The following post has just been published on Huffington Post. This piece is important to me as it is the introduction to four or five subsequent posts I am planning for the entire month of April, written by autists. April, for those who may not be aware, is “autism awareness” month. These autists who will be writing posts for me to submit are the voices that have changed my life. These are the voices that, because they’ve changed my life are changing my daughter’s life. These are the voices that are NOT being included in all the fund raisers for “Autism Awareness.” How can we possibly hope for awareness if autists are not being included? Please help me by sharing the Huffington Post link (here it is again, in case you missed the first one) through email, facebook, tweets, share it, comment, please, please comment, even if it’s just to say, “I read this” and send the link to as many people as you can. We need these posts to go viral. And I need each and every one of you reading this to help me. Please.
Let’s change what “awareness” means. With your help we can.
For those interested, this is Paula Durbin-Westby’s blog, one of the autists who has agreed to write the first piece to kick things off for the Huffington Post.
As your husband, I have shared this journey with you from the moment we sensed something was ‘wrong’, through the diagnosis, the endless search for a miracle cure, the ABA and DIR programs that didn’t help, Marion Blank’s learning system that finally worked and most recently, your exposure to the blogs of autists and Henry Markram’s Intense World Theory of Autism.
This is one of your most eloquent, powerful and important posts. I wish it hadn’t been buried in the Huffington cellar. With Autism Awareness month looming, your focus on the thoughts and feelings of autistics is essential in understanding what life is like on the inside of ASD. Reading the blogs of autistics has completely changed my perception of ASD, our children, our goals, our life together. Hopefully this “call to listen” will spread, and more people will hear the joy, laughter, hopes, fears and frustrations of autistics who are able to tell their own stories in their own words.
To the people who commented in a critical way – inferring you don’t ‘get it’ that autism is a neurological disorder causing damage and untold difficulties, or that there are many non-verbal autists who are unable to tell their own stories – I know you get it. I get it too. But what the majority of people don’t get – is a chance to hear the autistics who have been discriminated against, marginalized, disenfranchised, bullied, or simply ignored by ‘normals’ who can’t bear to look, listen or care.
Thank you, Richard. Thank you for always traveling by my side. As Em would say, we have and continue to travel “together.”