Saturday, February 7, 2009

Be an Autism Advocate

Making calls and emails are good starts. Do a search on the web page of your closest major newspaper and see what kind of Autism stories they've done. If they haven't done anything in the last six months... call them.

How we got started: We found out all 6 were Autistic in fall of 2006. While watching "Extreme Home Makeover" in Feb 2007 they said the family had the most documented Autistic children in one family... five. Robin and I looked at each other, "Guess we have the most". I emailed the local ABC station the next morning that we have 6 ASD kids and got an email from a reporter back right away. They were doing a story that night and wanted some footage on our family. We were on the news that night.

A month or so later I called our two major newspapers. One was more excited then the other to do our story. An interview and photos later and we were on the front page of the Sunday paper. (Check it out and add a comment to their website, that can insure that it stays available) That was June 2007.

Because of that newspaper article we were contacted by Readers Digest, People Magazine and Figure 8 Films (fro Discovery Health). People came in July for the interview, the photographer came in December. (long story). The film crew first came in Dec 2007 for the next 6 months. Each visit was 2-4 days.

The People magazine article came out in Feb 2008 and the interviews with Good Morning America, Inside Edition and Larry King soon followed. We had also been contacted by the Helen DeGeneres show and Oprah. Nothing has come of those as of yet. "Home Makeover" did contact us and wanted us to apply, but you need to own your home or have property they can build on. We rent and have no land.

Between the beginning and now I've made calls (lots) and emails to many politicians and various groups and individuals (the rich and famous). You wouldn't believe how many people who SAY they support Autism have never responded. I even sent Jenny McCarthy one of our t-shirts and never heard back.

Yes, the hours are long and there are many disappointments in trying to increase Autism awareness. But, as I tell many people, Autism IS my life. I figure it's my job and "calling" in life to do all I can. I've felt dumb standing around an event where I know nobody and try to start conversations. Then try to bring the conversation around to Autism. I've actually created a Autism business card for myself and Robin.

But, to do nothing... I feel is just not acceptable. Do something, anything... it will make a difference. If every parent will be an advocate we can make a HUGE difference for our children. So make calls, write, search and read. Do what you can when you can. We are all in this together and we need each one of us.



Stephanie said...

I feel the same way! I too, have made autism "business" cards for us. I eat, breathe, sleep, and live everything Autism. My life has changed immensely since we found out our three had a form of autism, then my hubby, all in 2006.
I have learned so much! Thanks for a great blog!

Hummingbirder said...

Very true, thank you for sharing. I want to do my part somehow but feel overwhelmed in daily life (I can't imagine what you guys are going through daily). I want to help other children who are affected by autism not just my own child.

The Drysdale's said...

Your doing good work. Maybe you could just find an old trailer on some land, and then you could get an extreme makeover house that would be great for you and I would love to watch it. I watch ABC simply because they put autism in their agenda the most. Between Exteme Makeover, Grey's Anatomy, and Private Practice they themselves are helping be advocates by writing autism in their storylines not just once but several times. I think it's great.

VoicingAutism said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. You're right, to do nothing is unacceptable! I imagine most people who know me probably think I'm obsessed with autism, I talk about it so much and to everyone I meet, afterall look how its affected our lives.

I really hope you visit my blog, here's the addy again.

KimDean-Art4Autism said...

I found your blog!