So, two months ago, I wrote about the issue of labeling – not in the sense of applying a label to my son, but in the sense of having around things that publicize having the status or knowing someone who has the status. (See the post “Labelling” – yes, I know I spelled it wrong at the time, so it’s staying that way – or “Visibility” for more details.)
Obviously, I’m not ashamed to have a son who’s autistic. I clearly am not shy it, between the blog and anyone who’s run across me in public.
The wife had one of those puzzle-piece ribbon magnets for the back of her car, which has yet to go on it because she’s still debating whether or not to put it there. My car doesn’t have anything on it for lack of my having gotten off my duff to find something I find attractive enough to put there. (I don’t like the whole ribbon motif, since I think it’s been done to death.)
When she went to the first support group specifically for parents/caregivers/teachers of autistic children over at the hospital, she saw that the local Autism Society is selling the bright-blue t-shirts with ‘got autism’ on the front of them. At the time, she didn’t look at it closely enough to know there was information on how to contact the local chapter on the back, but it provoked the conversation on whether we’d wear them in public. Our consensus then was that we wouldn’t, if only because the phrasing seemed odd. I don’t honestly know that I’d wear one now, though, either… it just seems odd.
Talking about it off and on, and going to events in the local community, just really keeps the thought alive in the back of my head that it’s something that we shouldn’t be afraid to publicize. People can’t educate themselves about something they don’t know about, and it’s far too easy to chalk up a child’s behavior in public to his/her being ‘odd’ rather than a real problem. Wearing something that makes others think about autism, as I mentioned in Labelling, at least starts the education process.
So, why this topic today?
A few weeks ago, Sevenly (http://www.sevenly.org) ran their weekly promotion for Autism Speaks. I’d kind of sat on the sidelines during a prior drive-week for the National Autism Association because I just sat on the fence too long – and I felt genuinely bad about it afterwards. This time, while I delayed, I did end up getting myself a hoody sweatshirt so I have something that’s both functional – I can wear it when I go curling – and attracts attention to the issue.
So it arrived today.
If you’ve never bought anything from Sevenly, do it when they choose a cause you support. It’s entirely worth it. The sweatshirt is perfectly wonderful, and the packaging that it came in was very eye catching, to the point that the woman at our reception/security counter asked me what cause it was for off the get-go. I’ll be posting here in the future when they are supporting autism-related causes.