Blue Solo Cup
Continuing with Autism Awareness Month: "Light It Up Blue is observed April 1 and 2 each year in North America. It is dedicated to raising awareness of autism
. Autism Speaks
, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, announced the launch of the inaugural Light It Up Blue campaign in 2010. This initiative is intended to raise awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis in support of World Autism Awareness Day
and Autism Awareness Month." (Wikipedia)
Toby Keith sings about his Red Solo Cup, and most of his lyrics don't exactly fit in with the autism spectrum. There is one verse of this popular song that does, if I tweak it just a bit.
This is all in fun, of course, and autism, as we all know, is not fun, funny or amusing to professionals or families. When I was a young mother and in the midst of raising our son with autism, I was lucky because I had the wisdom of a very wonderful friend about three times my age. Grandma Marty, as we called her, was always there for me. I'd talk. I'd cry. I'd explain what had happened or what our family had to do next. Grandma Marty listened. She caught my tears on her heart. She told me to find the good in every day. She advised me to "swing on a gate," which meant to just ignore some things, relax, find humor, wait, and enjoy life. She told me that when I got off that swinging gate I would be energized and ready to once again learn and do what needed to be done. I would be ready to make the right choices for our son and for our family. Grandma Marty was right.
Autism was new in the world of diagnosis and rarely discussed or studied in the educational realm some 40 years ago. (Dr. Leo Kanner identified autism in 1943, and Dr. Hans Asperger characterized Asperger's syndrome in 1944.) I was lucky because I had the wisdom of many wonderful professors for myself and eager educators for our son. They all told me to find the good in every day. (The only programs for autism at that time were electric shock, cattle prods, and "The Cold Mother Theory." I burned those books.) We put ourselves around these good people. They were our advisors, mentors, teachers and friends.
My hope for you, as SLPs, is that you pass on Good and Hope to your clients and families as they deal with autism in their daily lives. Few people can accomplish that. I was very, very, very lucky to have these special people in our family's life when we so desperately needed them. I made a promise that I would always share what I know. You can be one of the few your families will etch in their memories of special people.
So now I have a Blue Solo Cup. I lift it high for Light It Up Blue Day and the month of April for autism awareness. Our family has been aware of autism for 40 years, and that's OK because we continue to find the good in every day. After all, there always is.
P.S. The name of my private practice in Las Vegas is Good Speech, Inc. That name comes with a reason.
In next week's Autism Spectrum Blog for the last week of April, Autism Awareness Month, I plan to share a special poem I wrote about my son, "I Believe in Blue." I hope you come back because it's special and I'd hate to have you miss it.
"Speech pathologists make good things happen."