Over the weekend, the family and I attended an Autism Speaks Seattle Walk Kick Off event at the Seattle Children’s Museum. As we were leaving I captured this photo, I was only disappointed all I had to hand was my phone camera and not a decent camera.
Before we left, I called my parents to chat since I hadn’t spoken to them in awhile. While talking to my mother, who asked hat we were up to, I mentioned that we were going to the Autism event. Her only reaction was why would we go to that since Vanilla was ‘declared’ not on the spectrum? For several years, we lived with the understanding and belief that he was an aspergers child. Despite the results of last years extensive testing, which declared him a 6 on a 10 scale – with 7 being on the spectrum – I still think he’s an aspergers kid, even if there isn’t an official label to go with it.
He has many of the same traits, habits and quirks as aspergers kids. It doesn’t detract from who he is, it doesn’t make him who he is, it simply adds to the great kid I was blessed by God to have.
After spending time in the Autism Speaks family; we started with the walk in Philadelphia three years ago, continuing to Cincinnati, and Papa has been on the board and a speaker at national events, including the one he will attend next month in Chicago, how could we walk away? This organization has come to mean a lot to all of us, even Vanilla and Sprinkles, who look forward to the walks every year and are excited about raising money for a good cause.
If you looked around you in a store or a crowded room, you probably would see someone who either has a child with an Autism related disorder, or know someone who does. It’s a wide-spread issue, one that grows everyday for reasons that they cannot figure out. That’s why Autism Speaks exists. To give a voice to something we can barely understand, to help families who need support and give whatever help is needed through funding research, support groups and so many other things.
My life would be so different if I had never met these kids affected by Autism. It would be so different if I had never met the people who care and give to figuring out this baffling issue. My life would not have nearly as much in it if I had not been involved in an organization like Autism Speaks.
So why did I go to this event even though my Vanilla ‘technically’ doesn’t have Autism?
Because my life is richer for knowing these kids, parents, doctors and supporters of Autism. That’s reason enough for me.