As you may or may not be aware I fiddle with the Android OS for the Samsung Epic. It has actually turned into a rather large platform for spreading Autism Awareness. I wanted to share a post in the thread over at XDA-Developers I wrote today. It was in response to some well intentioned comments from some of my users that caused a little stir…The point I want to make by sharing this here is that Autism Awareness can spring up in the most unusual of places. Anyways here is part of my response:
“Let me address a few things. First off I want to thank everyone for their support across the board. I did see the thread starting to take a turn for the worse here and I wanted to steer us back on track.
There were comments made that while very well intentioned, didn’t speak for me. Look my personal family situation sucks most of the time. It’s heartbreaking and demoralizing. Most people in the Autism community try to put a positive spin on Autism cause it’s just how they cope, or maybe their child isn’t as profoundly affected. But the truth is that in many cases it’s horrible. In my case our oldest wasn’t born this way. He was taken away by Autism at about 3 or 4 years of age. It’s like the son I had known and loved died and the person that remained was a stranger. There are times that you can look in his eyes and see he’s still in there but has no way to get out. My family is profoundly affected my Autism and I if I could remove that burden from my children I would do it in a heartbeat. But I can’t and unless you are in my shoes or are dealing with something similar you just can’t understand what that feels like.
So yes, I want people to support the cause and help spread Autism Awareness. But honestly, sometimes it really helps to hear someone say how sorry they are that my family is experiencing this. I don’t take it as pity but empathy. I know things have gotten off track here and I wanted to get us moving forward again. The comments made in this thread were well intentioned but just came off wrong I think.
I just wanted to take a sec and toss my opinion out and kinda clarify some things. I have to say that the amount of support I have seen from XDA and over at PPCGeeks has been amazing. I see Autism awareness ribbons in signatures all over the place. PPCGeeks and XDA TV have both done plugs for the midNIGHT ROM and INTENTIONALLY help spread Autism Awareness. I think that speaks volumes about the character and compassion these communities are capable of. Even when it has nothing at all to do with Android Development. Of all the websites out there who would have thought 2 smartphone communities would be able to unite behind something as completely unrelated as Autism. Seeing all the ribbons and hearing people discussing Autism makes me feel like for once, I have actually able to help my kids have a better life.
I’m by nature a fixer. I was a paramedic and firefighter for a long time. So helping people and trying to make things better is just part of who I am. When you are faced with something that so profoundly affects your children and and you can do nothing to fix it…..it’s really difficult cope with. So I decided that (aside from therapies, and other interventions) I will try to make the world as aware of their (and all the other kids and adults with Autism included) situation as possible so maybe people can show them compassion and understanding if they see us out and one of my kids is struggling. None of you will probably ever run into my family in the real world but the knowledge you gain from knowing my story can help others. Perhaps, your out somewhere and you see a child throwing a fit. Maybe instead of assuming the kid is just a spoiled brat (as many people assume) you can withhold judgement because maybe there’s more going on then meets the eye. I can tell you from experience that those situations are very challenging and a kind word or an understanding smile can make all the difference in the world.
Thanks everyone for EVERYTHING. Thanks for becoming as invested as you have. Just remember that we are all on the same team and I truly appreciate each and every one of your contributions to both this ROM and more importantly to my goal of Spreading Autism Awareness. Thanks again…”