Autism Awareness Month is coming up! Are you aware? I’m guessing if you are reading this blog, you probably are. ;) I’ve been working on a few different projects over the last couple of weeks to prepare…which seems a little surprising to me. I’m surprised I have projects to do to get ready for something like an awareness month. But I do. I just sent 17 files to a printer in the city for the poster series I do for the boys’ preschool. Earlier this week I wrote up a testimonial of how my sons’ current school has helped them…a story that gets me teared up every time I think about it…so no easy thing to sit and write it out. Dave and I registered for an event at the UN. We going with a group from the boys’ school to hear the keynote speaker talk about inclusion and education for kids with autism. There just seems to be a lot in the air about autism right now.
Every now and then I get an email from Autism Speaks and yesterday the email was about recent statistics on the rise of the rates of autism. That can be a really touchy subject for me. When people talk about the rates of autism rising, I feel like they are also saying: a) your story doesn’t matter. You’re just like everyone else. b) your boys probably don’t have autism. It’s sooo over diagnosed right now. So, settle down and stop talking about it. and c) There is no room for you. This is such a large scale issue we don’t have room for one more family scrambling for services.
Now…obviously…I know that’s not really what they’re saying. But there is a part of me that wants this to be MY story. I want the attention and support. Don’t tell me how many other people should get the attention and support…because that threatens my sense of claim to it. There is a part of me that wants our family with it’s Two Autistic Kids! to be a big deal. Because being a big deal gives me permission to face this and accept it and take the support that is offered.
But yesterday, when I was reading the email, I was also listening in for those messages. Is this something I am still wrestling with? The rising rates? And it seems like I had made some personal progress in that area. :) I felt compassion for the families facing it (instead of threatened). I felt grateful for my boys’ relatively mild cases (instead of defensive). I felt curious about the research being done (instead of worried).
I’m still SUPER DUPER sensitive about the whole thing. But I am working so hard to figure out why and relax a little. And for me, it can be a LOT of work to relax. (Dave LOVES pointing that out.) But it’s work worth doing. I’d chose compassion over feeling threatened any day! And yesterday when I read that email, I felt a little sense of victory that I’m closer to where I want to be. :)
I made this scrapbook page a few days ago. It’s from a day last summer when we went to Governor’s Island with the Cruzen-Grossmans. It was such a great (but hot!) day.
We are all rain this weekend so here’s to figuring out some indoor fun. :) Hope yours is a good one!