Dealing with Autism is a very personal experience. Today, I invited my friend and fellow blogger, Dawn Campbell, from The Ryan Express to share her thoughts on World Autism Awareness Day.
In 2007, the United Nations declared April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day. People around the globe celebrate this day with hosting fundraising events, lighting their homes using blue lights, and wearing blue clothing, to name a few. Approximately 7000 landmarks and buildings will shine blue lights onto their facades. I wonder how many people will see the top of the Empire State Building shining blue tonight and know what it is for or possibly just assume it is in honor of our New York baseball teams for the start of a new season.
My own immediate and extended family wore blue and our blue light bulbs are in ready to be flicked on. I asked my students to wear blue today and about 70 of them did. We didn't do any fundraising (we save that for May near my son's birthday), but we certainly covered the awareness part.
And how about the celebration? April 2nd is also supposed to be a day to celebrate Autism and the uniqueness it brings to individuals and their families. We are blessed to have a family that supports us and "celebrates" my son everyday. Through our ups and downs there is ALWAYS someone there. For the families without the support that we are so lucky to have, the awareness and celebrations are so important to show them that someone cares so that they don't lose hope. Losing hope is easy to do when you are frustrated and losing control. Well, someone is listening. Someone is doing something. People do care and want to help.
When my son, Ryan, was diagnosed with Autism three years ago, my brother asked me, "Autism, what is that?" My family was unfamiliar with the diagnosis and we had a lot to learn. This morning my brother sent me pictures of Radio City Music Hall. He was given permission to light the inside blue and the entire theater shone blue all day. RCMH has participated in World Autism Awareness Day in the past by shining blue lights outside, but this is the first year for their famous indoor ceiling to be lit blue. What a great thing to do in honor of not just my Ryan, but for all of those with Autism, whom we celebrate today and everyday!
Dawn Campbell is a mom of three and a middle school math teacher. Dawn and her husband, Phil, share their experiences raising a son with Autism at www.theryanexpress512.blogspot.com.