Saturday, April 02, 2011

autism awareness: one story at a time

Autism awareness is probably best learned one story at a time.
I found myself reflecting on how living with autism intertwined with our story for 16 months. Smiling at the pictured autistic fashion statement of wearing a head band around one’s chin - it was a unique shared time.

Reading a story yesterday on the top 10 best places to live for autism and bringing baseball into a metaphor, Jennifer and Tyler essentially went from Red Sox to Phillies back to Red Sox, all in all not to shabby.

Teen autism becomes adult autism just as quick as any teen becomes an adult. Location and immediate future of adult autism services and opportunities was the eventual trump card … soon it will be again

Autism awareness can be confusing. The diagnosis is expansive. People not living with autism may have to turn to their imagination to even begin to get it.

Imagine a child who was, is, and always will be a child –dependent on others. Imagine a world of sounds and noises but no communication. Imagine not a dream within a dream, but living in your world within the world.

Now try to imagine the unimaginable, the parents. In their parallel universe, when their kid hangs up a coat, looks someone in the eye, responds to their name, or earns their first $4 paycheck for half a day of stuffing envelopes the Rocky theme may play even louder as the soundtrack to their pride and joy at the accomplishments of their kid. Though living from diagnosis through 24/7 rest of your life caregiving, they are able to endlessly redefine love.

What can everyone do for Autism Awareness Month? Be aware – learn. If family or friends are living with autism then be proud of them – be damn proud.

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. You summed it up well Patrick that the autism diagnosis is expansive with so many on the autism spectrum with a wide variety of abilities and "disabilities". I agree with you about being aware and learning about it and being proud of those that are living with autism, no matter how it impacts their family. Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship and ages ago spent time in prison for his role in Watergate, his grandson is autistic. I read his daughter's book about Max and their journey with it truly is amazing. I truly admire all parents of autistic kids.


  2. When I was a Job Developer for the Disabled (that meant my job was to find jobs for the disabled) I found this particular disability perplexing as I knew nothing about it.

    What a spectrum autism covers... no two autistic adults are alike. Some had to work in the supported workshops, others with job coaches, yet others were highly functioning and required very little in the way of supportive services.

    I remember when I had a day care center (yes... ME!) after my son was born I took care of a pair of brothers and I was sure the second boy was autistic and I knew nothing about it. I finally told the dad he needed to have him checked out and he was diagnosed with autism. The divorcing parents thought it was a "stage" due to the trauma of their divorce (he was 2).

    Take care, as always.

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