The Flow of Awareness
It starts with a drop, which turns into a trickle, which becomes a stream, and then a flood of awareness.
My own journey to awareness started like that. With a drop of realizing that Pudding communicating differently to her friend, to a flood of life-changing diagnosis. But that was just my awareness. That was never going to be enough. I’m just a drop. I talked here about how I’d tentatively, nervously updated my Facebook status. A trickle of people knew about Pudding’s autism. Then I began a blog, and it turned into a stream. I talked to everyone I know, and everyone who reads here about autism. But it doesn’t go far enough.
This is the month for awareness. Everybody is sick of April already. You all know autism. Some of you know Pudding. You wouldn’t be reading this without awareness. Bloggers are sick of raising awareness. They write about it ad nauseum. They live autism. They’ve raised awareness in everyone they know. The stream stops there. It stops flowing, it becomes stagnant.
When everyone we know has awareness, we need to keep flowing out to everyone we don’t know. Because once upon a time, we were just a drop, and we were sustained by that same current. It is hard to imagine there was a time when we weren’t aware, but for me this wasn’t even a long time ago. This was why it was so important for our voices to be heard by Parents magazine. Today, my post was published on their site. All month long we are taking our stories to a new audience, displaying both the diversity of the autism spectrum, and the experiences of the families living with autism. Spreading awareness, reaching out. We still need to go further.
We need a flood.
That is where you come in, dear reader.
If you are a blogger, get out of your stream. Write a post aimed at readers not personally touched by autism, and share it. Parents Magazine is still accepting submissions. I know many of you have reservations about that, so find another outlet. Write a letter to a local newspaper, or post on a non-autism site. Link up a photo that encapsulates your life with autism, and link up for a Wordless Wednesday. Here is the tough part. Tell everyone you know to share it.
If you are not a blogger, or a writer, or even not personally touched by autism: share it. Take one of the Voices of Autism posts, or any other blog post about autism that you like and “like it”, tweet it, email it. Tell your friends and colleagues to read it, for Autism Awareness Month. You’ll become a trickle of your own.
How do I know? This isn’t my idea. My friend S. who I knew from Luxembourg asked if she could email one of my posts to her colleagues. I’d just been waiting here for people to come to me to read my story, content enough with floating where I am. She inspired me to keep up the flow by beginning her own trickle. For the rest of this month, I’m going to get out of my comfort zone. I’m going to ask everyone I know to do this for me. I personally find that more difficult than standing in front of The White House wearing blue.
To keep the flow of awareness going this month, we need a flood. It starts with you.