To all of you who wore blue, shone blue, and bled blue on April 2nd, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I know some struggle with the notion of what 'awareness' can really do for our children. I have read countless blogs that level frustration at organizations that run campaigns for autism awareness. Ideally, we would like you to advocate, educate and promote acceptance for the autism comminity. This does not mean there is no place for awareness. There is a need for it. Here is what it can do:
First if all, making people aware of numbers like 1 in 88 or more currently 1 in 50 puts our cause in the social conscience. When you changed your light bulbs to blue or wore blue or posted something on Facebook about Autism Awareness Day, you added to the conversation. A conversation that we desperately need to keep going. So, when someone negates your efforts with terms like "slactivism" or makes snide remarks about 'what the hell a blue light will do for children with autism' you can refer them to me. I got this one. I wrote about it here. The dialogue you initiated by taking part in Autism Awareness Day is crucial for our children.
Secondly, you annouced to the world that you support those of us dealing with the diagnosis and all the ups and downs that come with it. You told the world that you are willing to learn and show compassion for all of those affected. Sadly, the autism community itself can become very divided over the issues of therapies and diagnoses; over cures or acceptance; but the one thing that we should all be on board with is the support from the community around us.
Yesterday, our family felt the love. Our street shone blue and our neighbors more than proved they were behind us as you can see from the pictures below. Alex and I took a drive on Tuesday and it really lifted our spirits to see our neighbors, families and friends light up their houses. Our neighbors across the street had five bulbs in! We were so impressed we just stopped and stared. They probably didn't know about Kate's diagnosis until we dropped off a package on their door with a blue light bulb in it and a short explanation about the "Light it up Blue" campaign. They certainly came through for us last night along with every other person on our street.
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)