Time to Say It

Time to Say It

This week I’m honoring Madison, my twenty-four-year-old daughter with autism. My inspiration comes from a challenge by Pathfinders for Autism, the non-profit I was privileged to help found sixteen years ago.

In the spring of 1997, a few months after my paralysis, I joined a small group of parents of children with autism who were frustrated with the lack of guidance we were receiving from the medical and educational professionals. In those pre-internet days, we often relied on information shared between parents in the waiting rooms, carpool lines, or in my case from a small yellow flyer in my then five-year-old Madison’s school backpack—that changed her life.

Stunned by the value of these “happenstance” discoveries, our parent group launched Pathfinders for Autism in February 2000. Our mission was simple: to share with others what we had learned to improve the lives of individuals with autism and the people who care for them. Celebrating “Fifteen Years of Awesome,” our staff of eight—including an individual on the autism spectrum— served over 18,000 individuals in 2015.

As you may know, April is Autism Awareness Month. This year Pathfinders’ month-long campaign centers on #SayItIn68, a challenge that highlights the fact that 1 in 68 children in the U.S. have been identified with autism spectrum disorder, while asking folks for a “68” focused submission that shares how Autism Awareness makes a difference or what it means to them.

So in the spirit of my new mantra, elevate, I’ve answered the challenge with this submission:

Say It

After my paralysis, I could not be left alone with Madison so I hired caregivers to be with her twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Although this year has had more rough patches than bright spots for my Madison, I’m grateful for Pathfinders’ prompt that sent me on a search through photos and calendars where I found the names of 68 caregivers who have helped me with Madison. To these amazing individuals, and all the others who continue to help me with her care, I say, “Thank you!” I could not have managed without you.

Every year, Autism Awareness Month reminds me to take stock and be grateful. How about you? What does it mean to you? I’d love to know. Submit officially here to Pathfinders or just reply to me. And, I’ll be posting this picture on Facebook if you want to join in the conversation there or tag yourself.

My best—always,

Becky  (Nana B)

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P.S. For my Thoughtful Thursdays subscribers, thanks for your responses to last week’s question. Keep them coming!

What mantras do you rely on when you find yourself in a valley? Stay Motivated, Listen, Justice, Grace, Passion, Goals, Abide, Live Abundantly, Serendipity, Focus.