Monday, December 30, 2013

"We ALL Fit" single release!

In 10 days, on Thursday, January 9, 2014, at 10 a.m., some 500 teachers, students, administrators, community stakeholders, and cast members will gather at Cushing Elementary in Delafield, Wis., to see the "We ALL Fit" music video by The Figureheads for the first time.  Following the world premiere event, the video will be available on YouTube and the single (featuring Noelle Budde, Evelyn Barta, and Regan Carter) will be available through online music outlets.  Like our Facebook page to get the links after the premiere.

Since space is limited for the premiere and reception to follow, attendance is by invitation and registration only.  If you did not receive an invitation but wish to come, we would be happy to put you on stand-by, notifying you on Tuesday, January 7, if we still have space available.  Please send an email with your first and last name, title, and organization (if applicable) to, subject: I want to come to the "We ALL Fit" premiere.

Whether or not you're able to see the video with us live, you'll want to sing along.  Here are the lyrics, which by themselves are powerful poetry; and with the music, they're unforgettable.

When you look down on the world from a plane in the sky,
you can see that we're all part of a picture. You and I
are the pieces of a puzzle. Yeah, we're all connected;
leaning on each other - so much beauty unexpected.
We're all looking for a good friend - someone that we
can be ourselves with, who will encourage us to be
like one family. That's it!
The secret to the puzzle is knowing we all fit. 
Verse 1 
My favorite puzzles are pictures of people, plants, and the places
I've never been to. They're like portals into worlds and I'm waiting
for magic trees to invite me into the picture and take me
into a story about how I saved the world from a fire-
breathing dragon over lava. That'd be awesome, I know!
What if the planet was a puzzle? Where would all of us go?
I mean, what if you were a piece trying to fit in a spot,
and every time that you try, somebody tells you there's not
enough room for you - like you don't belong in the puzzle. What?!
That'd be tough, and that's why every one of us stands up
for the person and people looking to fit in this puzzle.
We ALL Fit. That's it! It shouldn't be such a struggle. 
Verse 2 
Autism isn't something that you catch.
It's not an itch than you can scratch.
It's like a hidden treasure, and here's a map
to help us all understand where we're at.
As we learn how to respond and react
to our friends with autism and the ways they may act.
As we learn to recognize the gifts they've been given
so that We can move together in one rhythm with ‘em -
back and forth, up and down.
We can rock our bodies and dance around.
We can try to see through each other's eyes.
It can be hard to do, but if we try -
Well, then we're one step closer to the treasure
of being a community and moving on together.
So find out all the ways that you can help.
And in the process you may even find yourself.
Good friends, let’s go! 

Sometimes I feel lost and alone.
Wish I had a place that felt like home.
And if I had a friend -
someone who understood -
then that would make a difference,
a difference for the good.
Good friends, let's go! 
© 2013 Good Friend, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Please share this song with your school, students, and community!  Help us create a culture of acceptance where children of all abilities are valued and included!

Monday, December 16, 2013

"My Favorite Things", autism-style

My son with autism is nearly 15 years old.  When things start buzzing around Christmastime, he has a guarded enthusiasm.  He loves to bring out the movies of the season, but isn't so excited about how much changes around the house.  So it was especially beautiful when he stopped on Saturday morning and noticed ornaments on our tree.  He found the ones that had meaning to him, and pushed buttons on those with sound effects.  It was good to see him enjoy things on his terms.

And though I'm not sure why, it made me think of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music.  And I put together this alternate, interpretive version -- a compilation of all things my boy (and a little of my girl thrown in, too).  Some of it just might resonate with your experiences.  So get your tune ready and sing along!  (Yes, I cheated out of a stanza in each series.  You get the idea.)

Julie Andrews sings "My Favorite Things" in Rodgers & Hammerstein's
The Sound of Music (Robert Wise Productions, 1965)
Shirts without long sleeves or rough tags or stitching
(Put that junk on me and watch me start itching)
Pants I slide into without buttoning -
These are a few of my favorite things.

Schedules and checklists so I know what’s coming
People who don’t mind my flapping and humming
Toys with lights flashing but not ones that sing -
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the dog barks, when my sis cries, and my ears hurt bad,
I block it all out with my hands or my voice, and then I don’t feel so sad.

Swimming and jumping and water slide riding
Getting away from the noise while I’m hiding
Puppies and kittens that snuggle and kiss -
These are a few things that bring me such bliss.

My mom, dad and teachers and friends, but not strangers
Light sabers, Nerf guns, and all Power Rangers
Time by myself without too much talking -
These are a few of my favorite things

When the plans change, when I can’t cope, and I’m feeling mad,

I rewind a movie to my favorite part, and then I don’t feel so bad.

Make sure you build in plenty of time for your student with autism's favorite things this holiday season!  Share some of your child's favorite things in the comments.

Monday, December 9, 2013

9 Ways To Interact With People With Autism, Translated

A little over a year ago, I was a guest blogger for Crisis Prevention Institute.  Click here to check it out, and share with those who will be around your loved one with autism this month.  Here's to happy holidays!

Monday, December 2, 2013

#GivingTuesday 2013

I hope your weekend has been as delightful as mine has been!  I've heard stories (mostly good ones) about Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and now Cyber Monday.  We want to hear YOUR story about Giving Tuesday!

Good Friend has taken its involvement in the #GivingTuesday movement up a notch for 2013.  We're now a partner in the 92Y Initiative to change the focus of this holiday shopping season from one of accumulating stuff to being charitable.  What do you give?  Time?  Talent?  Cash?  And why do you give it?  Why should others care about your cause?

Already this school year, Denise and I have presented our organization's message of autism awareness, acceptance, and empathy directly to more than 2,000 students.  We know we can reach another 3,000 before the summer break with the support of engaged, caring community members.  How can you help us today and/or tomorrow?

  • By spreading the word about what we do, why it's important, and how schools can use our products and services to create cultures of acceptance.  
  • By donating online at  Click on the Donate button.  (You don't need a PayPal account!)
  • By sharing your #UNselfie using this image.

 Just print it, write the reason you support us in the blank, take your photo, and post it with the hashtags (including #GoodFriendInc) on your favorite social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).

Here are the top five reasons why Denise and I give:

  • kids with autism should be understood, not bullied.
  • doing inclusion right means educating peers.
  • every student in school, regardless of ability, deserves at least one good friend.
  • playdates are rare and precious for our kids with ASD.
  • birthday party invitations RULE.

The goal for our annual giving campaign will be met if we raise another $2,100.  We would greatly appreciate your support in helping us meet that goal!  Here's to #GivingTuesday!