Here in DC the AS2DC summit just wrapped up – 3 days of policy meetings, photo-ops and advocacy.

As a prelude to the party, Suzanne Wright released a statement that has stirred a lot of pots. With that, the buzz has been ongoing. When I had the chance to read it on Tuesday night, I just shook my head. At best, it’s melodramatic. At worse, it’s grossly misleading.

Full Disclosure: I serve as a Community Ambassador for Autism Speaks (at least currently). I am someone who has participated in the Walk, raised money, and all that jazz. Please don’t poke me with your flaming Internet pitchforks, okay?

When B was diagnosed I searched out resources and found Autism Speaks. Truth be told, I have learned from them, but also from other organizations. But I leaned towards Autism Speaks, for one reason or another.

Recently, a new program was created to lead a grassroots effort – Community Ambassadors. I was asked to be one and I accepted. As a Community Ambassador I try and show people that autism is not a death sentence. But it’s a bit hard when this is the message broadcasted.

The inquisitive mind that I am I have tried to now look more into other posts about this. The more I read, the more I became concerned. After reading John Elder Robison’s resignation post – I was gobsmacked by his assessment. Someone who served on a board, as an autistic, calling out Autism Speaks. To me, that is a more powerful message than Ms. Wright’s statement.

I agree that there is more to be done. There is ALWAYS more to be done. However, aren’t we all in this together? Shouldn’t everyone have a voice to “speak”? And shouldn’t someone “listen”?

With that said, the staff I have worked with in the DC chapter have been phenomenal. The Community Ambassadors have been wonderful as well. But I just can’t sit back and think this is ok that this statement can be ok to the public. It’s not – and to compare my son to a missing child or a terminally ill child in our community (like Gabriella) is inaccurate.

On the way home from work Wednesday, I ended up behind a car with a unique license plate. It said “OK2BU”. Looking closer I realized that it was a special state plate for autism awareness. That struck a chord. We talk about awareness and compassion and all that but we all need to know that it’s ok to be whoever you are, autistic or not. It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to help our kids or have them succeed – but it surely doesn’t mean that they have to lose “who they are”.

Each autism journey is different. Ours is no exception. Our journey has moved from cluelessness to frustration to despair to hope (and that’s just in the last year). It constantly evolves and personally sometimes it feels like I’m on a roller coaster. It’s no picnic. There are times that I’m helpless when B is in meltdown mode over his shoes being “too loose”.

But, it’s our life and we are not going anywhere so we might as well get on with it (meaning: enjoy what we got).

B is a loving, caring boy with a big personality. He is extremely inquisitive. He is passionate about music, math and buses. He also needs guidance and cues to express his needs and emotions. But I’ll be damned to believe the “doom and gloom” that the statement seems to predict.

Does this look like a boy who is not living?

That is Ms. Wright’s point of view. But it’s not mine, nor many others.


About OneLoCoMommy

I live in Northern Virginia and and I look like the stereotypical suburban mom, for better or for worse. My son plays baseball and takes karate (albeit adaptive). My daughter is a gymnastics diva but rolls with the boys in T-ball. I've been a Room Mom and Playdate Coordinator. I work full-time, try to work out, and love my Book Club. However, I also blog on my experiences on our ASD, SPD and ADHD journey while trying to be a better parent advocate. All in a life's work.
This entry was posted in Autism, Autism Awareness, Life, Mayor Bee, Ramblings, The Lows and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to OK2BU.

  1. Really great post. And, yes, gobsmacked would be a very good word to describe the mess that’s going on right now. Love your outlook and energy, from one ASD momma to another. 🙂


  2. Lisa says:

    Very well written! I agree wholeheartedly… It is OK2BU. We would ALL benefit from remembering that more often. And we all need respect others’ differences…even if we don’t fully understand them.


  3. Pingback: Farewell 2013. | One LoCo Mommy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s