Have you ever been invited to a concert, only to realize the band on stage definitely isn’t playing your style of music? In fact, the music is downright bizarre. Everyone else is into it, but you can hardly feel the rhythm, let alone understand the lyrics coming from the singers mouth.
Now imagine you can’t tell anybody how odd you think the music is. You want to scream, but you just have to stand there, silent, hoping that the misery stops before you completely lose your mind.
Now imagine that the concert never ends. You’re literally stuck walking around with this music in your ears that everyone seems to love but you.
This is autism.
Every single day, you view the world through a lens that’s very different than everyone else’s. Some days it’s extremely painful, to the point you feel like the whole world is caving in on you. But other days it’s a gift. When the rest of the world is mourning or seeing the world through a dark filter, you remind everybody how delicious Lucky Charms are, and that the sun shines every single day, because both are scientific facts.
Life With Autism
For those of you who don’t already know, my son Collin has autism. The way he sees the world is a gift for our family, but it’s also something that I know he struggles with every single day. He faces challenges that most of us don’t, but he also has a unique perspective and brilliance that most of us could only dream of.
He has photographic recall, which is incredible to witness, but also creates challenges when you have to communicate with an eight year old through movie dialogue. Which character am I this time? How does this scene work? The disconnect at a personal level can be extremely challenging and frustrating for everyone involved.
But the fact remains that we’re the fortunate ones.
- Collin can talk, which isn’t the case for many children with autism
- He’s able to communicate what he needs, even though it normally takes a little longer
- He has amazing brothers who are a huge support and help to him
- We’re insured.
- We’re fortunate that Collin’s able to attend Clear Horizon’s Academy, a private school that specializes in education for autistic children
We’re also the minority.
Autism can be incredibly challenging, and I’m not saying we’re immune, but we’re fortunate to have the resources to special therapy and education that many families don’t. Most insurance plans don’t cover autism-related therapies, so in order for these children to get the help they need, most families are paying out of pocket and going into tremendous amounts of debt. Autism costs families $60,000 per year, on average. It’s a huge problem, but people will do whatever they need to for their kids.
World Autism Awareness Day
Enter World Autism Awareness today. Today the entire world is “Lighting it up Blue” to raise awareness and money to further therapies and research for autism. A large chunk of funding goes to helping these families in need, as well as determining the cause or causes for this disorder.
Huge strides have been made in recent years, and momentum in autism research is strong, so it’s important we can keep it going.
Today, everywhere from the Pearl Tower in China, to Niagra Falls, to the Empire State Building is shining blue lights to show support and raise awareness for Autism.
Join Us In Our Efforts
Autism obviously has a deep personal impact on me, but it also has an impact on our direct communities as developers. 1 in 64 children are diagnosed with autism. The disorder is more than five times as prevalent in males, and even more common still among software developers and people with a technical background of some kind.
Chances are, you know someone in your direct circles who has been impacted by autism.
That’s why today, we’re Lighting it Up Blue and running a fundraising campaign.
We’ve replaced the email optin on our blog with this
During the month of April, WP Site Care will do a dollar for dollar match for your donation. If you have the means to help a child, or their struggling family, please do what you can. Click the donation button below and tell the world that you’re “Lighting it Up Blue for Autism” and use the official #LIUB hashtag. Make your donation below, and we’ll double it! On April 30th, we’ll tally all of the donations that we receive, and make a matching donation to Autism Speaks!
P.S. If you’re not able to contribute financially, no worries at all! Take a look at all of the other ways you can help raise awareness and Light it Up Blue for Autism.