Thursday, April 3, 2014

World Autism Day...

...was yesterday.  I meant to write something, but was still in vacation decompression mode.  Better late than never, right?  Many autism organizations use April 2nd as a day to hold fundraising and awareness-raising events.  There is also the "Light it up Blue" campaign.  Supporters will wear blue and all sorts of buildings, from my house to Rockefeller Center and everything in between, light themselves blue to raise awareness.  We stayed pretty small this year.  I dressed myself and Parker in blue and we also switched out our front light to a blue.
Awareness means something different to everyone and I haven't fully decided what my opinion is, but do want to take this opportunity to share some of the great insights I have read.  The first was sent by one of my co-workers who has a teenager with autism.  She has been a great support as I have started this journey.
  April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day around the world.  It’s official color is blue and many are choosing to change their regular lights from white to blue, wear blue, and/or participate in lots of fund raising functions that day.  I am not here to ask any of that from you.
  As many of you know, my son Nicolas is on the severe to moderate end of the spectrum and struggles with some of the most basic things we take for granted every day like being able to communicate wants and needs.  I am not here to ask you to feel sorry for him.  I have tons of accomplishments that I would rather you celebrate with him.  The most recent-his drum line took second place this weekend at a huge competition.  Check out his grin.
  Just recently the Centers for Disease Control has published new data on the prevalence of Autism changing it from 1 in 88 individuals impacted to 1 in 68.  What this means is that it increases the odds that you or someone you know will be impacted by Autism.
  I am here today to ask you a favor.  Based on this information, chances are that while you are out and about taking care of your day, you will see a person acting out in a manner that will give you cause to think negatively about that person or his/her caregiver.  Before you complete that thought and give “the look” that typically matches that thought, please stop and remember the 1 in 68.  Heck, it could be Nicolas and me having that moment in public.  As a caregiver of someone with Autism, I have encountered many reactions to challenging behaviors in public and they are on a spectrum all their own.  Trust me, we are not trying to ruin anyone’s day.  We are just trying to make it through our own with minimal damage to persons or property and hopefully teaching a lesson or two along the way.  One less “look” would go a long way in helping us accomplish that goal.
The second piece is from one of my favorite bloggers!  Chrissy Kelly has been such a great resource, especially as I was waiting for Parker's evaluation last summer.

The story I want you to read is a few paragraphs in.

I love that these writings take on similar situations with different perspectives, but they are both so very true.  I hope to hone my own perspective of awareness over the next year and discover where I want to put my time and energy.

We will be participating in the 2014 Walk Now for Autism Speaks on October 11th.  We are still many months away, but I have a much larger goal of $2000 this year.  Funds raised go towards supporting Autism research and programs.  We would love for you to join our team and walk with us, donate to the cause, or both.  You can click below to see our team page.

I have said this countless times, but thank you again for all the love and support you give our family.

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