Autism Awareness - The Grass Just Looks Greener.

I’m an intellect.  I credit that to my over-processing brain which houses endless thoughts, opinions, ideas, and a constant desire to know more. 

That being said, I must admit that the other day when I wrote the open letter to the media, I really did hope to know more regarding how others view the issues I addressed in that post.  Most media outlets are for-profit businesses.  In other words, they have to bring in the dough in order to stay in business.  They have a job to do, which includes running a business that makes a profit.  They also have a responsibility to their audience.  I’m going to say that I believe most media outlets attempt to honor their mission and audience by reporting, informing, and remaining in-the-know about current events and social issues that may affect the particular audiences they serve. Simply, it’s a really hard job.  I knew that.  I think we all know that.  Just because I’m pushing for more, doesn’t mean I don’t understand the already impossible task at hand: make the public happy.

So I have to thank the local radio host who gave me a virtual smack upside my ignorant head!

Now don’t get it all twisted.  I’m not apologizing for the open letter.  This is not a retraction.  Those things needed to be said.  Also, I already knew most of the things the radio host brought up in our interaction regarding the open letter.  But, I AM IGNORANT! We all are when it comes to the things we know the least about, right?   Because I did not have permission to quote the host, I will paraphrase and call him, Mister.  So, Mister is a man of integrity.  He has been a huge supporter of Autism Awareness and has earned my personal respect over and over.  He is involved and cares about the entire community he serves.  He is down-to-earth, and faces the same issues, as an individual, as the rest of us face.  Professionally, he exhibits exemplary integrity and respect for others.  He brought up some very valid points.  The grass isn’t always greener.  Here are some of the issues Mister has to deal with, every day:

  • Time is limited.  The media cannot give all the groups an unlimited amount of attention and exposure.
  • More groups and causes than there is time to accommodate are competing for exposure.
  • Often, media professionals have to settle for doing the best they can.
  • It’s hard for us to understand why our own number one causes are not the media’s number one focus.
  • Autism actually gets a lot of exposure.  It gets more exposure than many other causes.
  • It’s a busy world.  The media tries to grab the attention of people who are unaware of the sad, inspiring, and need-help causes trying to get public support.  Because it’s such a busy world, the media is also competing, with our own busy and self-centered lives. (Mister didn’t say it this way – to be clear, but we are self-centered.  I don’t mean that as an offensive expression, rather, just a truth about what happens when we can barely find five minutes for ourselves, much less to devote to the rest of the world.)
  • They are not “keeping score.”  (Okay – maybe I could have worded that another way.  But – would it have grabbed anyone’s attention?)

Mister was NOT trying to smack me upside my ignorant head. He was respectful of my views and at no point was he offensive.  He was just speaking his truth.  I am thankful that he spoke up.  Communication is what I most hoped to get out of the previous post, and this one!  

So why do I keep calling myself ignorant? Because I accept the truth.  There are so many causes.  I probably know nothing about most of them, because that’s how many there are.  None of us can keep up with them all.  So we have to prioritize and that is a personal decision.  Here’s a short excerpt of the huge list of things I know less about than I could. Or should?

So, if we’re all ignorant, and Awareness isn’t what is needs to be for any cause, where does that leave us?  If the media isn’t “at fault” then what was the point of the open letter?

The letter was my way of taking personal responsibility for building awareness for a cause that I am passionate about.  If I don’t talk about it, say the things that I believe aren’t being said, and act as a voice, it would be equivalent to a lack of personal integrity.  I don’t have much, in material possessions, but I have things that are much more important than that; my family, my friends, my integrity, my pride, my honor, and MY VOICE!

Hey, Mister! Thank you.

Wait! What? I know that’s what you are all thinking.  Now, I’m thanking the media? Look folks, it’s like this.  I can sit here and talk about how my husband doesn’t wash the dishes, rarely changed a diaper, and cooks only one dish successfully.  I could complain about how my kids talk back to me sometimes, fail to do their chores, and procrastinate on doing their homework.  I can talk about all the flaws in the education system and all the times I butted heads with sister-in-laws over the years.

But I know the answer to this question:

Would life be better or worse without them?  

It would be worseThe people in my life, my country and the freedom I’m afforded, including the right to be informed, and those who inform us (the media) make my life better.  So, I can say, Thank You, and mean it.  At the same time, I can say, we still need to do better.  We still should do better.

And I made sure that starts with me!

While Autism Awareness is very important to me, I understand the plight of other causes competing for Awareness too, and the struggles and obstacles the media faces while trying to oblige us all.  It cost me nothing, (not even time, since I was going to write this anyway) to highlight just a few of the other important causes in OUR WORLD, while supporting Autism Awareness too.  I’m certain there will be some clicks on those links above.

So how can we all do better? 

First, and most importantly, in my opinion, we need to keep communicating.  We need to get it out, talk it out, and work it out.  Whatever your cause is, Awareness starts with YOU!  I will be following up later this week with another post on how Parents and Families can work towards a deeper and more technical Autism Awareness.  I will be offering specific suggestions and making a call-to-action.  I hope you’ll join me in doing better, not just for Autism, but for all the causes so desperate for support.

Remember – the grass isn’t really greener on the other side!

By:  Alicia Gonzalez