In the last 5 years since we decided to put on a second hat if you will from being parents of a child with Autism, to advocating for those with the diagnosis, we have seen that describing “Autism” in a few words can be a hard task. What I have learned through my personal and professional journey is that Autism can be as variable as the individuals that have the diagnosis. While sharing a few similarities—namely challenges in communication and social interaction—these individuals with Autism are first and foremost an individual to be respected. As a wonderful Pennsylvanian self-advocate, Bill Stillman, says when working with an individual with Autism, one must always “presume intelligence”.
My journey has shown me that Autism can have savants like Temple Grandin or it can affect the individual in such a way that they may reach adulthood and even old age without ever uttering a word or being able to live independent lives. This huge difference among those living with Autism, means that it is an issue that is highly politicized and very personal and emotional. Many parents speak about having to go through a “grieving” process where they can learn to adjust and cope with having received the diagnosis for their child—often because those health professionals around them have given them a grim prognosis of their child’s future. Regardless of where your loved one with Autism falls on the vast spectrum, it is absolutely essential that you ask questions, and research and act as early as possible to get your child or children the services they need to be the best them they can be. For some that means a few adjustments here and there, for others, it means countless hours of therapies, interventions and perhaps medical attention for co-morbid conditions that can accompany Autism.
Thank you for visiting my fundraising page for a cause that is incredibly personal to me and my family. As most of you know, our son Tommy is on the Autism Spectrum and will be walking with us that day. I hope many of my friends and family can join us or help by donating and sharing the event with their friends.
Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts. Autism affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys in the US alone. Every 11 minutes a baby is born who will ultimately receive an autism diagnosis. In the United States alone the economic impact of autism is more than $90 billion and is expected to double. The impact to families affected by this disorder is immeasurable.