When my son, Simon, was two-and-a-half years old, he was diagnosed with autism.
He's now 14.
He's high functioning and sensory seeking. Meaning we got lucky.
There are many others who were not as lucky.
April is National Autism Awareness Month, and every April my family and I Light It Up Blue.
What does that mean?
From Autims Speaks:
Light It Up Blue is a unique global initiative by Autism Speaks to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. Iconic landmarks around the world will Light It Up Blue to show their support on April 2, 2012 - World Autism Awareness Day.We do it all month long.
We got our blue light bulbs and Karen, my wife, has been passing them out to neighbors and friends.
I try to do my bit here on the site by changing the background to blue.
I've also posted, as you'll see above, one of the old strips from Our Adventure Continues, the comic strip that I used to write with my good artist friend, Harold C. Jennett III (and by "good" I mean both good artist, and good friend).
It's always been one of my favorite strips because it is, of course, so personal, and Harold captured the two of us perfectly.
That strip was put up in April of 2013. Back then, just four years ago, 1 in every 88 children were diagnosed with autism.
But as of 2016, per The Autism Society:
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys.So what can you do?
Well, you can Light It Up Blue for starters.
If you'd like to donate to the cause, I'll point you to the ABC of NC Child Development Center.
This is in North Carolina. I'm not in North Carolina, but I actually know some people involved with the ABC of NC and I like the idea of money going to a place that I am just a little bit connected to.
But hey, there are all sorts of local services out there near you. Find one and donate if you'd rather give closer to home.
Otherwise, I invite you to donate to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network at autisticadvocacy.org