autism · Uncategorized

Our Autism Miracle.

I posted yesterday about my worries because of the autism association with the Newtown shooter. It was a rough day. It wasn’t just that one status update. It was several facebook pages that kept coming up. As soon as they’d crop up, someone would post them, then the rest of us would report them to get them taken down. One was called “Cure Asperger’s, Save Children From Psychokillers.” I sent him a message, and he wrote back (it’s just called “Facebook Page because the page was taken down):

It hurt. It hurts that people are SO adamant about curing autism when there is no cure, and that people don’t see how important it is for our children JUST to be accepted.

I am a part of an amazing group of writers who are connected to the autism world. Some have kids with autism. Some have autism themselves. Some have autism AND kids with autism. These people have taught me more about my son than I could have ever learned on my own.

Together we work to keep nasty facebook pages and hate speech as far from the public arena as we can.  We advocate for our kids in schools, online and in society. We write. We make calls. We visit our legislators. And some days, we just feel like we are spinning our wheels. Yesterday was one of those days. I posted what this person had said to me on my status update. I was told to ignore him. That there are trolls everywhere. This is true. I can’t fight everyone on the internet. I don’t even want to. But these are people that are LOUDLY advocating for people to HARM my child (there was a page titled “Fifty likes and we set an Aspie (high functioning autistic) on fire.”

I was reminded that these people are the minority. That might be true as far as the really hateful people, but even within the autism community there is some backlash against us saying that autism does not equal planned violence.

I get that. My son was violent. He hurt me and his siblings.  That kind of violence is COMPLETELY different from the kind of violence we saw in Newtown. Casey would lash out because he was overstimulated, frustrated, couldn’t communicate, and couldn’t calm down. He never MEANT to hurt me. He never PLANNED any of it.  It’s just not the same.

Weary from fighting a battle that I was not winning I simply said, “Then what do we do?”

The autism writers and I have talked about this a lot. We didn’t have any answers. I had shared with them the day before the “IDSC For Life” campaign. It’s a beautiful visual message about people with Down syndrome. I thought maybe we could do something like that. A few of my friends posted pictures of their autistic children with a little bio about them. They were beautiful. In my sadness, I remembered the picture of Casey I had taken that filled me with joy. I wrote a little blurb about Casey on it and posted it to my own facebook page.

 Within an hour, it was shared over 100 times. I cried as people began to post it to their own pages. Others within the group made their own, and we started passing them around like super amazing baseball cards. Then they got passed around more. Then more people made them and started posting them to my page and to the pages of my friends.

We quickly decided to start a page to collect all of the pictures. We didn’t know what to call it until Tim chimed in. He already had a page. He already had a website. He had named it “Autism Shines.” It was perfect. The page was born late last night and at this point, less than 24 hours in, it has almost 1,500 likes and well over 200 people have posted pictures of their own children. These pictures have been shared THOUSANDS of times now, and the internet is slowly being flooded with the message we’ve all been so desperate to share: Autism SHINES. That people with autism are smart, wonderful, gentle, and loving people who deserve to be loved in return.

Please visit the page. Please share the page. We want the world to see that autism does not cause the horrors of last week. It can be challenging, but it is also amazing. We are all grateful for the way autism has changed our lives.

If you want to add your picture, too, we’d LOVE to have it. Come, be a part of our autism miracle.

14 thoughts on “Our Autism Miracle.

  1. I am floored at how quickly this has taken off and spread! It just goes to show that, even when we feel all alone in our little corner of the internet, we aren't really. There are so many that share our feelings but who might not blog. This is a golden opportunity for them to have their voices heard, too.I'm in awe of the work you personally have done on this project. You've really helped propel it forward. xoxo

  2. I'd had a really terrible experience in a parking lot Friday morning (the gist of which was an elderly man saying "F*&k your autistic son") and had posted about it on my FB page. The support I got was almost overwhelming, but I still felt so crushed over how this man could be so cruel (and I know he probably would have said the same thing about my "elderly mother" or "infant daughter" or whatever, but…) and how society views those with disabilities. And then I saw Casey's photo on your page. And then another one, and another one. I was inspired to make my own and post it. My son's photo, along with the hundreds of others, keeps getting "likes" and reposts from strangers, and it makes my heart swell. Thank you for doing this.

  3. This is amazing. I became a special education teacher because I was inspired by a girl who had autism that I babysat throughout high school. She is an amazing girl and has taught me so much. I owe a lot to her because I am now doing a job that I absolutely adore. I feel so strongly about Autism and I am disgusted by the media & ignorant people. "Autism Shines" is an inspirational page and I have posted it on my Facebook page & Twitter, asking my followers to like it and spread the word. AshleyThe Resource Room Teacher

  4. That's the sweetest thing. I go to a big school. And there are 3 autistic kids to mention:Elliot- walks down the halls saying hi to everyone. Uses the best manners in the world.Ryan: You can tell he comes from a distressed household. He isn't always the most hygienic person but he is so incredibly sweet.Tony: huge crush on me… Comes down to my locker every morning to give me a hug and ask me how I'm going.Some people are evil. It just so happens that this man is autistic.The picture brought tears to my eyes as I read it.Thanks for sharing,Mainlymeghan.Blogspot.Com

  5. I linked from Pinterest (funniest IEP) then clicked link after link :-). I have an Aspie son who will turn 13 soon… And he loooooves Minecraft. He, along with his younger sister, run a private Minecraft server. No trolling, hacking or briefing allowed — and several players are on the spectrum. If you get this send me an email and we’ll send you an invite for our whitelist!

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