Today someone, somewhere will get the news. Maybe it will be the person, maybe it will be the parents, but today someone, somewhere will get the news that they, or that their child, is on the autism spectrum.
It's almost a certain guarantee that someone, somewhere will hear this news. The rates of autism are growing and the current numbers, here in America, are that about 1 in 100 live births will be on the autism spectrum. In Missouri it's 1 in 84. That's more children than will be diagnosed with diabetes, AIDS, and cancer combined!
When someone, somewhere gets the news, I feel it is the most important day in their life because they can go down many roads. Will they find the information that I did? When I was diagnosed I did a search on the internet, this was back in 2003, and I found a website that said, "People on the spectrum will never have a job, won't have friends, and can not be happy." This was the first thing I read so I believed it. I mean, if it's on the web it must be true, right? Today, do a search on Google, and you will get 82,100,000 possible pages. Of these, sadly, someone, somewhere may find a page like I did. They are out there, be it from doctors who don't know the human potential, to people on the spectrum stating that it is impossible.
There is better way for a family or person if they can find the right information after hearing the news. For someone, somewhere the diagnosis does not have to end their life, as they knew it, on that day. Instead of reading the misinformation that's out there, I hope they instead see the potential and hopefully find a page about Temple Grandin, and maybe see the list of people in history that were, or suspected of being on the spectrum.
The autism community is growing each day as someone, somewhere gets the news. Whether it is someone like myself, or parents, the internet is a medium to find out what that means. Because of this, I feel we must try to keep our best foot forward. Sadly, not everyone is going to find TouchPoint's parents guide to autism. Not everyone is going to keep that word of hope in their vocabulary.
Keeping hope alive is critical. I lived 14 months without it and it was very tough. I got off to a bad start reading that garbage. Still, today, I hear stories all the time of people finding those bad pages, or even videos on YouTube professing that being on the spectrum is a one-way ticket to "nevers" and "won'ts". Just on Monday, my dad told me of a person he knows whose family is going through the same thing I did.
I have many passions regarding the autism spectrum and have talked to many different types of audiences, but I feel the most vital listener is the someone, somewhere, who today gets the news . Granted, I can't speak directly to them, but by raising the awareness and understanding across the board, perhaps, the number of people who know the facts will have a louder voice than the one's who say life is impossible.
Look, I know the diagnosis is not seen as a message of good news at the time. Also, there will be challenges and some things may be more difficult. However, everyone in their life will have challenges, won't they? If the person, or parents, believe those people on those web pages that say all is lost then someone, somewhere may just believe it and then the real tragedy begins.
Because of all this, we all share in the voice of reality. No one person is going to open everyone's eyes to this. I feel I'm doing my part with my presentations and blogs, but everyone has the chance to change one person's world. If you know that someone, somewhere has gotten that news today you can be their voice that could turn them away from the misinformation that is out there.
You may think I may have dehumanized the aspect of the spectrum by just referring to the new people by saying "someone, somewhere." But I phrased it like this for a reason because I see it as some"ONE" and for that "ONE" person, today, whether they hear "your son," "your daughter," or "you, yourself, are on the autism spectrum," the stories they hear, or web pages they visit, may shape that "ONE" person's life forever.