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January 8, 2011 / paperkids

The Golden Hat

I have not been able to stop thinking about The Golden Hat Foundation.  I feel bad admitting this, but I haven’t really supported too many autism fundraisers or organizations in the past.  I think when you’re so deeply involved with raising children with autism, you can only focus on so many other things.  And for me, that’s been the kids – and more recently blogging.  I have many friends that do give up so much of their time to organizations and I respect them so much – how do they do it??!  I’ve never been one of those moms that took on the world – as I’ve said before, I may be one of the most unorganized and scattered people you’d ever meet!  Just ask my husband and friends…and even my mom would tell you.   I don’t make the autism walks or conventions and, until recently, hadn’t really kept up with the current autism research.  Luckily, I have good friends that fill me on the current news.

So that’s why this story about the Golden Hat Foundation really touched me deeply.  I can understand someone who has personally been affected by autism being impacted enough to raise money and awareness.  But the woman behind this great foundation did not have a child with autism.  She wasn’t a caregiver, therapist, teacher or any other such professional associated with autism.

She is a mother.  And she also happens to be an Academy Award winning actress.  Her name is Kate Winslet and I’m sure you’ve heard of her.  Having narrarrated the documentary A Mother’s Courage,  about the mother of an Icelandic boy with autism who searches the world for answers to help her son, Kate Winslet was moved by one simple thing: love.

Kate describes her motivation to get involved:

After watching  A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism with my daughter, she turned to me and asked, “What if I wasn’t able to talk to you mummy?” As I thought about what that meant, for a mother not to be able to talk with her own child, I realized that I had to lend my voice to raise awareness of this rapidly increasing disorder.    As a mother of two, I thought, how could I not help tell this story of a mother’s journey to discover her son; a film full of courage and a determination to try to change the world for children with autism.   I am incredibly proud to be involved on this journey to help give people with autism a voice.

I thought it was really incredible that a mother would be so moved by another mother’s deepest desire because it was one that all mothers and fathers alike can share in.  And I think what I love most is the simplification of the ultimate goal of this project, which is to help these individuals realize their dreams through communication, education and support.

The Golden Hat Foundation was named so after a poem written by Keli, the Icelandic boy at the center of the documentary.  I have yet to see this film, but watching the trailer, I couldn’t help, but smile at all the familiar faces I saw – Tito, Temple, Dov, and Soma – all people who inspired me and kept my hope alive.  They are my heroes!  I really like this excerpt taken from their website under Our Passion as it says a lot of what I hold to be true and important…

We at the Golden Hat Foundation believe that:

  • Despite the lack of speech and odd behaviors in people with autism, we should assume intelligence first and then find ways to access it.  People with autism are different, but they have unique strengths, perceptions, and talents that deserve recognition and respect.
  • People with autism should be given the means to learn to communicate.
  • People with autism should have access to an appropriate academic education, social supports and job training based on their abilities.

With your support, we can change the world for people with autism. It is their time to GLOW.

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Here is that beautiful poem from which Kate named her foundation.  Kelli has found his voice and it’s my sincere desire that all children and adults like he and Emma  find theirs and realize their dreams.

The Golden Hat
This boy had a golden hat.
The hat was Magical.  It could talk.
The boy did not have any voice.  He had autism.
His hat was always with him.
His hat was lost one day.
Now he had no way of telling them his stories.
His mom and dad became sad.
They taught him spelling on a letterboard.
It was hard.
– Kelli


Leave a Comment
  1. Candy / Jan 8 2011 2:53 am

    Thank you for sharing this, Sabra. I hope Kate Winslet’s foundation gets noticed. I was at UCLA, today, and I noticed a quote on the wall of benefactors. It said something like this: “The generosity of a few brings hope to many.” (–Anonymous) Isn’t that the truth? I immediately thought of autism. Can you imagine if there was the generosity of many and how much it would help people with autism and other disabilities?

    Off topic…you should be a journalist!! Your writing is awesome!

    • paperkids / Jan 8 2011 3:05 am

      Wow, Candy, I was just thinking how great your writing is. And I LOVE that quote! So inspiring!

  2. MSOTS / Jan 8 2011 11:08 pm

    The hardest thing for us to beleive is that one person can make a difference. (And that one person can be you or me.) At some point in time, I’d love to view the documentary, too.

  3. grandma / Jan 10 2011 1:38 am

    A voice is a gift; isn’t it? Love you.

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