Next week, January 12th, my local Center for Autism and Related Disabilities is heading to the capitol to hand deliver letters reminding them who they are funding. They sent me an email asking for a letter and possibly a photo if I couldn’t come with them in person. CARD’s funding is cut year after year while ASD diagnoses rise exponentially. This isn’t just in our state of Florida but in all states. Consider writing your own letters to government or contacting your local government funded office to see what you can do to help.
Here is a copy of my letter, copy it if you’d like (change what’s not applicable) and email it in. I can’t really make it any simpler and you never know the impact you might have.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am the mother of five children. I take college classes at home on my way to becoming a teacher and educate my children at home. My husband works full time and is a Captain in the Florida National Guard. We’re regular people. Well, we thought so anyway.
On November 15th our youngest child was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. While the news wasn’t a complete shock, the impact was still jarring. I didn’t know anyone with an ASD child. I didn’t know what this all really, truly meant for me and my son and our other kids. I didn’t know how to find the resources I needed to help my son. Time was ticking away for my child and I had no idea how to find the clock. I was scared, hurt, no…wounded. Hearing the word “autistic” felt like my world had crashed down around me.
CARD was there to help me pick it all back up. The 15th was a Tuesday and that Friday CARD had their monthly parent orientation. I was ten minutes early. I had spoken to relatives after the diagnosis and the conversations left me hollow and aching. I felt disconnected and disjointed. I felt alone. As I picked up the literature, was greeted with friendly faces of the CARD staff, I started to feel whole again. Listening to Margie Garlin explain how CARD worked and allowed me a glimpse into her life as an ASD parent, things started looking brighter.
Everyone in the CARD office was friendly, warm and helpful. The things I shared about my child and my fears, were met with kindness and understanding; something I hadn’t been able to find elsewhere. They offered me resources to help my other children and at a time in my life where we are struggling financially, the opportunities offered by CARD were life-saving.
I don’t feel that there is any other places in the country that offers what CARD offers. From the people they employ to the services they freely give, there is no comparison. To look at my son you would think he were no different from any other nuero-typical child, yet he is very different and there are too few resources available to allow him to become a meaningful adult that contributes to the world. With one in seventy boys becoming diagnosed every single day do not take away this service from them. This is an epidemic. Soon, we will have a generation with an enormous population disabled and unable to function in society. The small burden you may feel CARD has on funding right now will be miniscule to the explosive number of individuals that never received access to the services they so desperately needed.
Thank you for your time and consideration.