So we’re getting to the month of April, and April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day.
Now, this is where things get hard.
I can no longer support Autism Speaks. I cannot support an organization that relies on terror to spread a message, that cares not for the damage it does to individuals in the pursuit of more money that isn’t necessarily going to the community they supposedly serve. I keep in mind that one day, J will be an adult with autism, and I want him to know that he is embraced for who he is, and that autism is part of that package deal and it is not something to be feared, demonized or treated like a plague.
Numbers were released by the CDC today that showed a marked uptick in autism cases in children. The numbers feel flawed to me. They were only taken from certain states, for example, rather than a sampling from all 50 states in the union. Also, why does this number matter so much? Does one person with autism deserve less care if there were only ten in the country as opposed to hundreds, thousands, even millions?
No. These are our children, our brothers, our sisters, our cousins, our aunts, our uncles, our friends… These are people.
How often do you hear about adults with autism in the media? How often do you hear about them in a positive light?
These are the questions we need to start asking. We need to start putting role models out there for the children that the news focuses on. They deserve to see where they can go.
Yes I can get on a soapbox with the best of them!
A lot of families who live with autism every day say similar to this but every day in our lives is autism awareness day. We live it and breathe it and struggle to learn to speak it, and it’s a remarkable journey to be on even when it feels so bewildering and frustrating and harrowing. Every step, every lesson… It’s all amazing. J creates the rules then breaks them and makes me learn everything anew and I have to admit the challenge is invigorating. Not everyone can step up to the plate – we’ve already had people fall to the wayside in our lives, by their sad choice – but those who do are richly, richly rewarded.
Someday I will learn to write more neatly and straightforwardly. That day, alas, is not today.