We. Are. Everywhere. We are your children. We are your grandchildren. Your nieces and nephews. Your cousins. Your neighbors. Your co-workers' children. Your co-workers. The offspring of friends of your friends. Your spouse/significant other.
We are artists. We are musicians. We are that weird guy in algebra. The strange girl in Latin. The water boy on the hockey team. We are college bound. We are college educated. We are Ph.D's. We are graduating high school with a certificate of attendance. We don't know how to write. We have difficulty understanding our prepositions. We have Intellectual DisAbilities. We are articulate. We don't speak in complete sentences. We are mute. We give speeches. We write books.
Because we have autism, we are all on some level developmentally delayed. Some of us don't know that. Some of us are in denial. Some of us are incapable of understanding. Some of us are blissfully ignorant of our differences. Some of us are whizzes at overcoming our challenges. Many of us are learning to embraces those differences. Sometimes our parents come along. Sometimes we lead the way and sometimes they follow. Sometimes they get it and they take the lead and show us that our uniqueness--wherever we are on the rainbow--is good.
We have friends. We have no friends. We are happy. We are miserable.
We have autism. We are a spectrum. Our numbers are 1 in 88. There are so many of us.
We start off as children. But then we grow up. Much ado is made about us and our future when we are children. And then we reach that future. Sometimes it is very bright. Often it is not. And when it is not, it is because we are too often misunderstood. Often lacking opportunity to excel.
We are out there. We are here. Amongst you. We need your understanding. We need kindness. Some compassion. A leg up. An open door.
Autism. We are a spectrum. We are everywhere. All around you. Look. See us. But don't stare, please. And, be kind.
We are Everywhere.
In the next decade 500,000 youth with autism will reach adulthood. What can one organization do to help one person with autism? What can one faith community do to help one person with autism? What can YOU do to help a person with autism? Think about it. We are in crisis and growing. We need you.
Thank you, Dr. Erik Carter, Ph.D., for these "talking points" above. Knowing I'd be giving several media interviews during my daughter's spring art shows, I was searching for a message to boil it down and speak to our needs. Dr. Carter gave me those three questions: "What can one...do to help one person with autism?" Brilliant. Thank you.