP to karen@autismempowerment.org. Group meets the 2nd Friday evening of each month. More information.

Unity Day and Bullying Prevention Event
Wednesday, Oct. 22 | 6-9 p.m. (panel 6:30-8:30 p.m.)
Evergreen Public School
13501 NE 28th Street, Vancouver

A panel of experts, advocates and thought leaders will speak about bullying in a variety of areas: education, employment and community life. Wear orange in support of bullying awareness and unity. Free resources and refreshments will be provided. More information.

"An Evening of Hope," Town Hall Meeting for nonPareil Institute Portland
Wednesday, Oct. 22 | 7-9 p.m.

1400 SW 5th Avenue, 3rd Floor, Portland

Meet the founders of the nP Institute and its efforts to expand the program to Portland. nP Institute strives to train teens and adults on the spectrum for meaningful employment in the software and technology industry. Meet the founders, the nP Portland team and students who tell their stories. More information

"Healthy Relationships and Beyond"
Wednesday, Oct. 29 | 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Providence Portland, 4805 NE Glisan Street
Cancer Center Amphitheater

A big part of the transition journey for youth with disabilities, is learning to find friendship and love outside of the family. Susan Labhard, RN, and Chuck Davis, MSW, will discuss the often overlooked topic of safe “relationships.” Here caregivers will learn the importance of socialization and providing youth who experience disability with appropriate information on the development of healthy relationships. More information.

Education Resources

Lifespan Resources

Therapy Resources