Monday, April 8, 2013

Why Autism Awareness Month bugs this mom!

Every year when April comes around we are bombarded with news segments, medical research and internet postings about the prevalence of autism in honor of Autism Awareness Month.  We have even dedicated a single day to this epidemic and coined it “World Autism Day” and light up our homes a pretty shade of blue to show our support. There is not a week that goes by in April where the news isn't running a story on autism and a doctor isn't discussing the gravity of this disorder. But then what?  Come May 1st, coverage is a fraction of what it was the month before. Why?  Autism is now 1 in 50 kids.  1 in 50!!  Yet, April passes as it does every year and May begins and we wait.  We wait another 11 months for the majority of people to take notice so we can light up our porches blue again and talk about awareness.

I was watching the news again last evening while making dinner and there it was; Autism- 1 in 88.  Really?  1 in 88?  How are you going to run a story on an epidemic when your facts aren't even up to date?  However, after going on yet another tirade that was directed at my TV, I realized that my point was made.  How can you keep up with the latest research from the CDC if you sit up and take notice only 30 days a year.  How can we make the difference that needs to be made if we only have a month?!  We can’t.  Autism awareness month should not exist.  They need to rename it to "Autism Awareness 365".  Autism should be on the news every single day until we find the cause and a cure!  Until then, we should be advocating awareness 24 hours a days, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!  We are way past the mark of needing only a month.  Those pretty blue lights should be lit up every single night.

 I am a mother of a child with Asperger’s. Autism parents are the toughest bunch of people any of you will ever come across.  We live, sleep and will eventually die fighting this.  Our lives are not typical.  They never will be.  We spend countless money, time, energy and resources on doctors, therapists and interventions.  We forego vacations, designer clothes, nice cars and sometimes our homes for the sake of fighting for our children.  Some of us take out loans and some of us even go into bankruptcy, but we keep fighting for our children.  We look at the world differently and see life through the eyes of our amazing kids.  We are blessed to be given these children to fight for.  Although we may ruffle some feathers along the way we are doing what any parent would do for their child; giving them a chance.

One doesn't need to walk in our shoes to understand the magnitude of our passion, our despair, our heartache, our joy, our pain, our anger, our frustration, our patience, our kindness, and our love. One just needs to look into our eyes.  Then, everyone would understand our fear, that at this rate, the future generations of our children will be lost.  Everyone would understand why we need the world to help fight autism every day.  Everyone would understand why we need to demand more for our children. Everyone would understand why autism deserves all 365 days instead of 30 days out of the year.   Everyone would understand why Autism Awareness "Month" bugs this mom.

Thank you to all of the parents, caregivers, doctors, nurses, friends and family who fight Autism 365.  We would be no where without you.

Much love...