Managing Editor's Note: April is Autism Action Month and we consider it a month of somber observance and respectful thought on how to help our friends and family who are on the spectrum. Awareness is not enough. Do we love, honor and congratulate success from the smallest whisper of sound to landing a good job or graduating from college? Of course. But "celebration" seems... callous in light of the very real problems facing people of all abilities with autism and Asperger's.
By Anne Dachel
I received an email from Autism Speaks announcing that World Autism Awareness Day is April 2nd. I was urged to “Light It Up Blue!” I read, “Join Autism Speaks as we celebrate on April 2. Whether it’s your front porch or city hall, an office party or a banquet, the whole world is going blue to increase awareness about autism.”
“Last year, more than 70,000 people pledged to Light It Up Blue to shine a light on autism for World Autism Awareness Day.”
One link on their site showed scenes of famous places all around the world flooded with blue lights to add to the festivities. HERE
Here’s the list:
CN Tower Toronto CA
Bahrain World Trade Center, Manama,
Al Faisaliyah Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,
Cairo Tower, Cairo, Egypt
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City
Big Brothers Big Sisters Building Grand Center, St
Paris Stock Exchange, France.
Al Anoud Tower , Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Terminal Tower, Cleveland OH
Kingdom Tower, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Empire State Building, NY
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Great Buddha at Hyogo, Kobe, Japan
Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock Observation Deck™, NY
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Canton Tower, Guangzhou, China
Kobe Port Tower, Japan
Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest, Hungary
New York Stock Exchange, NY
What more could the Autism Community ask for?
I also found a link to things I could do personally to add my touch of blue. HERE
They featured everything from yard signs, “Light It Up Blue” tee shirts, to “Light It Up Blue” pens. HERE
The email featured the photo of a smiling mother with an adorable little girl who was also smiling.
There wasn’t much explanation given on what exactly we have to celebrate and after reading countless autism stories in the news, I think a more appropriate color for the month would be black.
Here’s what’s out there, just in the past month:
March 20, 2012, the Salem News (OR) published a press release from the Canary Party HERE speculated on the possibility that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may actually get around to updating the autism rate from one in every 110 children to something much worse. No one is expecting officials to be really worried, no matter what the latest numbers are. For years they’ve watched the soaring increases in developmental disorders among our children with mild interest and no answers—except that their ever-expanding vaccination schedule couldn’t possibly be a factor.
While the CDC promotes the idea that it’s normal and acceptable to have hundreds of thousands of neurologically disabled children everywhere, for the rest of us, the nightmare continues.
March 8, 2012, the San Francisco Chronicle had the story, Sunnyvale mom kills autistic son, self, police say. HERE
The mother was of a 22 year old son with autism was described as “overwhelmed by caring for her adult autistic son” saw no other way out. We’re clearly a country totally unprepared for the tsunami of adults with autism about to hit our shores.
Stories of abuse of autistic students in schools are becoming all-too-common in the news.
March 20, 2012 Richmond, VA, NBC 12 Father of 12-year-old girl with autism talks about assault case HERE
March 13, 2012 The Oakland (CA) Tribune, Mother: Autistic son had to be hospitalized after alleged abuse by Redwood City teacher HERE
February 22, 2012 NY1 TV NY1 Exclusive: Mother Says Her Autistic Son Was Abused Twice In A Manhattan School HERE
March 21, 2012 ABC13 Houston TX Teacher disciplined for spraying water on student HERE
The growing concerns about the future makes the idea of celebrating autism a slap in the face to parents everywhere.
March 15, 2012 Florida Times Union Jacksonville mother feels the pain of caring for 20-year-old autistic son HERE
This was about a mother whose adult son is “profoundly autistic,” in diapers, and prone to violence. We get a glimpse at the incredible stuggle she faces each day.
I didn’t even include the stories about parents going bankrupt paying for services, state legislatures fighting over insurance coverage for autism, and of course the daily news reports reminding us that, while expects don’t know anything for sure about autism (and that includes the fact that they’re still trying to come a definition of it for the DSM5), never fear, STUDIES WILL ALWAYS SHOW NO LINK TO THEIR VACCINES.
Maybe the people Autism Speaks is referring to when they talk about “celebrating” autism are those in the drug industry.
March 9, 2012 this announcement came out: Unprecedented academic-industry collaboration seeks new drugs and novel treatments for autism HERE
“An international consortium of scientists, led by Roche, King’s College London, and Autism Speaks, is collaborating on one of the largest ever academic-industry research projects to find new methods for the development of drugs for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).”
“The project, which will take place over the next five years, brings together top scientists from universities around the world, experts from Autism Speaks – the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization – as well as major global drug companies from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (EFPIA) including Roche, Eli Lilly, Servier, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Pfizer and Vifor Pharma.”
With more and more children now victims of the worst epidemic in our history, I can only imagine the excitement over the potential market pharma is looking at. These companies would have plenty of reasons to deck themselves out in blue.
For countless parents across this country, there’s no reason to be happy about autism.
It’s been another year where things only got worse.
There are thousands of additional children with autism.
There are no answers.
Millions of dollars have been wasted on dead-end research.
There’s no hope.
Asking us to just accept this nightmare and announce it with blue lights will be seen by history as the ultimate insanity.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism. Subscribe to her news feed at AnneDachel.com