I've been on this job/mission for 18 months now and it still hasn't gotten old. Every other job I had got stagnant after three months, but there's something I experience at every presentation I give that fuels my passions and that passion is "THE THIRST."
What is this thirst? The thirst is something that, if you're reading this, you have; it is the thirst for knowledge and understanding.
The thirst is important! To have the thirst is to acknowledge that, sadly, you do not know it all. This, however, is true for everyone, but for those on the spectrum it is dangerous for us to come across someone who thinks they know it all but in fact they know nothing. Myself? Do I know it all? If I did I would have already written everything and be retired, but every day is new and is a learning experience.
The thirst is important to have because when one doesn't have it, well, after I originally got my diagnosis I had no desire to learn more about my diagnosis. I had no thirst for knowledge because I accepted the idiotic fact that I would never be able to do anything. I closed my ears and eyes to any spoken words, or books about the autism spectrum. I felt hopeless. I was in a bad place and since then I have learned that if there is no thirst there is no hope.
What I love seeing at my presentations is the tenacity of some parents. To them autism isn't a curse but it is a beautiful mystery and they want to do all they can to help unravel the mystery. How awesome is that?
With each day that passes I realize my mission is even more important. Autism understanding and awareness isn't something that has a season or comes and goes. The need is constant and ever growing. The rates are going up and new families everyday get the news that their child is on the spectrum. With that being so, the mission is one that continues on because for those new families it is critical that they don't give up; there is hope! But hope is something that can only take place if one is willing and has "THE THIRST."
I'd like to think that at least once a week I have a "home run" post that opens eyes just a little bit more and keeps "THE THIRST" alive. Typically, the word thirst is used in a negative way, such as being thirsty and dehydrated, but for those of you who read my blog everyday, and for those of you always looking for ways to better understand anyone and everyone on the spectrum, I truly want to commend you! It is you who keep my mission a realistic goal.
Without a doubt I believe that, "understanding is the foundation for hope" and it gives me so much pride to be asked questions at presentations that challenge my mind. These parents want to know more and want to do the right thing. I fear, though, that there are those out there who have given up, they see no hope. It is to this audience that I want to speak the most. I was there. I lived through it. I know the emptiness and pain of that place. But it doesn't need to stay that way.
If anything, this post is a thank you to all the people in the profession, those on the spectrum, and family members who read this blog, or any other blog for that matter, because the desire to learn more is the essence of becoming a better person and being able to better understand those on the spectrum. To drink of knowledge, to quench "THE THIRST," to face the challenge is where real hope can be achieved.