Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Open Letter To The World~~~ By Tracy Miranda

I'm completely honored to be able to post this for my friend Tracy!!

My Open Letter to the World
by Tracy Miranda on Saturday, April 2, 2011 
This project was started by Stuart Duncan. It's to show the world that we are a community, we will stand together and we will be heard. People all over the world are sending this open letter to media outlets, newspapers, Facebook, government and anyone else that might listen. This is how we will be heard on World Autism Awareness Day. The idea was to copy/paste this letter and then at the bottom at our own personal stories about What Autism means to's my story.
 Awareness is not enough.

We (The Autism Community) need for you to know what Autism is.
We can only achieve that through Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

Awareness of autism has risen dramatically in the past few years, and awareness is certainly a good place to start. Increased awareness has helped parents get earlier diagnoses for their children, and it has helped secure funding for research. However, it hasn’t done much to change public perception of what autism really is.

This is a call out to the world to understand the people and the disorder.
This is a call out to the world to accept the people and the disorder.

You can not understand or accept the people until you understand and accept the Autism they have.

Autism is a part of who they are.

The media has focused almost entirely on children with autism – but children grow up. In a society where one in 110 children is diagnosed with autism (the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control), no one can afford to ignore the significance of this disability. People with autism are children, teenagers, adults, men, women, scientists, programmers, engineers, unemployed, in care homes … too many of them continue to be bullied, to be judged, or to just be ignored.

Each person is unique. Each person has their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses just like you or I.

The charities, the organizations, the groups, the parents, the people with Autism themselves... we ask you... no, we need you to know what Autism really is.

Today, we ask for your Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

This is what Autism is to me...
Autism to me is more than just a word. It's more than something that other people are dealing with. Autism is my life now. It means to me that I need to educate myself so that I can educate others. It means my son will have challenges in life that I can't even begin to understand now.
Autism means to me that sometimes I am uncomfortable when I probably shouldn't be. Do I have to explain why my son is walking the perimeter of the play yard rather than playing with other children? Do I have to explain why he is more interested in a stop sign than the sandbox? Do I have to explain why on playdates he will stand in my friend's kitchen and open and shut cabinet doors for thirty minutes rather than interact or take an interest in what anyone else is doing?
The answer is no, I don't have to. Do I feel like I should, yes. Do I always, no. Just like people are judging him and possibly me, I am probably judging them in return. How will they react? Do I have the time/energy/focus to have this conversation right now? Maybe not. Do I want to change my attitude about this, yes. I have never been a judgemental person, and I don't want to start. However, I have my guard up now. I feel like I'm in mommy protection mode all the time. It's all a learning process, even for me.
My son means everything to me. He will make me be a better person and a better mother. He deserves nothing less. He has touched all who have had the pleasure of meeting him. His teachers love him because he is just a ray of sunshine all the time. He freely hands out hugs and kisses and loves to smile.
His road will be tougher, but I guarantee he will make a difference in this world. Mark my words. He will teach others compassion, sensitivity, laughter and love. He doesn't know how to be any different. I thank God for him every day.
Would I have chosen this road, no. Do I regret that we're on it? Not yet. I worry about his future; every day. But not so much that I can't enjoy now.
This is what Autism means to me. What does it mean to you?

"Tracy is the mom to a 3 year old with newly diagnosed Autism. She is happily married and enjoys meeting people, almost anything outdoors, and playing with her son. She is still learning about Autism and has found many resources and friends on Twitter and blogs. She loves to write and had her first ever blog post attempt featured on Autism Speaks only 4 days after she submitted it. She is hoping to start her own blog soon so she can continue to write and hopes to inspire others."


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