Note: Uh oh, someone hit publish at HuffPo... what happened? This is a terrific article.
By A. Elizabeth Washington
World Autism Awareness Day hits me like a ton of bricks every year. As the mother of a child with autism, there isn’t another day I loathe like April 2nd. Autism Speaks proudly proclaims on their website: “Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. How will you celebrate?”
Awareness is one thing, but I recoil at the assumption that my son and I will be celebrating the immense suffering he has endured since autism came into our lives. Each year, I mark the day by cringing as I drive past blue porch lights and pulling my blinds closed as neighborhood kids hop off the school bus in blue shirts. I know one thing for sure: the celebratory tone of April 2nd directly contrasts the reality of day-to-day life for many with autism. It doesn’t feel like a day that supports my son and those like him. It feels like a kick in the face.
A small sliver of the autism spectrum works happily in Silicon Valley, comfortable in their own skin, able to overcome their challenges and function successfully in the world. Some have genius IQs and special talents. They celebrate their abilities. I celebrate them too. Those at this end of the autism spectrum however, are not reflective of the entire autism community by any stretch of the imagination.
At the opposite end of the autism spectrum, parents are diapering their teenagers. Distressed children are literally banging their heads against walls. Parents are cleaning feces from furniture, carpet, and fingernails daily. Families are trying to function despite extreme sleep deprivation. Hyper-vigilant parents are turning their backs for a second and losing their beloved children to drowning... Click HERE. to read more.