This year though I am going to make a resolution, but in all actuality it’s not about me but about a community we have found ourselves a part of. My simple resolution is to be a better, more passionate advocate for the autism community. If you look up the definition of the word resolution, you’ll see the definition, “the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.” We have big ideas; big plans for the next year. We have a desire to see real change, understanding and #awareness1by1 and I see that there have been some ways we have been able to accomplish this goal over the first year of F.A.A.S.T. being in existence, but we have so much farther to go. We still have fights from now and then with the local schools creating an understanding of what people on the spectrum experience every day, there is no greater example than the story from last week where a teacher placed a child in a duffle bag until his parent put a quick end to this injustice. These are the things that we, as a community of advocates, need to put an end to by educating others.
In another post by “flappiness is” (http://flappinessis.com), the author wrote about the stares of disgust some of us get when our child is having a meltdown in a store, a restaurant, etc. We have all felt those stares and in some cases become frustrated with the lack of compassion and snide comments we overhear from others wondering why we can’t control our child. In some instances, we’ve had to respond with a comment right back, often like, “he has autism, what’s your problem!!!” So much of this is difficult to change, in fact, we will never see a day where we’ll be able to fully rid the world of the stares or what we’ll call ignorance, but we can make a difference collectively. In April, we’ll celebrate World Autism Awareness day (month), but we all know too well that we have that day no matter what the calendar says, it is the hand we’ve been dealt, it is the cards we must play. We have a great opportunity as a community to make a difference and if it takes doing so one person at a time, or as I say #awareness1by1, I am up for the challenge.
Our community is unique, but as the quote says, “different, not less.” We must resolve to speak to those who clearly do not understand whenever we can. We must challenge ignorance with information and be willing to create a world that is more kind, more understanding and more willing to understand the needs of our loved ones. We must use the time we have on this earth, the dawn of this New Year to make a difference and to be an advocate in the truest sense of the word. As the sun sets on 2011, from my family to yours, I wish you a New Year full of hope and health, love and happiness.