Thursday, May 15, 2014

Becoming aware is freeing...

While driving home from work last night I heard something on the local news that caught my attention. A recent study of autistic adults revealed that they were much more likely to suffer from depression, high blood pressure and obesity, and were found less likely to be smokers or alcohol partakers. It struck me that other than the depression I had all of the aforementioned signs of adult autism (now if you’ve ever met me you know I’m not even mildly autistic), but hearing this report also brought to mind everyone with autism I’ve come in contact with over the past 10 years. Sadly prior to that I‘d never heard of the condition.

The first time I encountered autism was when I ran into an old classmate, she had her son with her; he was 6 years old and in a stroller. I didn’t know what his issues were, but at a glance I could see that whatever it was, it was severe. Now I’m not a clod, I didn’t stare or ask questions, but my friend was perceptively uncomfortable and that made me uncomfortable for her. We only spoke for a minute and then she was gone. In later years when I ran into this woman again, she was totally different and I was freed from the memory of that day when I wasn’t introduced to her son and he was ignored. He still has severe autism, but he is the most adorable young man, and although he interacts differently he is a human being with feelings, a sense of humor and a wonderful personality.

I am thankful for the Autism Awareness movement; it has proven to have helped educate everyone (including me!) about this condition. There's no need foe embarrassment or being uncomfortable; all of our handicapped loved ones are to be embraced, not shunned and ignored; parents and caregivers are true heroes and I want to applaud them for their love and faithfulness.

If you know of anyone who cares for a child or adult with a physical or mental disability, please give them your support. Being a care giver is constant and seemingly never ending, even an hour of your time can make the world of difference.


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