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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Autism Awareness Day

Today is a day that probably seems like a normal day to most people. It is a day that is lived just like any other day.. running here and there, bills to pay,  laundry to do, dinner to make... just another day.

But to some today is such an important day. It's a day when moms and dads across America stand together and find unity among other families that deal with children with autism.

So many parents are being heard across America as they voice their need to insurance companies  for coverage as they face years of therapy, medications and assistance for their children.

Today a bill was introduced in Congress that will help to enhance the quality of life for those who deal with autism. This bill would include provisions for education past the age of 21. Current legislation allows for education to the age of 21 but once the individual "ages out" the families are on their own to help further their child's education, assistance and development. This bill would provide for housing, vocational skills and other needs that can be extremely expensive due to the nature of care that some with autism require. WHAT AN EXCITING DAY FOR THESE FAMILIES!!

Today also offers those with autism the opportunity to show who they are and how they are progressing and succeeding in spite of their disabilities. There are many children that deal with an inability to communicate in "normal" ways, but their abilities to draw, paint, sing and think are utterly amazing. It's truly a blessing to see what God can do in and through these lives.

As I write this I am preparing to go to a Women on Mission Fair where women in ministry will share with our community about the different ways that we are seeking to reach out with the love of Christ. I had to prepare a story board for our special needs ministry and I came upon a statistic that said, "The special needs population is one of the largest unreached populations in America when it comes to church involvement and acceptance." Today is a day to tell them that there IS a place for them in the church and that Jesus loves them unconditionally. I am so proud of our church for trying to play a small role in awareness!

Autism takes on many forms and affects many people in our country. It mainly affects boys, but more and more girls are being diagnosed. While they are uncertain of all of the reasons why autism strikes, and while there is no cure, they are definitely making more of an effort, now than ever before, to help families deal with this sometimes debilitating disability. I often look at students with autism and I know that something more lies behind those eyes. There are thoughts that long to escape. Words that want to be said and hearts that want to be heard. If only they could.

Lord, I thank you for this day. I thank you for the ability to see this day come as parents of children with autism have prayed for your hand to touch their children. Lord, it's a heavy load that they bear. It's difficult to live with a child that is unable to speak or communicate among other issues that their children face. It's hard to understand why these things happen, and yet we trust that You hold all things together and that Your will is best. Help us to reach out to those in need of a touch from You. Help us to minister to that mom or dad that is just exhausted from caring for that adult child for so many years. Give us a heart for those with all disabilities and show us how to come along side them and hold their arms up as they face one more day. Lord, You are so good. You are our Rock and our Fortress. You are the One who knows every heart and You see every life effected by this disability. You knit us together Lord so please help us to live this life to Your glory! Amen.

4 comments:

Rebecca Jo said...

Thank you for the awareness!!!

Heather said...

I have prayed for the parents and children dealing with autism today...it is such an important issue and I am glad it is getting some attention in congress, etc.

Leigh Ann said...

Thank you for this, Melissa! Thank you!

Faye said...

MELISSA,I KNOW ALL ABOUT AUTISM!MY LITTLE GRANDSON HAS IT.CHECK OUT MY BLOG FOR INFO.THANK-U SO MUCH FOR THIS POST.WHAT A BLESSING IT WAS FOR ME!