Last Friday, the husband and I were invited to attend an Autism fundraising event held by a local couple. Their son was also diagnosed at the age of two and the devastation that it brought mirrored our own pain and frustration.
But this family chose to turn grief into hope. They began a foundation, in their son's name, in order to support their local public school special needs teachers as the epidemic grew and the state budget shrank.
We, meaning the Autism Community, are, for the most part, not a united front. I'm probably not supposed to say that, but it's true. We are divided by theories and diets, medical "miracles" and conservative approaches. We argue online, in the media, in tidy living rooms; we gather our latest research and statistics, and have little patience for naysayers because lives are at stake. But in the end, we are just parents with a common denominator, holding on to any thread of hope that our children, stricken with something that we struggle to understand, will someday live a life that makes more sense and causes less pain.
Our own family has taken a more conservative approach with our son. We believe firmly in the progress he makes through a rigid schedule, filled with behavioral interventions, speech, occupational, and physical therapy, and a classroom environment that makes sense for a little boy who is unable to voice his demands the way most children can. His epilepsy makes him especially vulnerable to the medical interventions that work for some families. We cannot afford to take risks and so we stick with what we know. But we respect the passion that other parents posses in treating their children.
We are the guinea pig generation.
Struggling to find answers through trial and error.
But back to my original point
The family that started this foundation to serve their local community, was inspiring, to say the least. I sat there that night, watching the table they reserved for their son's teachers, therapists; miracle workers really, and my mind began to race. What a beautiful tribute to their little boy; turning anger into action. Bringing much needed supplies to classrooms that need it the most. Building a bridge between educators, parents, and children, instead of burning it, like some of us regularly do.
And so naturally, the next step was to copy them.
So here we are. In the planning stages of our very own Non-profit organization, in honor of our son, to better our special needs community in an area we can all agree on: better resources for our Autism Educators.
That's where YOU come in.
We're not asking for money (yet)
Just some help in picking out a great name.
Below are some of the ones we've come up with so far.
Andrew's Foundation for Autism Education
The Andrew Autism Foundation
The Foundation for Autism Education in Honor of Andrew Because He is The Best
The People's Republic of Andrew
Autism Sucks and We Need Money to Stop It So Pay Up
Let us know what you think.
After all, it has to fit on the "Pay to the Order Of" line of your check.