Wearing Blue for World Autism Awareness Day

3 04 2010

Yesterday was World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) as declared by the United Nations.

While watching the evening news, I noticed that MSNBC’s Chris Mathews was wearing an Autism Speaks puzzle piece so, I started bouncing around to see if any of the other networks were honoring this day… CNN’s John King was wearing blue but, his guest, Governor Strickland of Ohio was in red… On Fox Sheppard was in pink.

My family all wore blue, my Facebook friends wore blue and  the sky was even blue… but, the press (with the notable exception of Chris Mathews) didn’t acknowledge WAAD. And, I couldn’t find a single special on the topic.

It’s sad that this epidemic is a footnote– or rare news story– when 1 in 70 boys born today– 1 in 110 children– have autism. Surely they don’t think it’ll just go away if they ignore it…

Remember Swine Flu? Bird Flu? Just plain old regular flu? The numbers weren’t anywhere as high as autism’s and they led the news… funding for research and development of vaccines was astronomical but, the Epidemic that is Autism is relegated to a single line in the news casts if mentioned at all.

Don’t get me wrong– I appreciate any positive mention of accomplishment or discovery but, I wish that the attention given to comparatively minor outbreaks would be given to this disorder– and the boy who has autism that is dancing in my kitchen as I write.

When the 1 in 110 is enters the workforce or applies for government assistance they will notice… it will be the lead story… I hope it’s not too late for this generation of children with autism.

I challenge you to write a letter to the editor of your local paper, post a blog, write your elected officials and/or tell your Facebook friends what autism is, how it impacts those you love. Let’s talk about autism– let’s demand the attention this epidemic deserves!

The inclusion of behavioral health services and ending of  “pre-existing conditions” in the new Healthcare law are a really good start– and very appreciated by my family.

 As our Country moves on to Education reform let us advocate for increased and improved education for children with autism. Let’s insist that colleges  provide supports needed for those with autism to succeed. We, the people, the grassroots advocates for our children–can make a difference.

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