By Kodey Toney
Peaceful and Serene
Well, it's that time of year again. April, as many of you know, is autism awareness month, and April 2 was National Autism Awareness Day. The old saying I share every year of course is that everyday is autism awareness day in our house.
With that I would like to share something with everyone. If you have ever heard me speak in public then you have most likely heard this, but I feel it is worth repeating and will continue to say it until becomes true.
It's nothing that I really came up with on my own. I always tell people I just regurgitate the things that I've learned from my mentors, but I feel it's important and my philosophy if you will.
The Center for Disease Control says that 1 in 68 children in America are diagnosed with autism. That's up from 1 in 88 a couple years ago, 1 in 110 when Konner was diagnosed in 2007, and 1 in 1000 in 1980. That is a 72% increase since 2007, and more than 200% since 1980. More than 1.5 million Americans are affected. According to Autism Speaks, that is more than are affected by diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or Down syndrome – combined. These numbers are staggering, but it means that we are very aware of autism. I would bet that everyone reading this knows someone with autism.
It's no longer about awareness; IT'S ABOUT ACCEPTANCE! We have to accept children, adults, and everyone with autism for who they are. We have to love them for their quirks. That's what makes them who they are. We have to help them be who they are, and stop trying to change them into who they are not.
This sounds very much like one of my favorite prayers, the Prayer of Serenity: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
The good news is that the numbers have not changed. CDC recently released a study that said things are still at 1 in 68.
The Pervasive Parenting Center is holding an Autism Walk on Saturday April 16 at Jay Reynolds Park in Sallisaw from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. We will have free food provided by Armstrong Bank, inflatable toys and games for the kids provided by Sequoyah County Times, Oklahoma Family Network, and Discovery Therapy.
We want to invite everyone to come out, take a lap or two around the park, celebrate those with autism, have a good time and visit with us.