April 16, 2010

Autism Awareness Month

Posted in My Take on Autism tagged , , , at 9:30 am by autismmommytherapist

April 2nd was World Autism Day (I know, my two autistic kids were home on spring break and I didn’t post to the blog, yet I was still completely aware of autism, trust me), and I’d just like to take a few minutes to draw our collective attention to a few groups of people who seem to get left out when it comes to recognition and appreciation. There is always a great deal of focus on the filmmakers, writers, celebrities, and parents who promote the cause, and all of that is of course, positive. Even though there are so many controversies surrounding the disorder, when it comes to autism, any news is good news in my opinion, as it continues to draw attention to the plight of autistic children and adults.

There are plenty of other factions however, the unsung heroes if you will, who have made and continue to make my sons’ lives, and the lives of thousands of other people with autism, easier and more fulfilling every day. There are the individuals who fought relentlessly for IDEA, the law which entitles my son to an appropriate education, in a time period when autism awareness was in its nascent stages. There are the parents and legislators, right here in my home state, who worked so diligently to pass a bill which will force insurance companies to shoulder a portion of autistic childrens’ therapeutic burden this year, for the very first time (although only a portion of the population is eligible to receive compensation, which does not include us.)

There are the teachers, aides, specialists, and directors of special education who tirelessly strive to accommodate the varying and disparate needs of all of their students on the spectrum, a Herculean task at best given today’s current educational climate. There are the many various national and local non-profit organizations that raise awareness and funding with which they aim to improve the lives of families impacted by autism. And finally, there is my favorite group, those scientists delving daily into the secrets of the psyche, teasing out the combinations of genes that create a susceptibility to autism, and the possible environmental triggers that perhaps make development of the disorder an inevitability.

I know, it’s not Autism Gratitude Month, but I am aware of the gifts these groups have made to our community, and many other people who deal directly with the effects of autism in their lives are aware as well. Sometimes we parents of autistic children are just a wee bit too busy to take the time to ruminate (or breathe, for that matter), and I just want it on record that I acknowledge, and thank, the thousands of individuals whose collective contribution has enhanced the quality of life for so many of our children, and our adult children as well.

Thank you, and let’s extend this attention shamelessly like I do my birthdays, and call this Autism Awareness Decade. It’s worked for me.

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14 Comments »

  1. Marcia said,

    I’d like to add another category to that list, and for lack of a better name, I’ll call them “spectrum whisperers.” These are not folks who have any credentials (or at times, even any awareness of what a child’s issues might be). They include: the barber who managed to talk my kid through a haircut at age two; the mother’s helper who remained unflappable through what seemed an inexplicable meltdown; the neighbor’s child who made sure a quirky kid was always included; the guy behind the deli counter who never failed to converse with my child, even if all he wanted to talk about was his bus. What all these people had in common was a gentleness, an openness of heart and a willingness to accept a child for who he was. They are a large part of why my son has come as far as he has, and I’ll be grateful to them forever.

  2. Kim's Mom said,

    Well said. love, Mom

  3. misifusa said,

    I am with you…thank you to all who have helped so many people…and thank you to you, for helping me. 🙂

    • I am always, always, here. Thank you so much for this morning, am going to email you know before I forget!

      Facebook because of you baby, thank you!

  4. Anita said,

    The craft store, AC Moore, is having a huge Autism Month fundraiser – you know the kind where you buy a $1 or a $5 donation tag and then they hang it up around the store….I hope the money actually makes it someplace where it can be put to good use!

  5. Jennifer Haftel said,

    It truly does take a village to enact change. As you so clearly point out there are so many and varied types of people trying to make a significant difference. Your blog plays a vital role in the education part of the process.

  6. Kathy Milmore said,

    Beautifully said, Kim. Hats off to all those who make a difference in the lives of children with special needs.

  7. Cela said,

    Hi Kim! I’m Kathy’s friend and I’m so glad she introduced me to your blog. Keep writing. I know many people will be encouraged by your experience. I’m forwarding your blog address to my friends.


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