Autism Awareness Day now has a different meaning for me than it did back then. In those early years I just hoped that people would know what autism was so that I didn't always have to explain my boys' differences to them. It evolved into wanting people to understand that our boys were different, but not less. Then, it was wanting acceptance so that they would be accepted into the rest of society and have access to the same things their peers had. Now I think it's about shaking the world up to realize that even if autism has not yet entered their own perfect bubble of a life, at this increased rate of prevalence, it will very soon.
Deborah Pugh said a "tsunami of teens with autism" will soon reach adulthood, and many families are struggling to plan for their children's future care.
As important as research is, I truly don't believe this should be the number one priority when discussing how to improve the lives of people with autism. How is research helping the autistic individuals living in our society today? The ones that are stigmatized for who they are; the children who are on waiting lists for government funded therapy that unfortunately never comes and whose parents are forced to go privately, depleting finances at an astounding rate. They are not part of an incomplete puzzle. They are here, they are whole and they are deserving of equal opportunities.
I don't ever want my son growing up thinking that he is a burden to his family or to society. I don't want him to think that his autism is the evil in him. Because every time Autism Speaks uses negative words to describe autism, these same words are attacking human beings living with autism.