Saturday April 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day. As part of the Light It Up Blue campaign, prominent buildings around the world turned their lights blue for Autism Awareness. While I wasn’t able to get into downtown Toronto to see the CN Tower for myself, my good friend (and talented photographer) Christopherr Mendoza was kind enough to take a photo for me.
The CN Tower is a sight to behold on any day, but seeing it lit up blue really touched me. Autism is bigger than just my family. 1 in every 70 boys will be diagnosed with Autism, and diagnosis of Autism have increased 600% in the last 20 years. I felt a strong connection to families around the world living with Autism as I saw the Empire State Building, Sydney Opera House and Niagara Falls light it up blue for Autism Awareness.
The primary reason I write about my son who has Autism and our journey with him and this very challenging disorder is that I want to help people understand what Autism truly is. It can be hard and ugly and terrifying. But it can also bring joy, be beautiful and also wonderfully illuminating. Much of the press regarding Autism focuses on Hollywood celebrities, vaccines, and “miracle” individuals with Autism who can do incredible things because of their “disability”. But that is not Autism. Living with Autism every day is a roller coaster that can take you to lows devastatingly fast and then lift you up to highs you never knew were possible, all in a matter of minutes. Autism has taught me that it is more important to seek to understand than to be understood, that tiny wins are as important as huge triumphs, and that steps backward are not the end of the world. It has taught me to love unconditionally and to open up my mind and my thinking around how I define “success” and “happiness”.
I celebrated Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd, but I actually “celebrate” Autism every day. I hope you will take a few minutes to view these videos of my son Max, and the incredible progress he has had over the past 2 years through intensive behavior therapy. It is my belief that true awareness starts with seeking to understand, and who better to teach us, than someone living with Autism.