Walking For Autism

The southeast Michigan Walk Now for Autism Speaks annual walk will be held on Saturday, September 10 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The PJ Foundation Team will be walking and I will have a table with information about the foundation and copies of “Inspired By Autism” for sale. Our foundation has a personal fund raising page (which is getting very little use).  You can add videos and tell your story on your page, but I only know how to do the bare minimum. I did manage to post that the page was in memory of Pervis Jackson Sr.

This is our third year being involved in the walk. The last two years, the walk was in October and the weather was so cold that we had to wear coats over our team shirts. We hope to have better weather this year. It took so long to get a walk for autism that I feel compelled to walk.  Thanks to Suzanne Wright for founding Autism Speaks.  She had the connections, power and clout to accomplish great things in a short amount of time.

Autism Speaks literature describes the walk as “a fun filled family friendly event laced with valuable resources, information and inspiration”. I agree. There are treats and activities for the children, music and food.   There is even a quiet tent for children who may have sensory overload. Walks are held in 80 different locations in the United States and Canada. We consist of individuals on the autism spectrum, their families and friends, health care providers and specialists. We  are all people who know about the devastating effect autism has on a family.

One of the Autism Speaks blogs invites people to tell why they walk for autism. I walk for autism because there was no such walk in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Autism was so rare that it was classified as an “orphan disability”, which meant that there was very little research and awareness because the incidence was so low. I could never have predicted that the diagnosis would increase so greatly. In fact, I predicted just the opposite.  We have made so many advances in medical science and technology that I thought autism would decrease instead of increase. I  also thought that I had retired from autism advocacy and awareness activities, but I feel compelled to help  do what I can when I can. It is never enough, though,  because we can’t solve the problem.

Another event that the PJ Foundation has been involved in is the annual “Living With Autism” conference sponsored by Henry Ford Health System and Metro Parent Magazine. We have been involved for the past two years.  We have also been involved in a Resource Fair held by the Autism Society of Michigan. When PJ was younger, there were not enough services to provide information about to give resource fairs. I have been trying to see what has changed in 35 years. That is one of the changes. More people with autism means more services.

I hope to see some of you at the Autism Speaks walk. Please stop by my table and say hello and pick up a gift for your child if you attend the walk.  If you want more info about the walk , you can contact the Autism Speaks walk staff at michigan@autismspeaks.org.

Until next time; May you have Peace, Love and Prosperity in your life. May the Love of God enfold you.

Claudreen Jackson

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