Sunday, April 1, 2018

The carnival of fond memories.

Most parents of children with special needs often find themselves in a pickle trying to find places that can accommodate our littles and our loved ones. Sure there are places like Morgan's Playground, but if you don't live even remotely close or can't afford to go to places like that, you are at a loss as to what you can do to ensure your child has the time of their lives and just be a kiddo, instead of a label or person that garners stares and unwelcomed comments. Even at the best of times, it is hard as a parent to try and figure out vacations and places we can take our special needs kiddos on or to. While places like Disneyworld/Land are trying to incorporate special needs persons, it still isn't perfect and not everyone can afford to go. Sure, I would love to take my son to go see his favorite characters from Disney, as I would love to capture that special moment when he gets to meet Mickey for the first time, but I know in my heart that he will not be able to handle the lines, even with a special pass, that we have to pay extra for and provide the documentation prove his disability, just for him to meet his idol. Most of parents wish we could give our special children that joy.So with that being said, a lot of us try and find the smaller amusements give joy to our children, who deserve it.

On the kick off to Autism Acceptance/Awareness month, this isn't going to be a blog post about the power of puzzle pieces or the sea of blue, but of a child that got so much joy out of something small. The other night we took our son to a local carnival. For most, it wouldn't be a big deal, but for him it was. It had every thing a small time carnival had to offer. Cheesy games, like win a fish and dart throws to the rides that make you sick that make you feel like your insides are on your outsides. For him it was everything he loved. Things that spin and light up, but best of all they had a swing ride. One that spun around and made a person feel like they could fly. Sure it squeaked and creaked and it needed a paint job, it didn't matter to him. He saw those swings and knew that, that was the ride he wanted to go on. So first ride off the bat, was the swings. I can't even express how much joy came to that boy's face. He flapped in excitement as I strapped him in to his chair. As I took my spot next to him, the verbal stims where just as noticeable, not that I cared. My boy was happy.  It wasn't until the ride started up, in that moment of movement, did he really get into his enjoyment. I was almost scared that he might of vibrated out of his chair. As I watched him from the seat next to him, I could tell that so many things were going through him. It wasn't just the lights or the fact that we were spinning around and around, but the experience for him was much more. For him, it was being able to be a kiddo. Getting so much joy out of this is what it meant for him to finally not be bothered by all the triggers, but to let loose. I think in his own mind he thought he was flying and he truly was.

From the swings we went on many other rides and we played some carnival games (which he ended up winning a green ball), but nothing compared to the swing ride. Sure, as the sun went down the lights of all the rides, lit up the night, which to our son was fun to watch. The cowards getting bigger, we decided to call it a night, but not without one more time on the swing ride. We got into our spots, I buckled my son in and away we went. This time I decided to take a couple of pictures of him, as I wanted a kodak moment of his joy. Sure enough, he gave me one the best photos I have of him. I wanted to remember and cherish this moment, because when we are hip deep in the chaos or going through a rough time, I will always have a photo of him in the throws of absolute joy. That photo will be my reminder that he is just a little boy who deserves happiness and joy just as much as the next kiddo.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

When Marching today, please remember those who can't or don't understand.

March 24th, 2018 is the day that many students will gather in the nation's capital to voice their concerns over school shootings and school safety protocols. All over this nation, young people who will be able to vote soon, will stand up and let their voices be heard in respect to all those who have lost their lives to school shootings. This takes courage and bravery to stand up to the establishment and tell it, it needs to work on a lot things. Within this process, I want to make it clear that not all students are able to let their voices be heard. Not all students, who have been affected by school shootings or the safety protocols, have a voice or the means to be able to make it down to the marches occurring today. For those who are participating in the March for Our Lives, please remember those students in your chants, your thoughts and your movement.

A couple of weeks ago, when the shooting down in Parkland occurred, I wrote about what kind of impact that would have on the type of classroom I work in. For those who haven't been following, I work in a classroom with special need students. While on that same day, we also had our own incident, everything was put into perspective for myself and my coworkers that day. It became very clear to us, that even with everything done right, we would be the first targets, if and when something like a school shooting was to occur. As much as we would all do our best to maintain the safety of our students, there would be absolutely no way we could make them understand the severity of a situation of a school shooting. Most of them are not going to understand why we are cramped in a bathroom and that the playing the "Silent Game" isn't going to work. We love these kiddos like they are our own, but when you are talking about kids who see the world differently than the rest of us, it is very hard to make them understand the severity of situations. It doesn't matter how many times we do drills for these types of things.

I am very proud of the youth today. I am proud that so many want to make sure their voices are heard. For me though, I hope that many of them don't forget about the students like the kiddos in my class. These Kids deserve to have the right to have their lives protected. They deserve to have someone remember that they are still here and are trying to learn, just like the rest of the general classrooms. While I know there are some down in DC and all over the nation, who are like my kiddos out there marching, I wanted people to keep in mind, that not all have a voice and that they too, need someone to champion for their right to live and be able to learn in a safe environment.

My plan was to be just one voice for my students today, along side my eldest son. We got sidelined by an injury. While my eldest wanted to be part of this march as it was something that was important to him as student, I wanted to raise my voice in support to all those who can't. Every child deserves to have a safe academic environment.

So today on  March 24, 2018, when we are listen to the voice of the youth, please remember to lend yours to those who might not have a voice today. Please remember to lend your voice to those who might not be physically able to march today, as they all deserve the same amount of respect as everyone else.

Friday, March 9, 2018

International Day of Women... International Year of Women.

I am a day late. I know. Its ok. It gives me time to sit and think about what I want to write about regarding yesterday. Yesterday, if you didn't know was the International Day of Women. I celebrated that day at a field trip with my special needs son, not that important, but that is how I observed a day to celebrate not just my gender, but all those who made it possible for my gender to be able to do the things my gender is able to do.

As I sat around in a room full of amphibians and reptiles, listening to how myself and others can help the environment and protect our planet, I made the observation that all the instructors we had, were indeed Women. Women who knew exactly what they were talking about. Intelligent women, in a field that is normally dominated by men,(let's face it there aren't a lot of women who have a keen interest in things like snakes, spiders and crocs, I wish there were!)As I continued to sit there and make sure my son's stimming wasn't on overload, I lamented that all of the teachers on this trip, were also women. Every single one of them. Then like magic it got me thinking about the work environment I work in. While we do have male teachers, most of the faculty is made of Women, myself included. While in the past, the teaching profession was at one time, one of the only professions a woman could have gotten, it got me thinking to the roles that have expanded from that. For example, I am fortunate enough to work in a school where both my top admin are women, not saying that a male admin isn't just as awesome, but it is nice to see the roles that women once had, have evolved and have expanded. And of course I kept thinking...

See this is how my mind works. I get started on one basic thought and it expands, till I am pondering the mysteries of the universe. Back to Women.  I have always loved history. The good, the bad and the ugly. I have always thought that history is a gateway into seeing how we have become the people we are today. What has shaped us, helped us learn and who has been significant in those roles. Role Models. Sitting in the jungle of snakes and spiders, I thought about who in our history have been a momentous influence on shaping the women we have today. While I tend to look at the trailblazers like the Suffragettes, or the women who basically told the male dominated field they worked in " Not today, sir, not today.Today is mine and mine alone."I thought about my own personal heroines. The ones that have helped me discover my own womanhood. The ones who made me proud to say that "I am Woman, HEAR ME ROAR!" I have so many in my 40 years on this planet. There are women who stood up for what they thought was right. There are women who quietly guided me to understanding my potential. I firmly believe that every woman, young women and girls out there need to have someone out there to show them that potential.

While yesterday was the International Day of Women, it should be noted that 2018 should be the Year of the Woman. We saw the spark of it last year, starting with the Women's March. From then, the #Metoo movement evolved and blossomed. The #Timesup initiative going strong. A lot more women becoming stronger and brave to stand up for themselves, as well as for those who do not have the courage just yet to speak out. We have seen the young women of Parkland FL, look Senators, law makers and bigwig corporations in the face and say "We will not stand for this". Young women who will be voting soon. We are seeing more women in politics, taking a stand against those who wish to take all that has been fought for, for the last 100 years.  Women in 2018 have become a force to be reckoned with. The world has started to take note.

I go back to the women standing before me talking about how to properly hold crocodile. There was one point in time where she wouldn't be standing up there talking about crocodiles, as it wouldn't have been "Proper" for a woman to even be in a field where she was touching and understanding an animal.

So to all the naysayers who want to tear down the spirit of a fighting woman, try it. Our voice is only going to get louder, braver and stronger.

For those who are still fighting for themselves and their womanhood, don't ever stop. Remember that the world is watching and somewhere there is a little girl out there who will or does look up to you.

Remember who taught you how to value your worth. Those who showed you your potential. Today and every day, remember you are worth it.

Back to crocodile handling, as I got to hold on to an awesome little female croc, named Wally.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

School Shootings and the Special Needs World....

For a lot of our kiddos, the world can be a very scary place on any given normal day. Sights and sounds can overwhelm our kiddos. Of course in our classrooms, we have our standard fire drills, tornado drills and earthquake drills once a month. All things that are scary but are things that are preventable. Lock downs are something of a different nature, especially when it comes to our kiddos who are special needs.

I think it needs to be said that we shouldn't even have to have lock down drills to begin with. Even for the General Ed it is a sad reality, so can you even imagine what this all means for those who are special needs and the people who care for our children?

Lock downs are for schools who have a intruder or active shooter(s) trying to either get into the school or have managed to succeed in getting in. The very first thing for an educator and their aides is the safety of their students, as well as personal safety. Scary stuff. Again as much as all the fire drills are the same, safely get your students to a safe location. Lock downs, the faculty and students are stuck within a school. Stuck. Stuck until it is safe from them to get out. Quick thinking on the faculty's part, law enforcement or sometimes the students themselves.

I don't think it needs to be said that since Sandy Hook, most school's protocols for lock downs has changed, but other things have not. As a parent of a two special needs students, I have to ask when protocols for schools are being laid in place, what is being done for our school children who are special needs, as we all know that special needs encompasses a lot. It isn't just physical. It isn't just cognitive. There is a wide spectrum that deals with special needs. While we as parents at the best of times, reluctant to send our children to school, it makes me wonder if we have to start putting in drill protocols within our children's IEPs. What should happen if an active shooter enters our children's school.

As I sit and write this, I am aware of the fact that I am not only a parent to special needs children, but now I am also one of many care givers within a school system to those with special needs. I am not going to lie when I say this whole idea of lock down drills scares the shit out of me. It is something that I am never going to used to, ever. I know what we do in our own classroom to maintain safety for our kiddos and ourselves during drills, but I can't help but wonder what it is like for our kiddos, themselves. I am taken back to my initial response to Sandy Hook. While at the time, I wasn't employed by the school system. My shock was the same as it was to the tragedy of Florida. It gave me nightmares. As I thought about what would have happened to my own children if this was what was happening to them. How would they deal in a crisis? Especially one so horrific as to watch your teachers and friends being gunned down. Again I am not going sugar coat this issue. I know there are crisis counselors out there that are trained to help those who aren't cognitively aware of what has just happened, but I still can't even wrap my brain around how my children would deal with something like this and that they would still have to deal with something like this after Sandy Hook. Its not like I can sit my non verbal child down and explain to him that bad people do bad things to other people.

Since Florida we have seen the young people who have been directly affected by this tragedy speak out. Calling for gun legislation and calling out those who have been in the pockets of the NRA, all while sending "Thoughts and Prayers". It is now encouraging to see the younger generation getting involved. It is sad however, that it took a senseless act of violence to finally hear their voices. I have sat and listened to our POTUS talk about arming teachers in the classrooms and giving the ones who are trained a bonus.Teachers who have to peg and plead with parents to send in supplies like pencils, paper and glue. He wants to arm them all with firearms. Seriously? Not only a liability issue, there is no way you could regulate it. It would take one disgruntled personnel to take gun from a classroom and do the same as an active shooter. I can't even fathom a gun in a special needs classroom. I can't and won't.

So what happens to our special needs kiddos during a crisis. For the most part if we the adults are calm, most of our kiddos are too. When it comes to trying to keep our stimming children quiet during a lock down, it is mission impossible. Most of us are in a small secluded space with kiddos that are reactive to no light, the inability to keep quiet or being in a space that is small and cramped. While we try to do our best to keep them quiet and safe, it doesn't always work. Even though we are doing everything in our power to maintain safety, nothing is 100%. That is what scares me to the point of nightmares about lock downs and special needs kiddos. We would be easy targets to a person with no regard to other human lives.

While I am happy to see students speaking out against the current gun laws of this country, it saddens me that I haven't heard too much from disability advocates and organizations about what happens to the special needs community when tragedies like this happen.What are we as care givers and SPed educators to do when this happens? While I am fortunate to work in an awesome environment, where the SPed department is supported, I know that not all schools are the same.

I hope that this recent tragedy in FL opens the lines of communication, finally, for things to change. While I feel there is hope for the future, it isn't the immediate future. We now have a group of young people who are angry. Young people who now have been taunted by those who are either in a seat of power or sitting in a computer chair hurling insults. Young people who in the next couple of years will be able to vote. I hope that the anger they have now will still be fresh in their minds when they are deciding who becomes our next POTUS and those who sit in Congress and the Senate. I hope they remember the local politicians who told them they were fauds because they stood up and said "Not Anymore". But I hope that these young people will remember those who don't have a voice, but were there as well during tragedies like Sandy Hook and FL and every other school shooting this nation has seen and will see in its future. Don't forget the protection of those who don't understand why lock down drills have to happen and active shooters are a reality.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

2017. The year of Hatred.

I normally don’t blog about politics. Left, right or down the middle, at this point it isn’t even about sides anymore. After yesterday’s events, I can’t contain my rage any longer. I am not even going to try and be polite about this.

I, like most of us sat clued to either our computers or TV sets and watched horrifically at the events that took place in Charlottesville, VA. Most of us sat there in disbelief that in 2017 we were witnessing Neo Nazis clash with not just decent human beings, but clergymen and women over hate rhetoric. Not only that, we also witnessed a Neo Nazi plow through people who were count marching against this hate parade, to not only injure 19 people, but he killed someone. A woman, who came to counter hate with a peaceful protest. Her name was Heather Heyer. He killed her. Ran her over with his car, because he didn’t like Jews, Blacks, Minorities, Immigrants, Gays and anyone else he disagreed with. His love for our POTUS, Hitler and Jesus consumed him so much to kill in their name and yet we have a nation that still refuses to acknowledge there is an issue with racism. Our POTUS can’t even call them out. Instead we have yet another TV broadcast of him talking about his accomplishments and a little blur about condoning the actions of the “Many Sides”. No sir, it is just one side. So, let’s have a conversation about that one side.

Nazis. Anyone who paid attention in 20th century history classes, would know who or what a Nazi is or was. It is sad that so many need to have a history lesson to fully understand why Nazis and Hitler are not well received in today’s society. Hitler was not a nice man. In fact, when you think of some of the greatest assholes this world has seen, Hitler was one of them. Approximately 6 million Jews died because of this man and his political party. 6 million. That number doesn’t reflect the Gypsies, Homosexuals, disabled or any other persons he hated.  This was the man who wanted the master race, Aryans. Blond haired, blue eyed, Christian race. Exterminated those who didn’t fit into his mold. Exterminated, as in got rid of like a colony of ants that plagued him. Most of the Operations in Europe during WWII were fought to liberate the world from this man. All those who died on the Beaches of Normandy, the military offenses in Italy, France and even the boots on ground in Africa, in the air, land and sea, men and women lost their lives to protect the freedoms of others against this man and his Nazis. So, when the Neo Nazis want to have their little hate parades, most of us tend to want to silence them, as it would be tragic if our WWII Veterans thought their fight and their war dead was all done in vain. The 6 million Jews and countless others died for what? Hatred. Our Veterans fought against that hate, only to have it thrown back in their faces decades later? Yet we have a POTUS ready to send troops to North Korea to fight against the evil that lies there, funny since he can’t even fight against the evil in his own country or take care of the Veteran He already has, let alone make more of them.

I have tried so hard to be the optimist when it came to the Trump administration. I tried. Grinned and bared it. After yesterday, I just cannot sit back and let the cards fall where they may. Yesterday was the prime example of the literal torches Mr. President lit during his campaign, that ignited the hate people have or had brewing in this country. Yesterday was the melting pot of that hate, but he as some issues calling out what it was. It was domestic terrorism. He can’t call out a white man as a terrorist. Why? It wasn’t many sides, it was one. One side that he has continually toyed with since the beginning. Now the right can get all up in arms over the BLM movement or the Antifa establishment, but when it comes down to it, is the BLM movement associated with a group that killed 6 million people? Is Antifa responsible for Ms. Heyer’s death? The answer is no, to both questions.

Any group of people who march through a town’s streets chanting for the deaths of another race, is a hate group. Any group that doesn’t see why plowing through a group of people they dislike and killing one of them is wrong, is a group promoting terrorist actions. The sad part is, is most will not see that, as the man who killed Ms. Heyer wasn’t black enough or wasn’t from the right religion for him to called a terrorist.

Right now, people must ask themselves what side they want to be on. The answer isn’t left or right. Its whether you want to be on the decent side of humanity or the one that is so consumed with hate and discontent it would make Hitler so very proud.     

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Carrie Fisher will always be a Herorine in my eyes...

On screen to most she was the Princess of the Rebellion, a Leader to the good fight, fought valiantly by the Rebel Alliance. She was the quirky friend to Meg Ryan, when Sally met Harry and the patient wife to Tom Hanks, when he did battle with evil neighbours. It wasn't her on screen personas that made her hero in many's eyes, but her open struggle with her own mental health that many saw as valiant and commendable.

Her passing had shocked the world, not just in the Star Wars realms, but also in the those of us who saw her as a Warrior for mental health. Finally we had an advocate, who didn't give a shit about what the world thought of her battle with mental illness. Her frankness and her humor, proved that just because someone is battling demons within their own head,  it didn't mean they were any less of a person. Robin Williams was also like that, different mental illness but same mentality. Two famous people who tried to conquer demons while at the bottom of the hill. Fisher, was different from most of the Hollywood elites. She wanted to have a conversation about mental health, she encouraged it. In fact, she challenged people to talk about it, which is why, when she passed, her loss was just more than just another celebrity dying. Her passing meant so much more to so many people, that I don't think she would have quite realized.

Like most of us, she struggled with trying to find the right path to healing, again she wasn't shy about talking about it either. Her frankness about drug addiction to seeking therapy, made her a hero. She dared people to call her out on it. She took the stigmas that surrounded mental health and said, "Fuck you". She was open about her childhood, growing up within the Hollywood sphere. It wasn't easy being the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.

A couple of weeks ago, Ms. Fisher's autopsy report came out. It stated she had drugs in her system when she died.What is disheartening is the backlash over that. Yes she had cocaine in her system. Yes she had Heroin in her system, but who are you to speculate how she managed her mental illness? Who are you to tell someone how to manage their depression or bipolar disorder? It was her path and hers alone to manage how she saw fit. Like anything, you have no idea what she had been dealing with at the time of her death and for that you would have to be close with her or the person managing her health. There is a saying that some of the most dangerous illnesses are the invisible ones.

For many of us, she was our Queen. Like her, we struggle and still do, with our mental health. It is sometimes hard to find what helps or what combination of things will lift your clouds. Most of us are in denial about what really needs to be done to what drugs and therapy we need to have in order to feel better. And there are some of us who acknowledged it, we take it by the horns and we do the best we can and that is what Carrie did. She knew she had a mental illness, she tried her best to do what she could with it, even it meant take drugs to manage it. If cocaine and heroin silenced the demons within her, that was her choice to feel better. You can't take that away from someone, the right to feel better. Now, I get it there are people who abuse that right and harm themselves, again that is their choice,but to criticize someone because you don't agree because of how they are managing their lifestyle, which wasn't hurting anyone, is just wrong.

A lot of us struggle with the stigma of mental illness, as society sees it as a weakness. It's shameful to be depressed or have anxiety. You are considered feeble if you even mention that you might be on anti-depressants or that you had to take a couple of Xanax because your anxiety is threw the roof. So when we have a famous person come along that states, "Hey,its ok! You are not the only one!", we tend to be overjoyed that this person might shed a light on something that most people are ridiculed for or forgotten about.

This is why Carrie Fisher is and will always be a heroine  in my eyes. She basically said "Fuck You" to the people who ridiculed her for being Bipolar. She didn't care what people thought about how she dwelt with it and that she did it so publicly, that it gave the rest of us courage to do the same. It is because of her that I can openly talk about my mental illness. It is because of her that many others can do the same. I get that she didn't die by suicide, like sadly most people with mental illness do, but like her it put mental illness back into conversation, for so many reasons. Management, living with it, talking about it and most importantly, acceptance.

Thank you Carrie Fisher for your strength and wit.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Autism Acceptance is a human right, so please stop with blue awareness.

I know that we have just started the month of April. For many of us who live and breath Autism 365 days a year, this month is supposed to be Autism Awareness Month. During this month the sea of the "Light it Up Blue" light bulbs will be present at every turn. While most of us are grateful for the acknowledgement, many us are just happy when that acknowledgement presents itself during the rest of the year instead of just April. A lot of us are hardened to the fact that a vast majority of the population still has no idea what autism actually is or what it is like to have it or love someone who has it. Every year we all sit back and watch people go nuts with painting the world blue. This year, however, I am not inclined to do so. It comes down to two factors. The current political climate and Autism Speaks.

Let's start with the first one. I honestly thought it was a joke when I read in my international news that the White House was going to "Light it up Blue" for World Autism Day. Seriously, I did. Now lately I have been trying my damnedest to keep my mouth shut when it comes to this administration, but a very audible *Snort* came out of my person when I read that this morning. APRIL FOOLS! I am for the life of me trying to wrap my brain around why this current Administration wants to light the White House up blue when they have just spent the majority of the POTUS's first 100 days in office trying their hardest to get rid of just about everything an autistic child ( who will someday grow into an adult) will need to succeed. Education, Medicaid or Medicare, Social Security, housing, or how about just resources. Education. For many of us parents, we were shocked when the woman who hadn't a clue to what IDEA or FAPE was, got the job of Secretary of Education. SHOCKED. A woman who is not qualified to even enter a public school, let alone run one, is now in charge for the education of our special needs students. Oh yes they are very aware, so much so that the POTUS calls it " The Autism"and or " The Horrible thing". Medical. The appeal of ACA. Now listen I get that it wasn't prefect, even Canada's healthcare system isn't prefect, but at least it gave people something, rather than nothing. For those kids who needed things like ABA, speech, or OT,  when they either couldn't get it school or they need extra, ACA covered that, again not prefect, but it was something. To successfully appeal it, and  not having anything to replace it, is a very dangerous road to be on. So let's talk about the replacement, AHCA or American Health Care Act. What does that mean for people who have autism. In 2014, Medicaid spent approximately $151.8 billion on support services for seniors and people with disabilities — 53 percent of which was spent to keep those receiving support in their own homes rather than in nursing homes or institutions. So when there was the implication that Medicaid was going to be more state run with less funding under this new Healthcare act, a lot of us wondered just what that meant for people with disabilities. A good number of us will have grown children, that some might need group homes or some might be working those minimum waged jobs, who then will not have the government's support nor anything else. A lot of us were made to wonder just what will happen to our children, when things like Medicaid and Social Security aren't going to be there to help our grown children when we have long since passed on. Now I get that the average parent might not worry about those things, but this one does. I do have a child who has an Intellectual Disability, one that even with the best foundation, will still need help as an adult to live his life. These are just a few things that this Administration has done to try and erase my hopes for my autistic children's futures. I don't think I need to make note about the POTUS' making fun of disabled persons. And before I get the "Well Obama did it too..", yes he did. Once and he apologized for it. I have yet to see an apology from this administration for mocking a disabled person or calling a deaf woman"Retarded". Again very laughable that the White House is going to be 'promoting" Autism Awareness. It's very tone deaf. At least if you are going to do that, have some education about what Autism is and what the rates mean, so you don't have to ask a special educator that question during a sit down meeting with teachers.

On to Autism Speaks. Listen I get that they are a nationally organization that is supposed to be at the forefront on Autism and everything that has to do with Autism. Since my daughter, who will be 12 soon, was diagnosed with Autism, I have learned very quickly that Autism Speaks doesn't speak for myself, my daughter or my son. While they promote their "Light it up Blue" Campaign, the whole "people need to be aware", most of us who have read the rhetoric and have found that they, themselves have yet to fully accepted it. Finding a cure is what most of it states. While Autism presents with some interesting twists and turns to one's life, it isn't something that defines that person. Autism is part of that person. There is a lot of people who are on the fence about their feelings concerning Autism Speaks. Some will say that the organization does great work in spreading awareness during the month of April, which undeniably does, but the question has to be asked is Does it promote Acceptance? For most autistic adults, acceptance is something they want. I mean doesn't everyone want that? To be seen as we truly are, without judgement? So when you have an organization that promotes the struggle and the pain Autism causes, you aren't really accepting it. The other issue with Autism Speaks, is the leadership. Some have pointed out that there really isn't much leadership with people who have Autism. It would be like if there was a group that promoted Women's health, but was run solely by men. See what I did there? Just like the other big organizations that promote "Awareness", one needs to take a step back and really look at what exactly is being promoted and how does it benefit those it's supposed to.

April has always been a mixed bag for me. This year, especially, I feel the Autism community has been hit hard. It isn't even just the Autism Community, but those who are unique. So while I am amused by the White House's choice to "Light it up Blue" despite all the challenges they have brought forth for us and whole " Be Aware of this and Be Aware of that" campaigns, I urge you all to take a stand. If you have loved ones who are on the spectrum or you are on the spectrum yourself, please pay attention to what the government is doing, with regards to your rights. As for April is Autism Awareness Month, we are all aware, but are we all accepting? Are you going to support local autism organizations, instead of the big money making ones? Are you going to accept that the child sitting at the table next to you in a restaurant who is stimming away because the lights are too bright, is just trying to self regulate or is it going to be the reason you are rude to their parents? Or are you going to mock the adult that stand before you having a hard time asking a question? It has always been about Acceptance, as the world is already aware.