Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Month of Awareness

It's the last day of April, which means it's the last day of Autism Awareness Month. I fear I have fallen a bit short on my original goal of writing something informative about autism in every post this month, but I hope that what I have done has been enlightening and/or helpful for some of you. 

Obviously, we don't need a special month around our house to talk about autism, but I still love that such an occasion exists to help educate people about this disorder. I want Owen to grow up in a society that understands his challenges and appreciates his gifts. 

Actually, I want that for Aidan, too. I suppose that's pretty much what any parent wants. We all want our kids to be accepted and to excel. We want them to have every opportunity. But, I suppose, the real reason we want these things is just because we want them to be happy. 

It is my belief that the more we can learn about autism, then the better we can develop effective treatments, therapies and educational programs, which will ultimately help us provide our kids with the opportunity to do something pretty much everyone wants: To create happiness on their own terms. 

Thanks for your support this month and beyond. Team Owen raised $550 for Autism Speaks(!) and, hopefully, we all took an extra minute (or hour, or day) to better understand this disorder and the role we can play in supporting those who are living with it. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Left My Heart...

OMG, this week is half over. April is almost completely over. I am losing all track of time. 

On the bright side, the hubby and I had a lovely weekend in San Francisco. 

I don't have much to say about San Francisco other than that I love it. I love it! I can't imagine why anyone who grew up there would ever leave, but I suppose you don't appreciate it as much when it's all you know. The ocean, the mountains, the cable cars, the hills, the metropolis-meets-co-op vibe...I just love it. 

And in case you were wondering, we did have the famous Irish coffees and although I would rank them below the ones I had in Dublin, they are easily the best I've had in the States. Plus, I love that the bartenders make them in mass quantities (like, eight at a time) and still take the time to stir each one lovingly. (We sat at the bar and got to witness the Irish coffee making up close...repeatedly.)

In addition to the all-too-brief fun in San Francisco, we also had a lovely time at the main event: our friend's wedding in Half Moon Bay. So beautiful. I've decided that every wedding ceremony should include the retelling of how the couple met. It's so much more personal and entertaining than any bible verse.

Anyway, now it's back to reality and somehow I've already worked my whole work week. Time flies. 

One more thing: Even if it wasn't still Autism Awareness Month (it is), I'd want to celebrate the fact that scientists have made some genetic discoveries about autism. It's a small step, but it's promising nonetheless. After all, it's very difficult to treat something when you don't even understand what it is. Yay scientists! 

Also, maybe you saw this already, but the Economist ran this interesting story about the link between autism and genius. I would have posted it earlier, but my mom had actually torn it out of the magazine for me and I've been conditioned to ignore a lot of the magazine clippings she gives me (sorry, mom), so I only just found it under a pile of coupons. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Travel Day

Today is a travel day, which means it is a good day, although in reality, I mostly hate the actual traveling part of traveling. I just want to be there. When teleportation becomes an option, you can sign me up. 

But no matter how often I travel, I maintain my sense of wonder at being able to start my day at home and end my day in an entirely different part of the country, or world, for that matter. 

So even though today started like most days, with Aidan waking up too early and asking to watch TV in our bed, it will end with a walk up Lombard Street, sushi, and possibly some of the best Irish coffees I've ever had. That's pretty cool. (Thanks, technology!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Be Serious

We got the revisions to Owen's IEP today. One of his short term objectives reads as follows:

"Owen will be able to to have one or less reminders of not being silly when the situation calls for listening to instructions 75% of the time."

Do you think that if the situation calls for listening to instructions only 50% of the time, then he'll get two reminders?

But really, questionable grammar aside, I can't help but wonder how many typical five- and six-year-olds could have this listed as an objective, were they scrutinized the way Owen is. 

I'm not saying he couldn't use some work in the listening department - he definitely could - I think I'm just reacting to this idea that him being silly is the issue. As if silliness is this obstacle he must overcome. 

Do we send our kids to school to make them less silly? Is that an educational objective?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Upswing

I survived my first "week" at the new job. It was good. Not particularly inspiring or fun, but good in the sense that it wasn't bad and I am earning money. 

I realize that I've been on a bit of a career roller coaster (or experiencing a bit of career schizophrenia) as of late, so the thrill of hearing about my latest "new job" may have lost its luster to some, but I couldn't help noticing how much more excited everyone seemed to be about my bakery job. Granted, I had built that job up in my mind to be full of much more promise than it ever really was, but still...I know it's more uplifting to hear about someone taking risks and following dreams, but there's also something wonderful about, say, suspecting that your car needs transmission work and knowing that you're going to be able to pay for it without wiping out your dwindling savings account. 

I'm really just trying to make myself feel better about the slide back into corporate America. One thing that helps tremendously is knowing that this is the year I will check "take family to Hawaii" off my list of goals. Because really that's what a lot of my travel does (superfluous trips to Vegas excluded), it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I wanted to see it, I saw it. I wanted to have that experience, I had it. Check and check. 

Speaking of travel, I am thrilled to tell you that I am off to San Francisco on Friday for a friend's wedding! I'm even more thrilled to tell you that our plane tickets were free, thanks to the airmiles my husband banked while traveling to and fro for his corporate meetings. Free travel is just the greatest. 

Since I've been to San Francisco before, I can't really count seeing the city as a goal, but last time I was there I was only 19, so this time I'm going to the American home of the Irish coffee, the Buena Vista Cafe, which is sort of like a goal I didn't know I had until it presented itself. "Have greatest Irish Coffee available on U.S. soil. " Soon-to-be check. 

In autism news, our country is making progress in ensuring fair insurance coverage for children with autism. Nevada is the most recent state whose senate has passed a bill that would cover Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, one of the most promising treatments for children with autism. Learn more at Autism Votes. (Seriously, go learn more - you might be surprised how soon this information could come in handy). 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cubicle Hamster

I returned to cubicle land today and I am relieved to report that it didn't feel depressing at all. In fact, despite my 47-minute commute (that's one-way), I came home feeling happy rather than exhausted. Happy!

I'm not going to get crazy and start thinking that I won't get cynical about this job - I think it's smart to approach all corporate jobs with a healthy amount of suspicion - but I have to tell you that even as I was sitting in a conference room today, having an almost-identical meeting to one that I had seven years ago at my last corporate job, rather than thinking how I'd rather be at home, I thought, "I can totally do this."

I won't lie, it makes a huge difference that I love and respect my boss. It also didn't hurt that in one of my meet-and-greets today, I learned that an employee had recently contacted the corporate team to find out if the company (which makes medical devices) could help her get a pacemaker for her relative who was in another country in dire need, without the financial means,  and that the company - my new employer - actually came through for her. It's hard to be cynical about that. 

And so, I will go back tomorrow with an uncharacteristically good attitude. But just in case you're worried that this shift in work dynamic might leave me with nothing to be bitchy and snide about, please let me assure you this is not the case. There is always something to be bitchy and/or snide about. I promise. 

On an unrelated note, the New York Times ran this article on the costs of educating children with autism this weekend. I won't be bitchy or snide about it, just a little angry that any family would have to mortgage their home (and they are not alone) to get their child the education she deserves. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

All's Well That Ends Well

I was so busy up on my soapbox yesterday that I neglected to celebrate my last day of work at the bakery with you!

I really don't have much to report, other than to say that despite the issues I have with the way they run that place and the fact that making minimum wage is depressing at my age, it wasn't a terrible job. In six short weeks, I actually met some people that I like and might even keep in touch with - the most likely being Reality Bites (whose name I am now changing to "Coffee Girl," after that Tragically Hip song). 

But in a happy ending of sorts, Coffee Girl is moments away from getting a new job, Still a Teenager already quit, and I was able to write my assistant manager a letter of reference for her husband, who worked at the bakery until his wife was promoted and is now still looking for work (she is giving it to the manager to sign and asked me to write it because, in her words, my English is so good). Plus, I came home with a box full of goodies. 

On Monday, I will reprise my role as a cubicle hamster. This weekend, I will enjoy having a mind free of strategy. 

P.S. It's still Autism Awareness Month, so I'd like to refer you to this article, which summarizes all 10 of the "Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

First, Do No Harm

Just as I thought I was losing steam on my autism blogs, along comes the latest controversy in the autism community. It involves this Public Service Announcement made by the Dan Marino Foundation and the Autism Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN).

The PSA is meant to show autism in a more positive light, featuring people on the high-functioning end of the spectrum (most notably ASAN founder Ari Ne'eman, an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome), proclaiming “Our lives are not tragedies.” 

Viewing the PSA as the mother of a child with high-functioning autism – and removed from any other feelings I have about the neurodiversity movement –  I felt a surge of agreement. Owen’s life isn’t tragic. We are full of hope for him. He can, as the PSA says, “speak for himself.”

The problem – and what a large part of the autism community is reacting to – is that this PSA does not give any consideration to those with autism who cannot speak for themselves. In fact, it portrays the more severe end of the autism spectrum as a myth.

Except there’s nothing mythical about children who are unable to speak, or who can’t perform basic tasks like getting dressed or feeding themselves. It’s no myth that some of these autistic individuals are unable to function independently. And not only do we not yet have a solution, we don’t even understand what’s causing it to begin with.

There is no single face of autism. Autism is the child banging his head against the wall in the corner, who has never spoken a word. Autism is also the child obsessively doodling in his notebook, speaking in lines from his favorite episode of Thomas the Tank Engine. Autism is also the child who can add five-digit numbers in his head, but struggles with answering open-ended questions.

Autism is so different for so many people that I have often questioned whether we are doing a disservice to all people with autism by classifying those who are “severely” autistic with the same disorder as those with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. I have, at times, felt guilty that my Owen could be taking resources away from kids who need them more. I have conversely been frustrated that the only dedicated educational programs for kids with autism focus solely on those affected severely. 

What Owen needs is a program dedicated to teaching kids with high-functioning autism in the manner in which their brains are wired to learn. Still, I understand why such a program isn’t a priority. It makes sense to me that with the limited autism resources available, we would focus them on the kids who need them most. I understand it, but I still want Owen to be given every opportunity to reach his full potential.

And that’s what I’m getting at: We’re dealing with different levels of need here…different perceptions of what the problem is. If you are an autistic individual who has little or no ability to communicate even your most basic needs, that’s a lot different than being an autistic individual whose biggest everyday challenge related to autism is that society doesn’t understand you. They are both problems, sure, but should those two people be fighting over the same pool of resources? I’m thinking not.

But can we advocate for autism research, for autism resources, for equal rights, for better educational programs and for a more informed society without tearing each other down? I’m thinking yes.

Autism is serious. While it's not life-threatening in the medical sense, it threatens quality of life. Even for my Owen, who is very high-functioning (and probably exceptional in some areas because of his autism), I already see how autism makes his life harder and I worry that it will rob him of certain joys. I cannot imagine the heartache of worrying that my son might never speak. 

I am proud of Owen. I don't ever want him to be ashamed of having autism and I don't want anyone putting limits on what he can achieve. 

But with a public that is already under-informed about this disorder, the last thing I think we need is a campaign that minimizes the impact of autism. That doesn't help any of us.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TV Time

A couple of years ago, I began getting my boys into watching a few of my TV shows. I think it started with cooking shows and then we picked up The Biggest Loser, which I never even used to watch, but the weigh-ins appealed to Owen's obsession with numbers, so we all got hooked. 

Anyway, I'll admit that my initial reasons for introducing my boys to some of my shows was to be able to actually watch them while they were awake, versus trying to cram all my TV viewing into the few hours between when they went to bed and when I collapsed in exhaustion. 
Now we regularly watch several shows — The Amazing Race is our favorite, but there's also Chopped, The Biggest Loser, Will Work For Food, and sometimes Food Network Challenge. "TV rots your brain" arguments aside, I love having the opportunity to get both boys to sit in one place and cuddle them (plus, they've actually learned a few things). But I'm starting to wish these shows were still "mine" and not "ours." 

We've basically flipped scenarios, so that rather that being able to watch these shows when the boys are sleeping, I now have to wait to find a time to watch with them. And yes, of course I could just watch the shows and tell the boys they missed out, but that feels a little mean. 

And btw, thanks to the supposedly family-friendly Amazing Race, Aidan said "bitch" for the first time last night after reading it in a subtitle on the preview for next week's episode. Sheesh.

On another topic, we are only halfway through April and I'm running out of steam on these Autism Awareness Month moments. But my moment for today is a question for those other parents of kids with autism: Do your kids play tag?

I'm not sure whether it's an aversion or a complete lack of interest, but Owen is not a tag player. He does okay when he's being chased, but once he's it, he pretty much loses complete focus and ends up going to do something else — much to the frustration of his brother, who apparently like nothing better than being chased. I'm just wondering if this is typical or just another Owen-specific quirk. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thank you, Easter Bunny

My children woke up at 5:45 this morning. They scampered into our bedroom around 6:15 a.m. This was the most excited they've ever been about Easter, and I wanted to share their enthusiasm...but not until 7 a.m.

After unsuccessfully attempting to make them "rest" in our bed for another half hour, we got up and the fun began. It started out as it always does: a plastic egg trail led them down the stairs and to their baskets. But then they realized there was more...the Easter bunny had hidden eggs in our backyard as well! 

Now, I use the term "hidden" very loosely here, as it was more like someone haphazardly dropped eggs within a 6 foot radius of the backdoor - in the dark - but you'd think we had taken them to the egg hunt on the White House lawn the way Aidan kept exclaiming, "This is a dream come true!" Owen, on the other hand, showed tremendous focus as he scrambled to get more eggs than his brother, all the while laughing maniacally. 

And now, having each consumed several pounds of chocolate, the boys are watching cartoons in their PJs while the blueberry muffins bake. And it's only 7:37 a.m. 

Happy Easter!

P.S. I recommend reading celebrity Aspergian John Robison's Look Me in the Eye blog for his explanation of egg-laying bunnies. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

On the Road Again

This morning will start with a stop at one of my favorite kid-friendly coffee places, Java Train, where I will indulge in a Cadbury Egg Mocha...will it be good? I have no idea, but I imagine that with the amount of sugar that must be in the thing and my love for Cadbury Eggs (when I was pregnant, I kept a gallon size ziploc bag of them in the freezer), it couldn't be terrible. 

After the coffee fun, I'm on the road again, headed back to Viroqua for what I hope (vow?) will be my last trip. While I'm road tripping through the less-than-scenic roads of southern Minnesota/western Wisconsin, I thought you all might enjoy some ideas for family activities this weekend (and Mama needs some clicks):

  • This Saturday is the MN Rollergirls Season Championship! Is roller derby kid-friendly? Find out

  • Perhaps you would enjoy a nature walk or a romp through a bog? Well, have I got a park for you

  • Or maybe you'd like to go bowling this wait, you'll be hunting for eggs or stuffing your face with chocolate bunnies. But maybe you'd like to bookmark this handy list of breakfast and bowling options for next Sunday. 
If you decide to do any of these things, please go back and leave comments on the Examiner site!

And in autism-related news, it looks like more celebrities are stepping up to support Autism Speaks. It's always nice when celebrities use their influence to spotlight worthwhile causes...versus making it all about themselves and their convoluted theories, which actually work against the causes they claim to support. (You didn't think we'd get through the whole month without mentioning her, did you?) 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Things We Do

I met with my former/soon-to-be new boss yesterday to go over the details of this fab new job (code name: Ticket to Hawaii), which starts a week from Monday. Then I worked at the bakery this morning, which made me realize that I might actually miss having a zero responsibility job. 

Rolling silverware, cleaning trays, making change...they all seem so straightforward and honest now that I'm once-again faced with having to strategize about enterprise solutions for achieving business objectives. I'm not complaining, I am merely admitting to a faint sense of panic at returning to the world of corporate propaganda. But I will kill the panic by reminding myself of all the lasting memories my family will create on Waikiki Beach — and the pina coladas, I'll think about those, too. 

In my more immediate future, I've got another trip down to Viroqua to think about. This time I'm dragging my husband along for manual labor. We've been together for 13 years and he's never met my grandmother — now he gets to help empty out her house. 

I don't really want to make this trip. I'm torn between feeling like I should do it and knowing that I shouldn't be doing things just because I think I should. Still, when you've got a family as tiny as mine, I guess the "shoulds" just win out. 

The thing is, being around crazy people can start to make you feel crazy. My grandmother is a bit nuts — that's the simplest explanation for why my mother (and subsequently, me) broke ties with her 20 years ago — and in the short time I spent down there with my mom and aunt last week, I started to see the nuttiness rubbing off on them, thus threatening my own sanity. It's bad enough that I know nuttiness runs in my genes...I'd like to save my own sanity for as long as possible. 

Plus, I don't want to leave the boys again and I can't bring them with. Aidan's allergies would make it impossible to have him in that house, nevermind the other factors making it a less-than-desirable place for children. 

So anyway, I'm going. Because I should. Because I make a good buffer between my aunt and my mother. Because I know my grandma will be happy to see me. Because it's not that much of my time and it will be over soon. Sigh.

Btw, it's still Autism Awareness Month and Team Owen has now raised $550! Thanks again to everyone who donated.

Also, the Chicago Tribune ran this article today, which touches on issues similar to what we're seeing (and anticipate seeing) with Owen in school. 

We're basically balancing our hopes between teaching him to learn to function in an environment designed for neurotypical children, and helping his teachers understand that usually all he needs is a little extra understanding (and maybe several more reminders than the other kids). He's high-functioning enough to be mainstreamed, but not neurotypical enough to excel in the existing constructs of public school. It just seems like we're all guessing here...I hope we can do better before he gets much older. 

For more information on autism, visit Autism Speaks

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Several weeks ago, my therapist gave me her theory on inertia, the gist being that you have to put something into action in order to make any of things you want to have happen, happen. Despite those two crazy boys running around, my life had come to a bit of a standstill.

So I got the bakery job. I needed a paycheck and I want to learn more about pastry, but more than anything, I needed to do something. Pretty much as soon as I started at the bakery, I had an awesome meeting with the cake lady, someone whom I still hope to work for someday soon. Then I got the job at

And then, last week, out of the blue, I got an offer from one of my favorite former bosses: a part-time job that pays a living wage. The only catch, of course, is that I must return to the corporate world, where I will write propaganda, attend meetings and probably wear heels. Can I do these things? Yes, yes, I can...especially if it means I'll be able to take my family on that Christmas trip to Hawaii we've been talking about for 6 months now. 

And so, with much glee, I put in my notice at the bakery. It was met with exactly the amount of apathy and annoyance as you would expect. And yes, knowing that I'm leaving does make pouring coffee and picking up other people's food messes somewhat easier. 

I am still hoping the cake job will work out. I would gladly work two part-time jobs if it meant I was paying the bills and getting a cakucation (that's cake + education). It's a pretty good alternative to sinking $20k into a pastry certificate that I'm still not sure I'd be able to use to earn a living. It at least buys me some more time to figure it out. 

Add in the writing gig, and I'm suddenly busy. And I'm not having a panic attack about it, which has to be a good sign. So, as usual, my therapist was right...a little action can make a lot happen. 

Speaking of action, I am proud to say that a benevolent friend pushed Team Owen over its goal yesterday! Which brings us to our Autism Awareness Month moment - once again taken from "Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew" by Ellen Notbohm:

My sensory perceptions are disordered.

This means that the ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of everyday that you may not even notice can be downright painful for me. The very environment in which I have to live often seems hostile. I may appear withdrawn or belligerent to you, but I am really just trying to defend myself. 

To learn more about autism, visit Autism Speaks

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Today I'd like to start by thanking those of you who donated to Team Owen. Your generosity is much appreciated and will come back to you in many ways. (Did that sound like a fortune cookie?)

We did not reach our goal of $500 by World Autism Awareness Day, however, we have raised $375 for Autism Speaks! We are also still accepting donations, so if you've been meaning to donate, there's still time.  

I returned safely from my trip to Wisconsin to see my ailing grandmother. I am happy to report that rumors of her being near death seem to have been exaggerated. I mean, I'm not a doctor, but the woman seemed more likely to walk out the front door and drive herself home than to kick the bucket. Still, she won't be living on her own again, so her house needs to be cleaned out and sold.

I'm happy to report that the condition of her house was somewhat exaggerated as well. I mean, it's pretty bad, but I was expecting something like those hoarders you see on Oprah. This was more like a quirky old woman with 8 pets who has collected a lifetime full of stuff and never cleaned. She apparently hoarded in drawers, not out in the open. Every single drawer in that house is packed with the most random artifacts from the last four's pretty interesting, once you get past the burning sensation in your eyes from all the animal urine. 

So anyway, I'll probably be making at least one more trip down there to help my mother and aunt get the house ready to sell, but assuming my grandmother lives, she will likely be moved to a home closer to us in the coming weeks. That means that after a 20-year break, I'll suddenly be seeing a lot more of her and my boys might actually get to meet their only living great-grandparent. Strange how things work out.

Since we're speaking of my grandmother, I think it's most appropriate that we spend today's Autism Awareness Month moment with an excerpt from "Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew" by Ellen Notbohm - a book that my grandmother actually sent to me when she heard about Owen's diagnoses. (She was a teacher back in her day.)

I am first and foremost a child. I have autism. I am not primarily "autistic."

My autism is only one aspect of my total character. It does not define me as a person. Are you a person with thoughts, feelings, and many talents, or are you individualized by one trait? Are you fat (overweight), myopic (wear glasses) or klutzy (uncoordinated, not good at sports)? There may be things that I see first when I meet you, but they are not necessarily what you are all about. 

As an adult, you have some control over how you define yourself. If you want to single out a single characteristic, you can make that known. As a child, I am still unfolding. Neither you nor I yet know what I may be capable of. Defining me by one characteristic runs the danger of setting up an expectation that may be too low. And if I get a sense that you don't think I "can do it," my natural response will be: Why try?

Here's to high expectations. Not just of our children, but of the doctors, scientists and lawmakers we're depending on, too. 

To learn more about autism, visit Autism Speaks

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's World Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. What can you do to help spread awareness?

Here in the Twin Cities, families are rallying at the Capitol in support of several autism-related bills, including insurance reform and a bill that would establish a task force to limit the use of seclusion and restraints in the public school system - a practice I've mentioned before that scares the hell out of me. 

Sadly, I will not be attending any rallies today. Instead, I will be driving down to Viroqua, Wisc. with my mother, to say goodbye to my estranged grandmother, who just had a stroke, and begin the terrifying process of cleaning out her house...where she's lived alone for 15 years...collecting stray animals. I am shuddering at the thought. 

I will be back tomorrow and it would be such a nice surprise to find out that, in my absence, Team Owen met its goal. You can help! Thanks to everyone who has already donated - it's not too late for the rest of you. Don't make me pull out that Alicia Keys video, that thing made me cry.

Happy World Autism Awareness Day, everyone. Let's all try to help just one person learn one thing about autism today. For more information, visit Autism Speaks

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Autism Awareness Month: Team Owen Returns

Happy Autism Awareness Month! 

Since it's day one, let's start with a basic definition of autism: 
Autism is a neurological disorder characterized by impaired social and communication skills. 

Often, people use the term "autism" when they are actually referring to "Autism Spectrum Disorder" (or ASD), a term that includes three neurological disorders: Asperger's syndrome, Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Autism is the core disorder on the spectrum, but the severity with which a person is affected by all of these disorders varies widely (thus, the term "spectrum"). If you want to read a more extensive definition, check out the Autism Society of America site

Alright, so what better way to kick off this month - and prepare for World Autism Awareness Day tomorrow - than to tell you about the triumphant return of Team Owen!

You might remember that last April, Team Owen raised a lot of money for Autism Speaks through the virtual Walk Now for Autism event. Well, we're back! This year, the walk has been branded by the good people at Nickelodeon and is therefore known as "Walk with Wubzy on the Web." (For those unfamiliar, "Wow! Wow! Wubzy!" is a show on Nick, Jr.) 

In celebration of World Autism Awareness Day, Team Owen is collecting online donations that will go to Autism Speaks. Our goal is to reach $500 by the end of day tomorrow. You can help us by visiting our team page and donating now. Either click "General Team Donation" or choose one of our names and donate on our page. Or, if you're feeling really ambitious, join our team and start soliciting donations yourself! 

We support Autism Speaks because they support autism advocacy, awareness, treatment and research. We want to find out what caused Owen's autism. We want to learn more about how to help him. We hope that someday there will be a cure. Until then, we will focus on raising awareness and finding ways to help him reach his potential in a world full of policies and processes created by people whose brains work differently than his. 

Giving money is a personal decision, so I'm not going to try to guilt you into it. Just know that your donation makes a difference. Not just to us, but to the millions of people who have autism or love someone who does. It matters.

I should also add that if just 19 of you give $25, we will meet our goal. That feels reasonable. 

Whether you give money or simply take the time to learn more about autism this month, you have my thanks in advance. We can make this world a better place for Owen and every child with autism.