As I slipped into the pool this morning to try to implement my new effort to incorporate a complement to my running, I was momentarily distracted by the cheery singing of “ring around the rosy”. I looked up to see a group swim lesson going on with parents and toddlers. I smiled at the joy on the parents faces and the playful laughs of the little ones.
And then I cried a little.
As we come to the end of Autism Awareness Month, I can’t help but wonder, how much further along would Brooke be had I just been more aware when she was that age. Watching those parents and their children brought me back to swim lessons with Brooke. Swims lessons that were fraught with anxiety, screaming and crying. There was no joy, there were no playful laughs.
It was the beginning of an 18 month stretch where Brooke became more and more difficult to interact with.
We’ve come a long way since then. Her progress has been tremendous. But there is still a long, long way to go.
And moments like the one this morning as I slipped into the pool are tough reminders that maybe, just maybe, life would be different right now had I been more aware.
If only I had been more aware.
Had we given Brooke the therapies she needed at a much younger age, maybe her autism would not be as severe. Maybe her social interactions would not be as difficult.
This month is important. This month can save lives. Awareness can alter the course of personal history.
Please, PLEASE, don’t let Autism Awareness end with the turning of the calendar.
You just might ease the life-path of a little girl or boy and save the collective life of a family.