Every once in a while, you meet someone that you really connect with.
Someone who seems to have the exact same thing in mind that you do.
Someone that could very well be your long-lost sister separated at birth!
Well, we are about 15yrs apart age wise, so the separated-at-birth theory goes out the window in this case.
But I have had the chance to exchange emails with her and do a little interview as well.
And I want you to meet her.
Listen to her.
Follow her wherever you can.
She's a Mommy.
And she's on a mission: to have a loud voice in a silent world.
And now, without further delay......please let me introduce you to Tara...AKA "Loud Mommy"!
(Screams from the crowd as the crowd goes wild!!!!!)
AM: How did the name "Loud Mommy" come about? LM "First off, thank you so much for this opportunity to be interviewed and show my face on your fantastic blog! The name Loudmommy happened because of two reasons. I knew what I wanted to accomplish but I also knew that it had to have a catchy name to go along with my mission. Since my son is nonverbal as a result of his autism and apraxia, I am constantly his voice to therapists, doctors, his school, etc. As a result of being his advocate, I'm often times "Loud" on his behalf. I will do whatever it takes to get my son what he needs and I knew I was not the only Mom out there who had this goal in their field of vision. My other thought process was since my son IS nonverbal, my home can be very quiet. I'm constantly talking and singing to my little guy with the hopes that he will want to babble back! So this mommy is Loud in more ways then one!"
AM: What are your mission or goals for your website? LM: "Our website's primary focus at this time is towards mom's with autistic, apraxic and non-verbal children. My short term goals are to grow awareness of our group both online, locally and nationally. Big dreams I know! My website is unique I believe in the sense that I want to have as many guest LoudMommies as possible. I think that its so important that we glean information from one another both on how we survive our day to day and also the knowledge and comfort in knowing that we are NOT alone. One of my big break through moments after my son's diagnosis was reading a book on Autism and realizing "Hey! I'm not the only one!" and my goal is to make the website as real and down to earth as possible. A shoulder to cry on, voices to cheer you on and tips on how to approach certain situations. Aside from that, one of our HUGE focuses is the iPad. The iPad is an amazing tool for communication for nonverbal, autistic and apraxic children and I think this is information that is just now being spread through out our communities. We want to provide information on the iPad, the apps and we are fund-raising to provide them for families who can't afford the entire package either!"
AM: Tell me about the child(ren) in your life and how they relate to your mission.
LM: "Grady! He is my one and only! He was born 10 weeks premature and weighed 3 pounds 14 ounces, 15 inches long. From the moment I looked at him laying in his little incubator, I knew there was something special about my little guy. At around 18 months, my husband and I made the deal that if he wasn't speaking by two we would bring him in to be evaluated and sure enough, I made the call the day after his birthday. July 14th, 2010 Grady was diagnosed with autism and sensory processing disorder. Last December I heard about the iPad and the amazing applications it had to offer as far as communication was concerned and I knew I wanted to have it for my son. I wanted to have that chance to communicate with my child, to talk, to chat. So I did an online fundraiser and the money was raised in less then 48 hours. We immediately went out and purchased his iPad and our lives changed. Grady is the love of my life and my inspiration. I want other moms to have this chance to "speak" with their kids if they can't afford it. I want moms to have the support, strength and unity in number of other parents who are going through the same thing. Its a hard road to walk, but if we do it together it makes it all the better!"
AM: What plans do you have for the future of LoudMommy.com
LM: "The future for LoudMommy in my mind is bright! We have many fundraisers planned including our biggest one of the year which will be a 5K on August 6th in Peoria on the Riverfront. We have many small fundraisers planned too. Everything going towards purchasing iPads for families who couldn't otherwise afford them. As of this week, we just teamed with Easter Seals and LoudMommy will be doing some iPad App Training Seminars at their location in Peoria, IL. I hope this aspect of LoudMommy takes off as well. I want to help as many families as possible communicate with their child. I know how heartbreaking it is to not have this with your little one. So I am thrilled Easter Seals reached out to us and we are going to be doing this!"
AM: How did you come up with the logo for your site and what is the meaning behind it?
LM: "When I had the idea for the name LoudMommy, my first thought was Mega phone. Sometimes that is what I want when I am talking to doctors...or even people at the grocery store. Ha ha! But when I started work on the logo I wanted people to draw the connection to autism as well, hence the puzzle piece. At this point, its still a work in progress. I'm not 100% pleased with it. Ha ha! Who knows if I ever will be but I really want a fantastic logo!"
AM: What current fundraisers are you working on? LM: "Our current fundraiser is Sing for the Silent: A Musical Revue that is coming up in less then two days! Ah! So excited! Its being held at Peoria Players Theater. If we sell out, every single ticket we will be able to purchase at LEAST 5 iPads. I'm hoping for donations too, plus we have some fantastic raffle baskets as well. Our cast is amazing, the theater is wonderful...its simply marvelous! What can I say? I just hope we sell out!"
AM: How else can people learn about you (Facebook, Twitter, etc...)?
LM: "We are on Facebook and we really would love to up our fan base on there! Check out Loud Mommy Facebook Page here! Our website is LoudMommy.com and actually just launched this past week is LoudMommy Message Boards! I really hope these take off because its an excellent way for Moms to talk! LoudMommy Message Boards. You can also follow me on Twitter!"
AM: What is your ultimate goal for LoudMommy.com? LM: "Ultimately? Now we are delving into the deep recesses of Tara's soul. Ha ha! I want to see LoudMommy be bigger then this. Be bigger then Autism and Apraxia. There are so many LoudMommies out there. This is just my passion and my small corner of the map. I want to see LoudMommy cover so many areas like down syndrome, cerebal palsy, mental retardation and more. I want to see LoudMommy advocate for the mother advocates out there. But I don't know if that is a mom dreaming big or a mom being inspired by the adoration she sees in a mother's eyes when she looks at her special needs child. There is nothing like it. Its spine chilling. And I love it. "
Well, there ya have it, folks!
Isn't she awesome?
Now, since you are done reading this interview, go find her and follow her!