Saturday March 31 is the first autism walk in Youngstown, Ohio and the boys and I will be there!
I’ve wanted to do a walk since Lucas was first diagnosed in 2009, but the location has been a deterrent. I hate driving in Pittsburgh and I’ve never been to Cleveland.
I’m not sure what to expect, but they have a lot of activities and things planned. Did someone say Starbucks? I’m looking forward to this opportunity to gather with others who have a loved one on the spectrum or who may be on the spectrum themselves. Whether we like it or not we share a common bond.
Walks like this not only help raise money for Autism Speaks, but they also raise awareness about a disorder that affects 1 in 100 children.
Since Lucas was diagnosed I have made it my goal to educate as many people as possible. If you stare or make comments because you think what he is doing is strange you will probably get an earful…in the nicest way possible.
My son is not Rain Man. In fact, I haven’t met a child with autism who can do what he did. People need to realize that Rain Man was Hollywood. I’m not saying that there aren’t individuals on the spectrum who are like that, I’m just saying the character as portrayed by Dustin Hoffman is not the norm.
I was once asked “Well what can he do?” in reference to Lucas’ autism. I had to stop and think about that question. It’s more like what can’t he do? The future though not the one I pictured when he was a baby, is wide open. I have to have hope that someday he will be able to function in the realm of “normalcy”. If I don’t have hope, I have nothing. One of my favorite quotes is by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. He said “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” That about sums it up!
If you are going to be in the Youngstown, Ohio area this weekend stop by and show your support. If you are interested in more info you can find it at http://autismspeaks.org .