Pinning Our Hope On The Stars
Many of you have emailed me that you noticed some of the stars at the Golden Globes wearing the blue puzzle piece pin from Autism Speaks. Yes, we are the red ribbon cause of a new millenium. It's great to see autism awareness blossom. And didn't that blue compliment Alec Baldwin's blue eyes well?
With 1 in 166 kids diagnosed today you'll be seeing plenty of autistic kids around you. And these kids will be adults in 10, 15, 20 years. Think about 1 in 166 adults who might not be able to join the workforce and who will rely on social security and what that could mean for your taxes, your own retirement, the work force you need to hire, your employees who will be struggling to care for aging parents and autistic adult children. Can you hear the alarm bells clanging away?
I've had relatives and friends ask how they can help. Where can they donate? What can they do? Well, if you can't move into my house and watch the kids while I call in the IOU Mark gave me for my 40th - a trip to Paris, you can still help. Offer to sit for an hour so Mom can get her hair done. Pop a Starbucks gift certificate into your neighbor with the autistic boy's mailbox. We need the coffee. Donate to an autism organization.
Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org) is doing a phenomenal job of raising awareness. And they have a huge staff of talented people working with them. You can't beat having the head of NBC at the top of your charity for publicity. OK, maybe Oprah could top Bob Wright for generating good press, but not until Autism takes over Africa.... (Oops, sorry, got a little Snarky there.)
The National Autism Association (www.nationalautismassociation.org) NAA is working toward immediate treatments for our kids and providing cash dollars to families in need. Their helping hand grant assists single parents raising an autistic child. Word is, we have a scary high divorce rate in the autism world. The stress can lead to drinking, marital wandering and even excessive blogging. NAA is run by a small group of parents like me. Wild eyed, sleep deprived type "A's" who are determined to find answers. Another wonderful group is in Massachusetts called Active Healing. They work with kids on the spectrum and kids with learning differences. You can find them (and the very handsome Sarge Goodchild) at www.activehealing.org. Sarge was the first professional to give me hope for my kids.
One day I hope to be able to take that trip to Paris because my kids are so far along that I can leave them with a sitter or family member for an entire week.