This past week I have not felt as grateful as I normally do for personal reasons. Today I am grateful for my family and my blogging friends who reached out to offer support. I am also grateful for the blue lights that many used to show support for Autism Awareness. We turned our outside lights blue and we wore blue too. Did you? I know many of my blogging friends did because I saw their pictures on Facebook.
I am also grateful that President Obama wrote a formal proclamation making April second officially Autism Awareness Day from this day forward.
What do you think would happen if everyone who blogs about autism spectrum related issues or who reads about it sent a letter to President Obama asking him to do this for two nights? The nights are April 1, 2011 and April 2, 2011 in honor of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, 2011. I’m not sure where the idea started. I first saw it on Facebook. It might have originated at the Word Press site, Light the White House Blue for Autism. Yesterday I saw a post from Ms. Sergeant Major after AK Butler Try Defying Gravity brought it to my attention. This inspired me to write my letter which I am posting below. It is easy to contact the White House if you feel inspired to help too.
I want you to know that I do appreciate the efforts you have made to help shine the light on bullying as my child on the autism spectrum was also a victim of bullying. Therefore both of these issues are very dear to my heart.
My daughter’s autistic traits were there when she was a baby, but they went unnoticed until she entered school and even then she did not get the correct diagnosis until she was ten. Our experiences prompted me to write a short novel to educate others about girls on the spectrum in hopes of teaching tolerance of differences. I am asking you to please help me to get the word out by turning the White House blue on April 2, 2011 to shine awareness on Autism in hopes that this light will help someone else avoid our fate.
Mahalo for your help,
D. S. Walker
I posted this on Facebook:
“I know many of my FB friends aren’t fans of President Obama, and he has let me down in some areas too. However, all of you have to admit that he and his family do seem to care. I love that he and Michelle instill the value of service to others in their children.”
Many of my Facebook friends are people I grew up with in the southern part of the United States, so I knew they did not like President Obama. I expected some of the initial responses I received, but they were okay as I knew the sources and one of them was even able to joke about our differences of opinion. She’s one of my best friends from high school, so it was all in fun and she even made me laugh. I also knew the second person to shout out about my post well enough not to take it personally. The third however I don’t know although we do have mutual friends.
Therefore, I was a little surprised by the post. I’m not angry with her, on the contrary, I am grateful to her. She allowed me to open up a dialogue that has been brewing for some time. I really have a problem with the seemingly lack of attention that the bullying issue is getting in our country by the average person on the street. Members of my family who know how important this is to me still don’t know how severe the bullying in our schools is today. So when a relative stranger commented on the post about President Obama, it seemed like the perfect time to try again to get through to people.
I would be willing to bet that many of my friends and family aren’t even aware that my child has Asperger’s even though it shouldn’t be hard to figure out from my posts. I also have not tried to hide, from my friends and family, that I wrote a book to teach tolerance of differences to try to prevent bullying. Yet, only a few of them have acknowledged my plea for their help in getting the word out.
They are not alone; however, posts about anger at President Obama get more time on the live feed at Facebook than a plea for understanding and support to stop the bullying. I think we need to really take a hard look at our values as a society. Let me know what you think?