April is Autism Awareness Month. Some readers (if there actually are any) may know that I am the father of a 14 year old autistic boy. News items will run this month that imply that receiving the diagnosis of autism is a lifetime sentence to a hellish existence for the parents. Well in my case, its not so. Kevin is a great kid. In fact he is the happiest kid I know. He's rarely bored and approaches every challenge with an enthusiasm and determination that I can only envy. There have been rough stretches and the future is uncertain but parenting Kevin has been a very positive experience.
The real reason that I'm posting about this is that I want to thank all of those teachers (Miss Hoover, Ms. Engelhart, Mr. John), camp counselors(Ms. Kelstrom, Mr. Taylor), daycare providers (Miss Kelly), and aides who have worked with Kevin over the years. They are all great. Prince Georges County, Maryland has a bad reputation around Washington, DC but it has been GREAT for us over the years. They are providing after care programs, day camp programs, and social activities for special needs kids. Its wonderful.
Please realize that autism is increasing at an alarming rate. More and more kids will need support and services. So support therapeutic recreation and special needs day camp programs. If your kids are interested in volunteering for such a program or in becoming a special ed teacher, please encourage them. I don't voice my appreciation enough, but please be aware that there are many of us parents out there who truly value the work that these people do.