We Walk and We Talk.

*Disclaimer: This post will talk about Autism Speaks. There are people in the autism community that do not believe/like/contribute to this organization. These are my personal thoughts in this post regarding today’s event in Washington, DC.

Picture posted is the thousands of people on the National Mall today

Picture posted is the thousands of people on the National Mall today

Today we piled into the car once again to drive into our nation’s capital to participate in the annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks.

For the past four years, we have participated. This year had special meaning as we were also walking in memory of one of B’s former schoolmates, who died in a tragic accident.

Personally speaking, while it’s a haul and it’s so early to actually be OUT of the house, we do enjoy the event.

I watched B dance around like a happy fool to the crowd doing Zumba. We brought some buses so he could occupy himself before the Walk. He delighted crowds everywhere with his bomb diggity moves. We even got a cameraman to videotape him at the start line. He really enjoyed talking and interacting with everyone. The AXD’s (the Panhellenic sorority’s designated philanthropy is Autism Speaks) adored him.

Picture is B and his friend T grooving at the start line. The cameraman and the general public got a big kick of their dance moves.

Picture is B and his friend T grooving at the start line. The cameraman and the general public got a big kick of their dance moves.

Picture posted is B with Talon, the mascot for DC United (soccer) team.

Picture posted is B with Talon, the mascot for DC United (soccer) team.

For the first time he WALKED the entire length on his own with minimal complaint. That alone makes it a success. 🙂 We spoke about the different buildings and the historical aspect of the buildings. One of his best buds (and one of my dear friends) came along, again, to support us.

It was not all sunshine, unicorns, rainbows and kumbayas though. As we walked the path towards the finish line, I saw protestors. Many did not see them – there were approximately 10,000 people walking versus the small group (I counted 15 but I’m unsure if that is the correct number) – but I saw them. I knew some of you from other events.

This is where I start to ramble about my opinion, which may or may not make sense but work with me here:

I greatly respect those that came out to protest. It’s your right to not agree with Autism Speaks. It’s your right to protest and make yourself be heard.  I know it’s hard to stand up for something you do believe, or do not believe, in. And for that alone I applaud you. Thank you for being respectful for our right to assemble just as I acknowledged yours.

But to me – Autism Speaks is not the huge mega evil organization that some view. I know specific people, who are dedicated to their kids, their siblings, their nieces/nephews, their friend’s kids. They are the people I have gotten to know – and their passion for their belief is great.

We have never been treated like a statistic, a tragedy. We have not felt dehumanized. Far from it, actually. However, I know others do not share that opinion.

I know some will speak about overhead and salaries and little towards individual’s needs. After a few years in grant development in federal government and even more in marketing and event management, I have a skewed opinion. Yes, of course we would want people to make little (or even nothing) to advance their organization’s goal. Sadly, this is not realistic, and especially not in high cost living areas (I’m looking at you, DC). So, yes, people get paid. Yes, there are sometimes events where there is schmoozing, networking and the dance to get the money, the vote, or the pledge.  There is always a plan, lots of calls and pleas. And it’s not just Autism Speaks – you might as well protest almost every major not-for-profit organization.

I wish there were other ways, and if you are reading this and have a suggestion, by all means I want to read it. Like I said, I have a skewed opinion, just from working and learning how “things work”. And keep voicing dissent – you know the cliche about squeaky wheels. We have to talk and walk and dance and sing about our opinions.

Their mission does not line up with some people. That’s cool – there’s never an organization that pleases everyone. I don’t think we disagree that we want the best for future generations, however. And I think in the end that matters more than what some may think.

Picture posted is me with my son. He is my 1 in 68 but he is not a statistic nor a tragedy. He's just B.

Picture posted is me with my son. He is my 1 in 68 but he is not a statistic nor a tragedy. He’s just B.

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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 Awareness, Family, Life, Magic Moments, Ramblings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to We Walk and We Talk.

  1. Denise says:

    So glad B walked the whole way! Proud of your dedication to him and to the organization. Hugs and love to you guys.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fantastic that he walked the whole walk! Personally I do not support them anymore, but I would never, ever try to talk anyone out of an organization they do support – as with the harassment I received at the time I did support them (This harassment had nothing to do with my decision to stop supporting them, by the way). Everyone has different views and I’m sorry you have to write a post with a disclaimer – that you understand that others may not. I’m happy the walk went well, sorry you had to see protesters – It’s a shame. I’m glad it was a good day, in spite of all of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OneLoCoMommy says:

      I don’t walk in lockstep with everything AS does by the way. I write on my personal experience and I know that doesn’t line up with others.

      Protesters don’t bother me – living in the area it’s normal. I welcome it and discourse because I think there needs to be discussion. But it has to be without rancor or personal attacks. I try to see both sides bit it gets cloudy with shouting sides. And who know how I may feel in the future but this is my here and now.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nate Watkins says:

      Autism Speaks believes that autism should be cured and prevented. autism is a part of who one is, so if you get rid of the autism, you get rid of the personality too

      Like

      • OneLoCoMommy says:

        Hi Nate, thanks for stopping by. I was expecting you to stop by. You are right – I didn’t talk about that point which is a fundamental issue.

        I hope that you do read my other posts as well and do not post simply on any of my posts about AS. 🙂

        Like

      • Nate Watkins says:

        perhaps you need to read this and see why we autistics don’t like Speaks: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2014/01/2013-joint-letter-to-the-sponsors-of-autism-speaks/

        Like

      • OneLoCoMommy says:

        I have read it. You have sent it multiple times. Like I said I hope you read other posts but if not have a good evening.

        Like

      • Nate Watkins says:

        so it’s like you don’t even care? you realize that by supporting this organization, you’re supporting hate against autistic people?

        Like

      • OneLoCoMommy says:

        Like I’ve said before, I disagree with what you state. I have never seen any language that states hate towards autistics (or autistic people). I have read policies and grants and never read hate. That is an interpretation which is your opinion. At this time we agree to disagree which is why I wrote the disclaimer.

        Again, it seems that the only time you comment to me is regarding this organization. Do you read anything else I post – because again I question that you just troll me.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I get that! Glad it was a good day. The weather looked good in the photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lisaleben says:

    You’re right, not every organization is going to please everybody. Some do research, some do services etc… I have no problem with Autism Speaks. Some might feel the organization doesn’t “speak” for them, but chances are they’re the ones that can already speak for themselves. And more power to them. But there are thousands of kids/adults & caregivers who are really suffering…
    Anyway – I’m glad you had a good time! Thank you for walking!

    Liked by 2 people

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