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Coastal Voices: Autism — Hopes and challenges

Another year and we are no closer to figuring out autism.

It seems the politicians are jumping on board to figure out where the money should be spent: research, prevention or cure.

As the politicians battle it out at the state and federal level thousands of autistic children are growing up in a world that still isn’t ready for them.

Jan. 1, 2012, companies stopped making the old soft white light bulbs. Maybe you all missed this. It didn’t make the headlines. Most of you probably slept right through this bit of news.

For those of us who live in the autistic community, we hit the streets looking for every soft white light bulb we could get our hands on.

Last I checked the internet was selling one soft white light bulb for $60.

Why are these light bulbs so important to someone with autism? Children with autism cannot handle the hum of fluorescent lights that most of us never notice.

To an autistic child they might hide under a table, under a  jacket or run around in circles as the sound is attacking them. In fact colors and smells can attack them in the same way.

As my supply of soft whites starts to dwindle I wonder how long it will be before I am  meeting with shady characters in a back alley buying soft white light bulbs out of the trunk of a car.

I wonder what the charge is for  transporting illegal soft white  light bulbs across our borders.

I do thank a major hotel chain that offered autistic-friendly hotel rooms during the holidays — those loud white towels, shower curtains and sheets replaced by purple and pinks.

I can’t tell you how long it took to disconnect loud bathroom fans myself.

Another sign of progress: Sacramento just opened its first autistic-friendly kids park.

My family will travel in April to UC Davis’ Autism Around the World conference.

My family will be surrounded by hundreds of doctors, teachers, lawyers, family and hundreds of beautiful autistic children.

While we are there we will travel through the cities to see the businesses display their blue lights in support of autism.

It is a spectacular sight to see, just thousands of blue Christmas lights shining bright in the cities.

Someday when we pull into our beautiful Crescent City, I would love to tell my daughter and all Del Norte autistic children  that all the blue lights shining  are for them.

There is no known cause, no cure and 1 out of 60 children in California have autism.

There is not one autistic child that is alike.

 Autism is not what you see; it is what you don’t see.

As the politicians and medical world battle over where money for autism will go, thousands of autistic children are facing a world without autism awareness.

It’s up to us to bring autism awareness to the world. Support Autism Awareness Month this April 2012.

Summer Moore-Clawson is a Crescent City resident.

 

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