Today is April 1st. For many this day is like any other, another day of work or school, maybe with a few pranks, practical jokes or outrageous facebook status updates. But for me, and so many families like mine, today is the start of a month dedicated to raising awareness about Autism. A complex developmental disorder that affects 1 in 110 children, 1 in 88 military families, 1 in 70 boys. Maybe that number doesn’t mean anything to you, but it does to me. My son is 1 in 70.
Today is also Friday, the day the street sweeper usually comes, and the Roc has been home on spring break all week long. Which means that every day this week he has asked me “What day is it today?” and “Is it Friday?” and then reminds me that, “The street sweeper comes on Fridays.” He waited and waited this morning to see the street sweeper and when it finally came, he was one happy guy. And I like to see him happy, isn’t that what we parents always say we want for our children? Happiness. In the end, we hope they are happy.
But for us, for those of us who are parents of children on the autism spectrum, we actually want so much more. We want our children to be seen for the great gifts they are, not just a bunch of challenges. We want their potential to be recognized and appreciated, to be nurtured, to be given a chance to grow. We want understanding and support. We want awareness. It all starts with awareness.
My amazing friend Jess wrote a letter to Barack Obama recently, urging him to show his support and participate in Autism Speaks “Light It Up Blue” campaign and light the White House blue on April 2nd. There is still time to show your support and leave a comment on Jess’s letter, and then go out and get yourself some blue bulbs too.
Change can happen one person at a time.
Let your blue lights shine!