As some of you may know, my 8 year old nephew Jonathan is at the mild-to-moderate end of the autistic spectrum.
I’m very lucky. Even though sometimes he’s not quite so thrilled when I come over to babysit, Jonathan loves to play with his “Auntie Carol”. He loves to be held, loves to play “monster” with me, and is totally fascinated with the way I can make my Blackberry play the “Bob the Builder” theme song. He also loves Thomas the Tank Engine and The Wiggles. Thanks to Jonathan, I think I now know all the words to every Wiggles song there is!
Jonathan has had the benefit of early intervention services, which are extremely important, and can make an enormous difference.
“Your child has autism.”
These four simple words define the facts. They are useful in explaining the past but they do not predict the future. They are words that a new family will hear every 20 minutes.
This is why I walk – so that other families will be able to get the services and support that they need.
I hope that through greater awareness, people will think twice before giving a parent a dirty look when a child is having a “tantrum” or “misbehaving” in public.
By participating in this event, my hope is that more people will know what autism is, and what it isn’t.