It was like having your favorite storybook characters come to life. That’s the best way I can describe it.
This past weekend I attended a gathering of people, mostly autism bloggers, who had participated in helping to raise funds for a service dog for Riley, Michelle O’Neil‘s daughter. How powerful it was for me, someone who, less than a year ago, did not personally know anyone who had a child on the autism spectrum. To sit at a table with twelve other parents of ASD children, including bestselling author John Elder Robison, was an incredible experience. I could literally feel the strength and solidarity of purpose. We are connected, and not just the people at that table. We are all connected – fellow bloggers and autism advocates, readers of autism blogs, and all parents of ASD children, no matter where they live or if they have Internet access or not. We all have different journeys, but we share the same goal – to help our children.
I came away from this weekend with a sense of completion, and belonging. When I started this blog almost a year ago, I felt so alone. I wanted so desperately to connect with other people in my shoes. I knew there had to be plenty of other parents of ASD kids out there (1 in 150, so they tell us!), but for ten years – ten years! – I didn’t know that I was already connected. Now I do. Not just with the ones I broke bread with this weekend – all of you. Those who read this blog, and those who don’t. Those who don’t even have access to computers. Whether we know each other or not, no matter where we live, we are part of this community.
I no longer feel alone. And I hope that in reading my words, all of you out there feel the same way.