Our Encounter with Autism Speaks Protestors

Image you are walking along, surrounded by thousands of other families but really lost in the magic of your own. You are on a high. Watching your boy, relaxed among his own is just too incredible a feeling to describe. Your boy is chatting away, spitting out facts about the types of rocks that make up the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, the path we are walking on. Your smile broadens as passerby’s comment on how brilliant your boy is. They laugh, they smile, they shake their head in understanding. No judgements, no whispering behind our backs about how loud he is being. No snippet remarks when he stops in the middle of the road to pick up rocks causing masses of people to scatter away and around him.

They laugh, they smile, they shake their head in understanding.

And then it stopped. Jay spotted their signs before I did.  I immediately knew who they were. My heart reached out to this group. I understand them, really I do. You see part of me agrees with everything they stand for. I agree that Autism Speaks does not, nor should it, speak for everyone.  I get their anger over funds that are raised locally, at this very walk, will not stay local. I get their disdain for the way they feel Autism Speaks tends to play on people’s fear and emotions for fundraising. (But doesn’t every charity do that?) These autistic adults feel that Autism Speaks is representing autism as a disease instead of a disorder, that needs to be cure. They stress that they don’t have cancer or AIDS… they don’t need nor do they want to be cured. I get this, I too have talked many times about how I feel the same way. My boy does not need to be fixed.

I watched my boy walk over to these gentleman and accept their flyers. He stood there reading them. He pondered over what they said to him. Then he looked at the crowd of people walking by and then back at the small group of protesters. He handed them back the flyer and then my 10-year-old Autistic son said this…

“You’re right… I don’t need to be fixed, but I would like to find out why people get autism. I also want to make people aware of what it really is like to have it… that is why I am walking.” And with that he grabbed my hand and together we walked on.

My boy, like a butterfly, awakened that day! And I am proud to be able to say that I was there to see it happen!

12 thoughts on “Our Encounter with Autism Speaks Protestors

  1. Yay for your guy! I also agree with the view of the protesters, but what they want is for people with autism to speak for themselves. Those people with autism don’t all have to agree. And your kiddo thought for himself and spoke his mind. Awesome. Good for him. This is amazing.

    1. Thanks Stimey. I agree with you about everything. My hubby and I went back and forth about whether to join the Autism Speaks Walk or the Autism Society Walk. We chose Autism Speaks because of JAY! YES it is amazing and just another example of how our kids don’t need to be cured! They just need to be understood and allowed to express themselves in their own way!

  2. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
    Just as there are millions who have battled this disorder, with as many differences and challenges individually, there are probably as many hypotheses about the cause, and as many treatment/therapy combinations as well. It is called SPECTRUM for good reason. What will NOT help our calls for AWARENESS and RESEARCH is the in-fighting and disrespect for others who are living this journey….
    your remarkable son quietly taught a wonderful lesson that day, which those protestors would do well to learn. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Aivi they were polite and I had no problem with them being there. SOme people wh were walking were upset by them. I understand where they are coming from. I was just nervous as to how I would explain it all to Jay… but no need to do because my boy is wise beyond his years!!!

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