Why Autism Awareness is No Longer Enough
April 17, 2018
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Now Reading: Why Autism Awareness is No Longer Enough
April 17, 2018
Almost 10 years ago, my then 2 -year old son, Devin, was diagnosed with classic autism. He has made great progress. He is capable and able to do things we were told he would not do such as speak, be toilet trained and show love. He is able to do all those things and so much more, but he will still require life time care. Awareness does not provide opportunities once Dev and others like him age out of their school district.
“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”― Eckhart Tolle
Autism Awareness month is here. Yay! Ugh! This month always brings up conflicting emotions in me. Let me say I am not against awareness. I am always willing to answer any and all questions about Devin’s autism. We don’t have the kind of autism you can hide. We swim in the deep end of the pool.
We’ve done walks to raise awareness. We’ve run more miles than we can count to raise money.
Since Dev’s diagnosis almost 11 years ago, people are way more aware of differently abled people. Awareness is a great thing. I am not knocking it but we kind of need action. T-shirts, blue lightbulbs and cute frames around pictures on social media (in my opinion) don’t cut it. The support is appreciated but like all things in life action is required.
So what am I really asking for? I’m asking for people to vote, to know the issues that face the differently abled community. I need people to realize that your typical kids can ensure their own safety, but my child and many like him need safeguards in place for his well-being. And I need you to raise children that care about society as a whole not just their own needs for these events to happen. For that to happen, you need to set that example for your child(ren).
As a parent, most of us want our child(ren) to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. Just because children like mine require more to achieve that goal, does not mean he is disposable or his life has diminished value.
The waiting lists for services for children and adults with autism is staggering. Laws for access to healthcare, to ensure safety and to provide for opportunities once our children become adults can take years and sometimes decades to come to fruition. As it stands right now, our kids age out at 21 and they fall off the proverbial cliff. They go from having highly structured days filled with a sense of purpose to having nothing to do and nowhere to be. To give you a sense of what it must feel like to them, it’s their equivalent of being fired. The number of children coming of age very shortly is staggering, an epidemic, a crisis.
So now that you are aware, it’s time to be a proponent for change.
Jenn is a mom to three great and often sarcastic kids who supply her with endless laughs and endless laundry. Inspired by her son, she is now working as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant to help little people unlock their true potential. In her rare spare time, she enjoys sleep and eating a meal while it’s still hot. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @momtoboywonder