To this father of 3 on the Autism Spectrum, Autism Awareness Month means a great deal to me. It means that for the month of April, the media will be once again interested in the Autistic Community.
When I think of the Autistic Community, I included persons with Autism (of any age) and their families.
When the media takes interest in Autism, as a
community we can and should take full advantage of this because our voices can be broadcast across the world.
How we choose to use this attention, greatly impacts it’s effectiveness and overall benefit on the Autism Community as a whole.
Typically, it seems that this brief window of opportunity is squandered and not used in an effective manner. I know I may sound like a scratched record but here I go again.
Autism Awareness Month must be more than a platform for Autism “charities” to fundraise and the antivaccine movement to spread propaganda. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but at some point, we have to deal with the reality on the moment.
The reality is that even if vaccines did cause Autism, it would be only one of the causes and not the cause. There are vaccine injuries and while that’s rare, it’s a very real and tragic fact. Having said that, if we spend all our time fighting over whether vaccines cause Autism or not, we are wasting valuable and irreplaceable time that could be better spent helping the families raising kids with Autism and the adults Autistics that the world seems to have forgotten even exist.
As far as the fundraising goes, in many cases I have to wonder where the money goes? Does it actually go to people that need it most or does it help keep the bloated organizations showing a profit or helping to pay it’s employees and officers?
To me, this is all a huge waste of time and very, very self-serving.
I would love to see more support and donations going to smaller, less known organizations like Community Betterment, that while they don’t focus on Autism, they reach out and provide life changing assistance to families in the community and on a local level, all across the United States.
This is just one example but there are charter schools for kids on the spectrum that need funding to help continue to enrich and improve the lives of children on the Autism spectrum and their families.
Autism Awareness month should be about the people.
We need to focus on those dealing with Autism and their families. We need to shine the light on the fact that Autism does not go away when a child turns 18. We need to provide support for the adult Autistics that are venturing out into the world on their own.
There needs to be education for employers so that persons with Autism can have a chance to support themselves by entering the work place.
In my opinion, we should use this time to share our stories while the world is listening.
We should help to educate those around us as to what Autism is like in real life.
We should listen to what the Autism Community needs and not pretend that we can or should speak for someone that has their own voice.
I hate to see all the potential for advances within the community wasted because we get caught up in all the blue light bulbs, pointless no win debates about vaccines and marketing campaigns that don’t seem to actually help anyone.
I’m just a father to 3 boys with Autism. It’s not like I have a vested interest in seeing Autism Awareness Month successful…
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Just for a little slightly on topic insight. While I’ll refrain from posting the actual blog here, if you just google ‘Autism speaks budget’ the 5th link down (or the first blogspot blog) has more detail on it. I’ve been curious to where a lot of these company’s money goes too. You can probably find others too.