It’s been a little over two years since RM was diagnosed with autism during SGM’s last deployment to Afghanistan. Still, we struggle to understand what that means to us as a family, how we process that reality on a daily basis and how to move forward in hopes of a bright future for all four of us.
My work on HR2288 – Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act – is one way that I have personally dealt with my daughter’s autism. Because as parents of autism know, change and progress are sometimes so painfully slow, it is helpful to feel like you are accomplishing something, anything.
But the ebb and flow of progress on federal legislation is often more painful. The highs and lows sometimes too much to bear. As I am sure many have noticed, I have not been writing here on StimCity for quite some time. I simply have not had the energy to spare among the Awareness events and working on CMKAA. Not a square to spare.
But here I am today. The urge to write something, anything. So I decided to tell you about the Crazy I still have within me. The belief that CMKAA will happen. The fire in my belly that tells me no matter what it takes, we will see our military families get what they deserve for their children with autism. I simply cannot take No for an answer. But it’s going to take so much more work. So much more energy and a little bit more Crazy. I will have to find another square to spare. You will, too.
Have you called your Member of Congress yet? Because I simply do not buy that everyone who needs or believes in CMKAA has done so. Have you one-clicked your support online? I own the cmkaa.org site, so I know exactly how many people have been there and how many have not.
Are you on facebook? Then why haven’t you looked up your US Senators and US Representatives and ‘Liked’ them yet? Why does Beyoncé (and I’m talking about the giant metal chicken) have 38,292 ‘Likes’ on facebook, and the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee have only 3,719? That guy is the one you need to be following whether you’re a military family living with autism or not.
And what about Twitter? If you’re following the other Beyoncé on Twitter, you have time to send a tweet to Congress while you’re catching up on the latest E! News. Most Members of Congress and elected officials in government now have a Twitter account. Easy access, folks. But one person cannot tweet the world into a better place alone. Besides, if I am the only one spamming them about this stuff, eventually they will all block me. I’ve already been blocked from certain legislators’ facebook pages, though I won’t name names. (Rhymes with NoBeyondo.) Go ahead and spare a square, please.
Be brave, be Crazy and know that what you have to say is important. You just might find yourself hugging the Deputy Assistant to President Obama or getting a tweet back from a coproducer on The Daily Show. Or you can be really Crazy like me and have a custom fleece blanket of an Epic Fail poster sent to Jon Stewart himself. Oh yes I did. $39.95 towards a good cause.
Stephen Colbert just reported on The Colbert Report (4-11-12) about the sacrifices military families are making. Autism was not on the list, though, so there’s our opening. Watch the clip and leave a comment. If you think no one from these shows reads the comments, then you really are crazy. We need to be creative, my friends. Start thinking outside of the box and get our message out there.
I’m not making this shit up, people. There are literally a handful of folks that are working on this bill and none are doing it as a full-time, paying gig. It’s an email here or there in between changing diapers on a five-year-old. It’s a phone call to a legislator after speech therapy, before the appointment with neurology, while trying not to drop the phone into the boiling water because it’s Raman Night for the third time this week.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. There are cosponsors to CMKAA that are the result of a single phone call from a military spouse. In fact, if I recall, the bill itself is the result of one military warrior mom speaking up to her Congressman and telling him like it is.
Go ahead. You can do this. Believe in yourself as a powerful voice with something important to say and you can move mountains. Or just be Bat Shit Crazy like me and get the word out in your own style. However you choose to get involved, three minutes of your precious time could literally make all the difference.
Spare that square for military families with autism. We deal with enough poop as it is.