Monday, April 1, 2013

Does It Really Matter?

It's April again folks,  Autism Awareness Month.  

It seems we're asked to be "aware" of a lot of issues these days.  Ribbons and graphics abound.  I've long wondered, does awareness really matter, or is it just something that let's people feel like a good, caring person, but does nothing for those impacted.   My tendency was to lean toward the more jaded answer and say "no".  I freely admit.  My initial response was dead wrong.

Over time, I've noticed massive differences between how individuals, and society at large accepts Nathan, when compared to my own experience.  In the 1970's and 1980's, the neurotypical were outcasts.  My list of true friends was extremely short.   People with all forms of disability were "those people".  Not so with Nathan.  

I can identify a number of Nathan's peers who don't just tolerate him.  They value him.  Even as teens and preteens, they see him as an individual.  There's a "golden list" of kids who even value him FOR his differences, not in spite of them.  I gladly admit that I was wrong.  Awareness changes things.  Awareness matters.

Some dear friends of ours have an amazing 5-year-old daughter.  Both Mom and daughter have their nails "Painted Blue for Nathan".   When asked "Do you have Smurf toes?", little one replied: "No.  It's for Autism Awareness."  When further asked "do you know anyone with is Autistic?" she replied: "Yes.  My friend Nathan."  This touched me deeply, particularly in this, my first April officially "On the Spectrum" myself.  It inspired me to issue a challenge to every lady who knows and loves Nathan, me, or both.  If a 5-year-old can do it, so can you.  I've already got pics on my Facebook wall.  Those brave souls who give permission will have theirs posted on the blog.  

"Paint 'em Blue for Nathan"

You're never too few, or even too little to make a difference.  Choose your favorite shade of polish and get to it.  Treat yourself to a mani/pedi if you like.  When people ask, tell 'em "It's for Autism and for Nathan."  

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