Autism Awareness? How About Help for Families with Autism Instead?

light it up truePOSTED APRIL, 2013:

I debated about whether or not to post something today. I was considering, even, doing a blog post a day in April, about autism, to educate you on the progress that is being made with real science to help and cure kids who have actual pain and disorders thanks to autism.  I don’t think I’m going to do that, but I will focus on autism this month, sharing great sites, amazing charities, curating info for you, and in general, making your life easier, if you have a loved one with autism.

That said, I have to fight the good fight today.  Today is the UN-sanctioned “World Autism Day.”  I’m going to write this calmly, but I saw a post this weekend that said, “Celebrate Autism in April!”

1 in 68 now IN 2014. Why are we celebrating?

Celebrate?  Ok, do we celebrate heart disease?  Hold a dance about our joy for cancer?  Jump up and down in glee about all the pain and the struggles it brings?

No, we don’t.

So why are we “celebrating” autism?  Ok, hear me out – I don’t in any way mean that people with autism, including my daughter, should be treated with disrespect, subject to any disgusting 50 cent type stereotyping, or treated as anything other than people who deserve the full rights and dignity of any other citizen. We can CELEBRATE people who have autism for who they are, certainly! But autism can harm everything from a person’s ability to hold a stable job to being a relationship.

Autism is part my kid’s life but it does not define her.

Nor do I believe that the good people who work with, work for, and advocate on behalf of my daughter are any less, or that she does not deserve and require good services to help her grow into an adult who can, God willing, completely or mostly live on her own and take care of herself.

Is her brain fixed and permanently damaged? I don’t know.  I do believe that repairing her biochemistry, cutting edge advances in studying autism, and the advances made in neuroplasticity means that she has options that we’ve never had in the past.  If we try everything and it’s not fixable, then it was it is, and that’s ok.  Just like my daughter with Down syndrome, every day I accept this child for who she is now and try to envision her living that life in the future, just as it is, and smooth out that route before her.

But what if I can do more?

BUT if God has made a way to heal her difficulties, if that exists, then I will do everything in my power to find it and help her do better and struggle less  in life.  I would do no less for my other child. I believe she is suffering from physical issues, and I know that’s true, because when I address those issues with nutrition, supplements, or homeopathy, she gets better.  It’s really as simple as that, although getting her from here to fully cured is a long, complex endeavor.

If you really open your eyes, you’ll see that autism is skyrocketing: 1 in 2,500 (or 10,000) to 1 in 88 (or 50) in 20 years or so, is not all diagnostic.  The math doesn’t support that, nor does the fact that other childhood and adult disorders and diseases are ALSO far and away on the rise: cancers, celiac disease, Alzheimers, ADHD.  We are simply NOT getting better, we are getting sicker across the board in this country.

This weekend, we went to the park for our first day enjoying the sunshine, and there were about 15 or so kids there.  Two of them I knew had autism.  Two more I suspected because sometimes you can just tell, even if a child doesn’t talk.

4 out of 15 kids.  You do do the math.

The problem is this is NOT an isolated incident.  Kids who have difficulty functioning around us are everywhere, you can see them!  Keep in mind for every struggling child you see in a restaurant, mall, or park, there are many more who cannot even be taken out to events like these at all.  Talk to your teachers about it.  They are down on the front lines and have seen it.  Talk to pediatricians, and discover why more and more are joining DAN! doctors as the number of kids with VISIBLE autism issues increase in their patients.  Talk to groups that provide support services to see how short-staffed they are.

Today, we’re supposed to “light it up blue” to support “autism awareness”.  I’m aware, and I think people in this country in general are aware.  What we need now is a movement for healing for child whose autism is causing them physical and medical problems.

So today, I’m displaying orange – the opposite of blue and the color of fire.  This house is on fire, people.  This month I’m joining Age of Autism and their “Light it up True” campaign, to bring you the facts and focus on what autism families need, what kids with autism are going through, and how you can help.  Peace out, people!


  1. Heidi says

    I do not have any loved ones who are affected by Autism but I really agree with you here! Terrific post!

  2. Melissa Long says

    Thank you for having the courage to post this! If I had the same guts you do, I would post your sentiments all over Facebook. I think this “World Autism Day” is one of the silliest ideas ever. I feel exactly as you do……By now, the general public is aware, WELL aware. How many people out there don’t know about the rising rates of autism? Not many. So many of my friends who have a child with autism are really into the “Light it Up Blue” idea and the whole month being about autism awareness. Great, wonderful, but what about after we turn the light off or the month is over? Hmmmm……

    It also seems that the biggest fighters for “Autism Awareness” are the parents of Aspie kids. In my mind, they are playing a whole different ballgame than I am as a parent of a non-verbal child with autism. My big wish for the public is that they learn the difference between my journey and a family that has a child who has Asperger’s.

    Again, just an awesome, brave post. I’m glad someone out there feels the same way I do! :)

    • Gina B says

      Hi Melissa, thank you! Go ahead, share away, if you can – I totally understand if you can’t though. Good point about Asperger’s, it is a very different ride, from what I gather. That said, most kids I see or know actually have autism not Asperger’s! Thanks for the compliment about orange :)

  3. Melissa Long says

    I love how you are displaying orange! What a great idea!

    It’s interesting because yesterday on my FB status I put “I am not celebrating ANYTHING today!” Again, how silly. Just like you said, autism is really nothing to celebrate……

  4. says

    Nurse Michael Garritson found guilty Monday, April 22, of willful cruelty against a severely autistic patient in his care. A disgrace to all the caring, loving nurses out there. Just horrific. Hope this sends a message that if you abuse an autistic person you will be punished. What kind of nurse does this to his patient?????? Especially a severely autistic young man that can’t talk and defend himself.

    • Gina B says

      Jay, thanks for sharing this. I don’t understand the mistreatment of people with disabilities or autism by people without, I really don’t, but I do know it’s out there. A person with autism, or Down syndrome, or medical/physical/intellectual disabilities deserves to be treated with the full rights and respect of any other person. How sad and disgusting.