Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thoughts on Autism Awareness Month

Our event on March 30th was a success!

My kiddo was a rockstar of his own.  He transitioned so well during the week in Ohio, meeting and seeing lots of unfamiliar people.  I was so proud of how well he did.

It was a true family reunion.  A friends reunion.  A band reunion.
And we raised almost $5,000 for Autism Speaks.

I was so proud to be a part of the event, and so humbled by all the support.

When the band decided to reunite and make it a fundraiser for Autism, I had a hard time deciding which organization to support. Should we go more local?  But with members living in Ohio and Wisconsin, who's local were we talking about?  Also, I knew people would want to support, even if they couldn't be there.  So online donation opportunities was a must.   That is how we decided to support Autism Speaks.  They have nationwide support system, and a broad usage for monies raised.

However, I had a true realization.  The realization of how polarizing the Autism community can be.
With April being Autism Awareness Acceptance etc Month, I've read a lot of other people kind of poo pooing Autism Speaks and the "Light it Up Blue" campaign.

As parents of children with ASD, yes, we are aware of Autism ever day, of every month, of every year.   And I'm sure some breast cancer patients don't want to wear a pink ribbon, or have that color represent them.  The month of April can be daunting. But Autism is daunting. Cancer is daunting.  Hell, sometimes getting up to go to work is daunting!

What I want to say is, I don't think it is fair for others to be so judgmental of an awareness campaign.  It is one step.  And all of us are in various parts of our journey.  So yes, I agree that Autism education is needed, as is Autism research, and Autism support, and Autism respite, and Autism therapies for so many children in need....  We, as parents, ARE aware.  But others really are not.  And the only way for these other needs to happen are if others are aware.  It is not Autism Pity Month.  It is the need that in the future, 1 in 88 ADULTS (today's children) will have struggled in their childhood to be able to have a conversation, to be heard and to be who they are.  And those 1 in 88 adults will be looking for work and struggling to navigate their world.

So for now, I support anyone and any organization that is willing to do work for our kids.  Whether it be Autism Speaks or a local organization to help kids get iPads or help pay for therapy for those that need it. 

I'm aware...aware that our struggles are not ours alone.