Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I found that Elks really do care, Elks really do share.
I am involved in a nonprofit organization, Eastern Washington Autism Spectrum Disorder Association, and it is our goal to raise autism awareness in our community, right here in Walla Walla. Toward accomplishing that goal, we had our first Autism Awareness Carnival last weekend in the Elks' parking lot.
Not only were we not charged for using the space, but the Elks let us use their electricity, water, tables and chairs. They bent over backwards to help us in our mission to raise awareness.
As Sara Lightfoot so eloquently put it in her recent letter, these children are special. Their disability distorts how they view the world and can make life very difficult and even painful. In addition, autism has a huge impact on communication. Sometimes sensory input becomes so overwhelming these children almost have no choice but to scream.
Our understanding, as a community, is vital. The parents of these children are working hard to use behavioral strategies to help their children learn to cope in a scary world. These families deserve our support, tolerance and respect.
Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability with an estimated occurrence of 1 in 100 children currently being affected. These numbers make you realize that many of the children you see every day in our community are affected by autism.
So I want to praise the Elks for being so generous in helping us raise awareness. I also want to acknowledge the many local companies that supported the event.