One thing that friends may find surprising about me is that I’m not a normally extroverted person. In actuality, I have to try really hard to get “out there”. Most social situations make me anxious enough to throw up my lunch. Also, I’m afraid to confess something “BIG” to people because then they will have a different (aka “bad”) viewpoint of me.
So when I first kinda/sorta went public with Mayor Bee’s autism, I was apprehensive about what would happen. Thankfully, the majority of the feedback has been wonderful and positive. Well, except the “oh, he’s so YOUNG! He’ll grow out of it” bit. I imagine I have lost a few ‘hood acquaintances because of Mayor Bee issues but I’m learning to work with it.
I’m on Twitter and have found a great network of people either on the spectrum or with children on the spectrum. I’m able to exchange information and stories, or just vent and know others out there understand.
The next tiny step was to start a blog. And, again, I have gotten some very positive feedback. My blog will not become a meme by any sorts, but I’m learning to express myself better.
I finally took a step and signed up for the Walk Now For Autism Speaks. I formed a team. I started asking family and friends to donate. I didn’t think we were going to raise any where NEAR the amount we did, especially as a first year team. But we did. And we are going to do it again this year. (Here’s the post from the 2011 Walk)
So, I’m starting to feel more comfortable. So I signed up for my first Autism Speaks community event. It was an event for the 2012 Light It Up Blue Campaign.
I was not sure what to expect – I’m not the most sociable one in networking situations. I was afraid no one would talk to me and I would have to drink a lot of coffee to just do something.
Well, thankfully I was wrong. Well, I did drink a bit of coffee. Otherwise everything was pretty low key. And everyone was super nice. I got to officially meet the Executive Director for the National Capital Area of Autism Speaks and hear her story. We all did little introductions, and I was surprised by the phrase that kept coming out of other’s mouths.
When my child was diagnosed…I didn’t know anyone else dealing with autism. No truer words spoken.
We spent the next 1 1/2 hours sharing information and brainstorming some possibilities for the next Light It Up Blue date (BTW: it’s April 2, 2012). But we also shared stories about our experiences. I listened a lot. I got to hear from moms that are further along on the journey and I hope to get there one day. But I’m happy that I was able to take the chance and get out there. We’ll see where the next step goes.
Besides, how can one resist these cute treats?