As I’ve mentioned here before I am the mother of a 23 yr old man with Autism & I’ll tell you Hell no,I’m not Shut Down! Yesterday, I was made aware of an event being held today the idea is to promote Autism awareness by having users of Twitter,& Facebook go without their social media fix for 24 hrs, just totally shut down communication in order to get an idea of how a person with Autism feels.This charitable event has garnered the support of some very good hearted, very big names in social media such as Scott Stratton @unmarketing Quite frankly I’m not sure how I feel about this.On one side, anything that raises public awareness about Autism (and money) is a good thing , lord knows with 1 out of every 160 children born being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum disorder , every donation dollar that can be raised is needed.
Shut Down, Shut Up, Just Go Away
Unfortunately the other side of this issue keeps coming up in my mind today, I remember battling the schools to get help for my son, how very much they would have loved it if I’d just shut down, sat down & shut up. That trend continues today, are you aware that very few states have made provisions to provide supports & services to Autistic Adults? Once a child ages out of special education there are scant resources available to assist them or their families. Holly Robinson-Peete covers this issue quite well in her article “Shifting Focus: The 8 facts about Autism the media is not covering” America is sitting on a ticking time bomb here as more & more young people age out of special education each year only to go to what exactly? Our lawmakers, our powers that be would like nothing more than to see parents like me shut down, to see us sit down, shut up & stop advocating for our now adult kids, they’d love it if we just slunk quietly away & grappled with keeping our adult children with disabilities at home, even past the point where we are able to safely continue caring for them, even if in so doing we hinder & hurt their chances for a more independent, self directed way of life
Advocates Speak in many Different Ways
I love the idea that so many voices are being heard (or not heard as is the case today however I cannot “Shut Down” today, no I am compelled, motivated today to scream out in support of the tens of thousands of adults with Autism Spectrum disorders and their families, to promote and support organizations like Asperger’s Association of New England a non profit that has made a tremendous positive impact on my son’s quality of life! As much as I love, appreciate & respect the folks participating in of Communication Shutdown I feel the need to lend my support by shouting out, by encouraging other parent’s to join in making a noise so loud that lawmakers can no longer ignore our disabled adult children. We may speak or not speak in different ways today but we are united in one concern, one goal, increased support & awareness for those with Autism Spectrum disorders and their families.