Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hope Seen

So sometime, somewhere in the past I was at a store and as I was walking out I heard an employee talking to a customer. I don't know how it came up as I missed that part but the employee was talking to the customer about autism. Actually, it was rather frank as the employee said, "Oh, yeah, I have a form of autism. I actually have Asperger's." This was interesting for me because I had never heard an interaction like this from the outside so I swooped into the aisle next to this one to hear the exchange.

The customer took interest in this and mentioned that they had never heard of autism and the employee was able to explain that Asperger's was something in the middle and those with severe autism may not be verbal.

This conversation continued for a short while longer and I had the largest of smiles on my face as a person who knew nothing about autism learned something from a person who was willing to state it, explain it, and educate a complete stranger on the matter.

Autism awareness is something that we need to perfect as 99.9% of society being aware and understanding is not good enough. Will we ever get to 100%? Probably not, but is something to strive for and to increase the percentage we need as many people spreading the awareness as possible. It isn't just up to an agency, a single person, or a corporation to do this to reach 100%. It will take many of everything (agencies, people, corporations...) to reach this number and to come across a person who was willing to go out on a limb and take the risk to open up, and then to take the time explain, and then in turn to have the customer take an interest is what I define as hope for the future.

I firmly believe that understanding is the foundation for hope and it's going to take each and every person possible to reach the destination of full acceptance and awareness. I, sadly, left the store without comment to the employee but knowing myself, had I been in that role, having another random person coming up to me to thank me for that would have been awkward so I said nothing. However, seeing this play out and knowing that there are many voices out there willing to speak up instills a further fire to my passion. We aren't alone in this mission and the only path from here on out is forward!

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