UNBELIEVABLE! I really thought that Autism Awareness was progressing. I must be naïve. New reports inform us about the increasing incidence of Autism in the past decade. According to the CDC the prevalence is 1 in 88 currently, up from 1 in 150 just 10 years ago. Information and research is being done to determine a cause and maybe a cure, but so far nothing definitive.
That being said, even if you didn’t really pay attention you would have to have accidently seen something about Autism. Maybe a license plate, a sticker or even a community fundraiser type; SOMETHING SOMEWHERE! If not it is time to open your eyes and your brain, as well as your heart.
Then I see this article on Autism Speaks about a Canadian family that receives a note from a neighbor. “Awareness is the Answer to Intolerance” (www.autismspeaks.org) is a vicious verbal attack on a family just because their child has special needs. This ignorance just shows that there is so much more to do. I know that Evan can be different and at times difficult, but whose 7 year old is not either sometimes.
There are an incredible amount of instances where special need kids excel in their field. One example is Dr. Temple Grandin who was diagnosed in the 1950’s as having Autism. She has progressed to be an award winning author, speaker and Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State. Great information has been derived about sensory problems thanks to Dr. Grandin. I wonder if she made “irritating” noises as a child. Lucky she didn’t live near the lady in the article.
To suggest the alternative that the letter presented should be criminal. It was emotional just to read it, I can’t even imagine receiving it. I think of the times when Evan claps without cause, when he laughs for no apparent reason, and even when he would throw himself down as his mechanism to protest. I think that people seeing it may not completely understand but I can only hope that they would never, ever suggest that his existence is less important than the other so-called normal kids.
We are blessed with a truly great support network; great neighbors, family and friends. I can hope that the writer of the letter gets what she deserves, whatever that may be. I have some things in mind but want to remain positive. For the rest of us, spread kindness instead of hate. There is no cure for Autism but hopefully the writer of the letter can get “cured” of her much more serious mental issue.
Awareness is the key!
by: Jim Monroe