Four years ago was diagnosed with a High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, more commonly known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Due to the wealth of information available on-line, I will spare you a lot of the details. You can find plenty of good information from reliable sources and I recommend checking them out.
One of the many blessings to come from my own diagnosis is my new-found sense to fight for Asperger’s Awareness. I would like to believe that there is the possibility for a world in which persons with Asperger’s can know that they are loved and accepted, just as they are.
I was fortunate to go to a Christian university for college and acquired some of the greatest friends I have ever known. I was also instructed by some one I have come to respect as a friend and mentor. All of the friends I made just happened to be neurotypical ( AKA “normal”) and accept and love me for who I am and who I’m meant to be. I have seen it and I know it is possible. Has it been an easy ride for them or my parents or any one who served as my teacher? No. But thanks to their tireless efforts, as well as those of my therapist (combined with prayer, poetry, music and a healthy exercise regiment) I am much closer to being a well-adjusted adult then I was then I was in high school. They were the people who motivated me to be better, because I wanted to be better for them.
I was willing to grow and change because they were patient and accepting of me and I knew they loved me no matter what. Sadly there are many of my brothers and sisters on the spectrum that do not feel this love.
This desire to create awareness has increased in the past year in the wake of Aurora and Sandy Hook. News outlets have unintentionally up fear and hatred by misinforming the public that Autism had something to do with those senseless tragedies. Persons on-line have made comments expressing this fear and peitions have circulated to have the government police and monitor persons on the spectrum. Now, more than ever, creating awareness, compassion, solidarity, and understanding for Autism is all the more important.
April 2nd is National Autism Awareness Day. On that day people are encouraged to wear blue to show support and solidarity for those with Asperger’s and other forms of Autism. I would like to send this message out to all of you asking that you take part in this. Can wearing blue help? Probably not. But if anything it is one small step. A step in not only raising awareness for Asperger’s but in letting those with Asperger’s know that they are not alone.
Don’t just do it yourself. Ask your family and friends to do the same.
I plan to take part. Will you?