Sunday, April 19, 2009
Walk for Autism 2009, Ft. Lauderdale
I drove down to Ft. Lauderdale straight from school on Friday afternoon, and made it into town at about 8:00 in the evening. Making terrific time. Not everyone was as fortunate because I noticed that there was an overturned truck going north on the Ronald Reagan Turnpike some 60 miles north of Miami which had all the lanes blocked and traffic backed up for miles. I felt so fortunate, but so sad for those on the other side of the street, not to mention those involved in the accident.
Why did I go? Well, I was invited. Invited to participate in an event, held at Nova Southeastern University campus in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, that touches close to home. You see my niece's son, has autism. He has shown remarkable improvement due to the fact that he was diagnosed early. He is a sweet intelligent little boy who is a delight to be around. At only five years of age he already reads and writes, and now is doing much better than other so called "normal" children his age.
But he is also fragile. Loud noises which we would take for granted bother him. He doesn't do so well in big crowds and too much stimulation overwhelms him. Behavior modification and constant good choices, are part of everyday life. So to know him is to love him. And I am so glad he is part of my family.
He has some of a broad spectrum of symptoms that can describe an autistic child. The condition can be mild to more severe. And if you had the chance to interact with these children and their families you would understand that they need more support. The weight on parents to find the services and meet the needs their children require is monumental and it really bothers me that more is not being done to help them.
In fact the purpose of this Walk for Autism 2009event was not only for those affected by Autism to have a united voice but also to draw attention to this condition and its causes. In addition it also served to educate those who are not directly affected and make all of us aware of the need for funds for research. Do you realize that of the prevalent childhood diseases, Autism is only given 5% of the funds to help them fund research? That is an outright shame.
Look at the pictures of the families. Look at the children. They are the picture of tomorrow. Each of them has a story and a future to be written. Then there are so many yet to come, that can be spared this hardship. There are so many reasons to support this organization. I hope you will.