I’ve been meaning to ask this but always forget. Do you find that your hometown, city, village or whatever, is Autism Aware?
The reason I ask is because I find myself really frustrated because the city I call home, isn’t…at all.
I live in Canton Ohio, home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We have absolutely no Autism Awareness in my town. This is extremely frustrating and even offensive because they’re already talking about this year’s Hall of Fame Week.
I don’t know what I have to do to get someone’s attention.
I’ve written emails to our local newspaper, without ever receiving a response. I’ve taken to Facebook and Twitter and offered to help in anyway that I can. Not one single response.
Our local newspaper, the Canton Repository, hasn’t printed a single word about Autism Awareness Month.
My town is more worried about high school sports and everything that goes on with the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
What about our kids?
Would it kill them to announce Autism Awareness Month, like they do for other things like Breastfeeding Cancer Awareness Month? Clearly it would. What does it take for people to pause their all important lives and simply pay attention?
Are sports really that important? Is honoring retired football players more important than calling attention to what is likely the most serious epidemic facing the human race in a very long time?
1/50 kids are now diagnosed with Autism.
In my opinion, that’s a pretty big friggin deal.
I even spoke with our local NBC affiliate and offered to work with them to do something to help the Autism Community. They wanted to do an interview but than disappeared.
I don’t have an endless supply of energy and resources. I have my own family that I’m struggling to provide for. However, I have a vested interest in seeing my community for supportive and aware of the families living all around them that have been touched by Autism. I feel like if I just curl up in my shell and only worry about our lives, I’m doing a huge injustice to my kids down the road when it’s time for them to venture out into the world.
My goal has always been to be the change I want to see in the world.
It’s getting harder and harder to keep this all going, especially in a city that seems to values athletes over the future of an entire generation of kids.
How does one combat that?
I’m ashamed to say that the hometown of the 3rd most influential Autism blogger in the United States is far from Autism Aware. You would think that they would take notice and want to work together to create more resources for those touched by Autism and their families.
I guess not? This feels like an epic fail and one that falls squarely on my shoulders.
Do you find yourself in a similar situation where you live? Is anything being done for Autism Awareness Month in your hometown?
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I had to explain to my professors at school what autism was on a couple of the occasions when I disclosed. I’m *hoping* the neurodiversity committee will change that once it starts managing to actually do anything.
I am lucky as our city (St. Louis) is fairly “autism friendly” but that doesn’t mean that all the people here get it. There are jerks everywhere. You are raising awareness and eventually it will hit the masses but unfortunately that will require most individuals to be personally affected. Sad.
I think it depends a lot on your expectations. I would guess that most adults in this country are aware or have become aware of autism in recent years — and that’s a pretty big deal. A lot of awareness is essential if you want the federal government to make it a priority in funding research, for example. I think the autistic community has done a fabulous job of making that happen.
Whether families with autistic children get actual day-to-day help, that’s a different issue. On that issue, I’m quite sure there is a gap between needs and offerings. But frankly, this isn’t the political climate in federal programs will be expanded, and states are themselves feeling the pinch. The need is so great that it’s a little hard to see where help could come from in time for anyone who is struggling today.
“Epic fail” is certainly relative. In addition to our house – I’ve seen a
few others sporting blue lights. My Facebook and Twitter feeds seem to
show people are ‘aware’. However, I also need to remind myself who I’m
friends with, who I follow/fan online, etc. I see a lot, because of who I
am and who my son is. At the same time – it seems like every cause is
fighting for publicity these days and living outside a big city like
Chicago, there’s only so much “awareness” to be had before
over-saturation sets in.
We just need to tell ourselves that we
can’t stop trying because THAT’S a sign of failure. And not on anyone
else’s part but our own…
Well said Michael. I just find it frustrating that there is no attention, no resources or support available for families touched by Autism be a useful it’s not a priority until it affects you.
Unfortunately, it’s getting to the point where the odds are that Autism will touch their lives in some way shape or form. Maybe them it will become a priority. 🙁
“Epic fail” is certainly relative. In addition to our house – I’ve seen a few others sporting blue lights. My Facebook and Twitter feeds seem to show people are ‘aware’. However, I also need to remind myself who I’m friends with, who I follow/fan online, etc. I see a lot, because of who I am and who my son is. At the same time – it seems like every cause is fighting for publicity these days and living outside a big city like Chicago, there’s only so much “awareness” to be had before over-saturation sets in.
We just need to tell ourselves that we can’t stop trying because THAT’S a sign of failure. And not on anyone else’s part our own…