I have been a such a quiet blogger recently. I wonder if what I have been experiencing is writer’s block. Since the beginning of April I have wanted to write a blog about Autism Awareness. I am sure many of you know that April is Autism Awareness Month.
I have struggled to get this post finished. I think I have edited at least
three six times. I had to ask myself; What do I want to share with people to increase awareness of autism? Why is this important? Several times I thought I would just ditch it and move on.
I have read many blog posts sharing personal stories and it is clear this disorder affects millions of people each year. I wanted to share with you why there is a need for awareness. I was armed with facts, statistics and data to show the increase in prevalence over the past forty years.
Since I write mostly about food, I wanted to discuss the theory that children with autism have higher sensitivity to gluten and casein (milk protein) because they process peptides and proteins differently than other people do. This processing is believed to exacerbate autistic symptoms. I wanted to share my thoughts on how a gluten free, casein free diet may improve overall speech and behavior in autistic children.
I realized that like me, you could simply look up the same information I would supply. What I think is important to share in raising awareness about autism is simple yet complex. People with autism are human beings equally deserving of basic rights (see Universal Declaration of Human Rights) to those of non-autistic people.
Autism has touched my life by my nephew. This is my little Ewok, son of my youngest brother.
I often wonder what little Ewok’s future will look like. If I could bring awareness it would be to show the struggle parents face when attempting to find and receive adequate services. Continuing budget cuts to autism services will not lead to improved quality of life for this little man. Little Ewok, and many others just like him are part of our future. So I ask, make room for him in this world.
This young man is the sweetest guy. He is non-verbal and does not use the toilet. He certainly knows how they work and loves to play with them!
He needs much more constant attention, interaction and consistent redirection than the average child.
He’ll find every door
light switch and ceiling fan in your house.
He never stops moving except for Jerry. This little guy loves Grateful Dead!!
I imagine he will always need supervision. He will always need someone advocating for him. In an ideal world little Ewok would have one on one coaching and mentor-ship throughout his lifetime, making continuous attempts to empower him.
I want awareness in legislature at the state and federal level to understand that kids like my nephew will one day be adults and must somehow function in our society. I want my little Ewok to get his needs met now and as he grows into adulthood so that he can feel like a contributing member of his community. I want him to feel fulfilled in his world. I want him to have acceptance and understanding. I want his parents and all parents of children with autism to have available and accessible services.
So, I guess I answered my question. I want funding for autism services. I want parents to have affordable, accessible services. I want autistic kids who will one day become adults to have services available to them.
I have watched the struggle up close and personal in my own family. This is why it is important. Because every time I get the pleasure of spending time with my nephew I am renewed in his joy and love. And, I am exhausted!
“Autism is not something that makes my child less of a person”. ~Amanda Nelson Van Wagenen
The most important lesson in awareness of autism is to know the love of unique individuals like my little Ewok. He is joyous and wondrous. His smile is contagious. He loves a good hug-on his terms! He loves to play in the kitchen with his Auntie. I adore him.
Autism is not going away. It needs to be taken seriously. Autistic children and adults deserve our support.
I want love, acceptance and support for my little Ewok. He deserves it. He deserves the attention so I decided not to ditch this post. Maybe one reader will vote differently. Maybe I’ll hit a ‘cord’ in someone who is ready to promote change.
“Autism is not anything to be dismissed, ignored, generalized”. ~Faye Marie Anderson Carter