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Saturday, May 02, 2015

AUTISM, YOU’VE HEARD OF IT


But do you really recognize it?

Recently at a convention I attended during April is National Autism Awareness month: a self-advocate got up to give some insight into what autism is and how it affects those who suffer and those who live with autistic people.

As she was introduced, no mention as made of her condition. She is a beautiful young woman and I thought this would be a listening process from another advocate, but it became even more. As she approached the microphone on the dais, she began to become uncomfortable, as if she was in some kind of pain, and her voice quivered as she began.  Suddenly she began to fidget, almost sweating visible.

Her speech was somewhat challenged and she stood there, afraid to face her audience, as she began her address. It swept the audience in a silent gasp of recognition of a key fact: she was very brave! This woman was facing her fears head-on and because she was a self-advocate, she needed to state her case, loudly and very clearly for all to hear.

Maybe I am a fool, but I think that courage like that should be recognized and admired, this valiant woman stood for all who suffer autism, for all the parents and siblings who advocate for it, for those who suffer now and perhaps for those who will suffer yet, both the born and the unborn.

I witnessed a hero, and she will always be embedded in my mind for her valor.

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