I keep seeing facebook and blog posts, and tweets stating that awareness is just not enough.
Of course awareness is not enough. Acceptance would be lovely, access to therapies, respite care and services would be grand, assurances that my child will be cared for after I am gone would be divine. And of course, those of us who have the energy will continue our fight for these basic needs (and yes, they are basic needs, as any family touched by autism can attest).
But, we can’t do it alone. We need armies of people to help us demand that these basic needs be met. And we don’t have armies, yet. We can’t even get our own rag-tag assemblage to march under the same banner — we can’t even decide what our banner should say!
So I say we continue with awareness, and not just some event with a puzzle piece on a poster that says “Autism Awareness Night”. Puzzle pieces, posters, literature, and every autism family in a 50 mile radius in attendance, so those NT attendees can glimpse the spectrum in all its glory: the sweet smiles, the small victories, the hand-flapping, the meltdowns — all of it. We cannot rely on large national nonprofits to do the work for us. We have to get our kids out there. We have to make our presence the norm. We have to be unapologetic. We have to use every teachable moment.
Doing all of that creates awareness. And awareness is where armies are born.