Become an Autism warrior
Published 6:51 pm Sunday, April 1, 2018
Senior partner, criminal defense attorney at Swindle Law Group
For years, I viewed April as just another month with a “cause” attached to it. I did not care about autism and was ignorant regarding just about every aspect of it.
I also never understood what it meant to be a true warrior. I believed that warriors must have done at least one of four things: succeeded in the business world, fought on a battlefield, been a superb athlete or succeeded in the world of politics.
While attaining these goals is certainly admirable, I have learned that these achievements alone do not make a warrior.
The beginning of the removal of my ignorance began in the winter of 2005 when my first-born son entered this world. With him, unconditional love and a touch of courage came into my life. For the first time, I knew what caring about someone else more than myself was like.
Little did I know, he would eventually teach me much more.
When my son was four years old, he did not speak. My family urged me to get him tested. Yet, I would not consent nor discuss it. For me, the fear of an autism diagnosis was paralyzing.
Finally, after the pressure became unbearable, we had him tested. He was born with autism.
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders that can be analyzed on what is called the “autism spectrum.” These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. It is estimated that one in 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum.
It would take me another year to accept this diagnosis. But, by 2010, I slowly began to change my view of the warrior. I was also becoming an autism warrior.
An autism warrior is a person who battles against the misinformation and stereotypes regarding autism. They stand up for those who cannot yet stand for themselves. The warrior confronts the challenge that autism brings to our community and state.
The WGAF humbly asks that you focus on awareness this month. First, please visit our website, www.wgaautism.org, so that you can learn more about autism and the Foundation. Other important actions you can take include, wearing pins on your jackets and other merchandise from the WGAF, joining our team by subscribing to the newsletter on the website and joining a committee, using our logo to replace your Facebook profile and sharing information about the WGAF on social media.
Today, we have a legion of autism warriors. Tomorrow, west Georgia will have a standing army.