I was going through a pile of papers on the kitchen island the other day when I unearthed an invitation to a fundraising event sponsored by a local autism organization. It's a very well-done invitation (I appreciate such things), our names are spelled correctly, and it's obviously a cause that our family connects with. The theme, however, is ... well, kind of surprising.
It's a pirate-themed event ("Swashbuckling Attire Optional!") called "The Hidden Treasures of Autism."
The Dean is outraged by this - and this may not seem politically-correct to some, but in some ways, I happen to agree.
It's been almost
I get what this organization is trying to convey with this event - and they're absolutely right in using this as an opportunity to celebrate the positive aspects about people with autism spectrum disorders.
But I can only imagine if we'd received - or saw - something like this within those first dark days post diagnosis. Would I have looked to this organization as one that could provide me with the resources needed to get us through what I refer to as "our black hole years"? Probably not. At that time, I needed folks who could commiserate with me as I said, "Jeez, this really sucks ... six years of infertility hell and for what? To deal with autism?"
I spent a lot of time online with such folks in those black hole years. A more passionate, strong, knowledgeable, and funny-as-hell group of people you will never meet. They got it; they understood what it was like to be unable to stop your kid from literally banging his head against the wall or why family gatherings were excruciatingly painful or how much of a vigilante you needed to be against a morsel of wheat or dairy that crossed your child's lips. I needed those online friends then more than I realized I did.
And I still do.
Parents of other kids who know exactly what you're going through. Those are the real hidden treasures of autism.