T-shirt created by Sarah Catherine Designs
One in 88 kids has autism, says the latest CDC report. And when you drill down to boys, it’s an even more alarming 1 in 54. That’s roughly double the rate measured in 1992 when the CDC first tracked the numbers, prompting some autism advocates to call it an epidemic.
As disturbing as those statistics may seem – and they are disturbing – the more important thing to me is that my son has autism. That’s as real as it needs to be. That’s why I talk (a lot) about the need to support autism research and awareness and about the need to support families dealing with autism. I’m especially passionate about the need to give hope to young families just receiving the dreaded diagnosis. It can be a helpless, lonely moment. Hope can be in short supply unless they can find the guidance and support that’s crucial for making it through the maze that is autism.
Today, though, I was able to do more than talk. I got to walk the walk.
Robin and Evan walking and smiling
My wife is my hero. I always knew she would be a good mom but I had no idea just how great she’d be until I watched her for twenty years.
During our engagement she made it clear she would not work outside the home if we ever were blessed with children. I really didn’t think that was realistic in an era where it seemed pretty necessary to have two incomes just to pay the bills. How would we afford the added costs of parenthood on my modest salary alone? I knew she’d see the error of her thinking in good time.
A few years later when we were expecting our first child she reiterated.
“Now, remember what I said – I won’t be working when it gets close to time for the baby to come.”
“But you’re earning more than I am right now. There’s no way we can afford having our income drop by more than half now!”
I’m serious. We’ll just have to find a way.”
Adamant, she was. Quit her job, she did. Continue reading
If you want to know what’s so great about the Arc of Greensboro’s Challenger Sports League, ask Evan.
But don’t expect him to tell you it’s because he gets to participate in the same activities that his typically developing counterparts do, even though it’s true. He probably won’t tell you that everybody gets to play regardless of skill level, but that’s true too.
He’s probably not going to say anything about the cool surface on the baseball field that’s wheelchair friendly, or how the basketball goals are lowered so everybody has a chance at sinking a shot, or how the bumpers keep his bowling ball on course toward the pins.
He won’t think to mention the annual awards banquet where every player gets a medal and a high-five from the coaches.
He may forget that the Greensboro Grasshoppers minor league baseball team hosts an annual spring clinic for Challenger athletes.
He won’t talk about how special athletes enjoy the benefits of physical activity, friendly competition, and socializing with their peers. Or how Challenger is an extraordinary collaboration of parents and community organizations. (He probably doesn’t even know what “extraordinary” means.)
No, Evan’s probably just going to tell you he likes Challenger sports because it’s a whole lot of fun. And that’s true too!