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Thursday, April 4, 2013

reflections on Autism "awareness" Day

Each year for Autism awareness I try to do something "extra". Every year we participate in our local Autism walk, last year I did an interview with a local education television station where I was the "parent expert" and defended Bio-medical treatment. You get the idea, each year for Autism awareness day I try to go above and beyond living Autism and try to do a little more than I would normally do to survive.

And yesterday was Autism Awareness/Acceptance/Action day 2013.  This April has been a bit different. We are out of the private school that sponsors the local walk. I've been focusing on my own school work, learning Jonathan's ABA and the wedding is right around the corner. Autism whatever you want to call it day had crept on me. I had no plans to "do my share". So essentially I had a normal day.

I was out and about on my "normal day" taking care of wedding related tripe and I made some observations I'd like to share.

One of my errands was running to Publix, a Florida based grocery chain that carries more Organic goods and things we chose to put our purchasing dollars towards. As I was standing in line I looked over a women in the checkout line over from me.  As a former cashier I can tell you nothing will tell you more about a person than their grocery purchases. Being the nosy person that I am I looked over
the contents of her cart and spotted organic dairy milk and organic apple juice amongst other the items. She was white and wearing causal upscale yoga style clothes that looked like she might have put them backwards for effect. Still I thought smart momma, no arsenic in the apple juice, no RBGH in the milk, score! There was a white guy in front me wearing Goth clothes and unloading baby food while explaining to the woman paying for the items how much the baby ate at each meal. There was a woman of Mexican descent a few aisles over with three or four kids. The youngest was occasionally shrieking enough to startle me, the unshakable Autism mom. In short it was a bustling afternoon in a busy supermarket with shoppers not ten feet from me from all races and socioeconomic statuses.

Autism style
I suddenly thought how nice that these people get a normal life on what should be a somber day. It felt like shopping for groceries after your spouse has died, you look around and wonder how the world still continues to turn after your personal tragedy. You know, I've heard it said that parents of ASD kids experience stress levels similar to soldiers in battle. I think that in that moment I was
experiencing a bit of PTSD flash. I was disgusted by what I saw, which was nothing about Autism. No one in that supermarket was "aware" of Autism, let alone acting on this epidemic.

I'm the first person to say how much I love Publix's, like I said they carry a lot of things we need for the kids diets. I'm not blaming Publix's per see BUUUUTTTT I was in the progressive grocery chain, right? Publix's, the one that hires people with disabilities deliberately, carries quality good other chains don't and just seems to be a more people oriented company. If they aren't celebrating Autism whatever day, then who is?

Hold still while I ram this breast cancer awareness up your nose!
When I think back over my travels yesterday after visiting Goodwill, Winn-Dixie, Publix's, and Petland I can't remember a SINGLE mention, piece of merchandise, or other blip on my ASD radar. This has been a source of frustration for me for awhile. In October (the month of my Autistic son's birth) I'm bombarded by pink. Pink Kitchen aid mixers, pink coffee cups, hell I'm sure they have pink breast cancer dildo's out there.

But yet the most prevalent childhood disorder, now affecting one in fifty children, doesn't warrant a SINGLE piece of merchandise! really, REALLY!?!

I've asked this before and I guess I'll have to ask it again, when will people wake up? If one in fifty doesn't rock your society what number will. Does it have to be one in ten, one in five...............when?


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