Last month, my daughter and I signed up with her preschool to walk for Autism Speaks, held at the Clinton Presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas. I know there are some negative comments out there about Autism Speaks, but honestly, I haven’t seen any other Autism organization doing anything like this event. There were quite a few well known Arkansans speaking at the event, such as the governor’s wife and a well known news anchor, Craig O’Neill. There were also a few brilliant children with autism that got up and made and spoke about living with autism, followed by a little girl who sung the national anthem before we headed to the starting line.
They had many games and booths set up sharing information about autism and all the places a child with special needs would be welcomed, such as summer camp, pediatric preschools, dentist, doctors, etc. There was a huge tent with many different healthy snacks to choose from. Even our very own Coleman Diary set up a tent and passed out milk and juice.
As my daughter and I headed towards the starting line, I could see from the crowd of people around us, this was a huge turn out. Many people wore matching shirts, showing their team spirit for a loved one with autism. I was truly excited to be a part of this. Not only was I here, helping raise awareness for my daughter’s autism, but I can see from the large number of people around me that I am not alone.
There are thousands of us out there, trying to speak up for our children, that autism is real and just because our children have it, does not mean that they are any different from those of us that don’t have it, it just means they are unique, but oh so very smart, clever, and very brilliant!