Why I Will Light It Up Blue

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“As a part of my haircut today, I would like to get the puzzle piece for autism shaved into the back of my head,” Bobby circled the top of his head with his finger.

“Sure!  Mom,” the hairdresser turned to address me, “do you have a picture of the puzzle piece I could reference?”

“You bet!” and I whipped out my phone.

Today, Bobby had the autism puzzle piece shaved into the back of his head.  When I asked him why he wanted to do this, he said, “for our family.”

People will ask him about the puzzle piece, and he will start a conversation about autism.  About his family and why autism awareness is so important to him.

 

Chances are you have seen the puzzle piece, a symbol created to reference autism, a puzzling condition, back in 1963.

autism-awareness-puzzle-piece-lapel-pin-61Maybe you have seen the colorful autism ribbon with a puzzle pattern to reflect the complexity of the autism spectrum stuck to the back of someone’s car.

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Or you have seen the landmarks Light It Up Blue.

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Tomorrow is April 2, World Autism Awareness Day.  The day we Light It Up Blue to help raise awareness for autism.  All around the world, landmarks will be lit blue.  Around the neighborhood, blue lights will shine.  Around town, people will be donning their blue clothes.  All for autism.

I love seeing the landmarks Light It Up Blue.  I love to see unity and support for autism.  I love to hear and see people come together in this one small way.

I love to see the conversation start.

I understand that not everyone agrees with the Light It Up Blue campaign, the puzzle piece or the rainbow puzzle ribbon.

For our house?  We do.

Autism awareness is an everyday reality for our family.  We are so excited to spread awareness as a family.  Because we want to take the next step.  We want awareness to spread to have our family, and others affected by autism, be understood, accepted and included.  Wearing blue, is just the first step.  

Today, Bobby put the puzzle piece on his head.  It will be with him for the next few weeks, until his hair grows out.  His friends are going to ask him about it and he will tell them about autism.  People he knows or does not know are going to see it, and hopefully ask or think about autism.  And Bobby is willing to have those discussions.

Why?  Because he has been affected by autism.  He loves two very important people to him that are facing the challenges of autism daily.  And he wants them to be understood and included.

I will wear blue tomorrow.  I will watch throughout the day to see landmarks go blue.  My family will wear blue and Bobby will don his puzzle piece.  Our family unit will continue to love and support one another.   We will enter the community to show others we are autism aware and will support others affected by autism.

Because we want to take that next step.  We want those on the spectrum, our family and other autism families to be understood, accepted and included.

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I am not the only one that likes Bobby’s puzzle piece.  Later in the day, Declan spoke up:

“Bobby, I like the puzzle piece on your head.  I think it is awesome.”

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18 thoughts on “Why I Will Light It Up Blue

  1. That is so awesome! I’m crying! Honestly! I’m so moved by your son’s decision. What an incredible way to start a conversation about autism, and also to help people to become comfortable asking questions and talking about it. <3 💙

    1. He had me tearing up too – he used his haircut as a way to start the conversation about autism. So happy and proud of him! <3 🙂

  2. Bobby is super awesome! I’m an oldest child & I know that younger sibs can be a test to ones patience at the least. He has two ASD younger sibs and is just a wonderful supportive big brother!
    And you’re right, the conversation has to start somewhere and if wearing blue helps you get more people helping & supporting our kiddos and the ASD adults then that’s good.

    1. Thank you! It makes me happy that he wanted to shave the puzzle piece in his head to help start the autism conversation. And if I can help start the conversation too, to lead to the next step of understanding – then that’s cool. We get to acceptance, then that’s awesome! 🙂

  3. Awesome! I’ve had the experience of being told “every kid has special needs”. Every kid has challenges, not all of them have special needs or specifically, autism. And not every autistic person has the same needs. Today I had to remind my 18 year old to put on a bra, comb her hair, brush her teeth, and wear a belt. Pretty sure most parents don’t have to deal with that. My 14 year old doesn’t need those reminders. Anyway, I almost got in a car accident today because I am so stressed by all these appointments and hard life decisions for my daughter. I’m guessing most moms with typical kids aren’t almost getting hit because they can’t think straight. Or crying in their car from all the stress. Autism is not a thing to be ashamed of but sometimes I wish people understood how much it can affect parents–marriages end, financial problems arise, fighting with school and county services is draining. But I still feel blessed to be her mom. I just wish people understood me even a little so I didn’t have to hear “every kid has special needs”. All I can do is correct it.

    1. That would be really hard to hear. No one has ever said that to me, but I have heard the statements that minimize what we have to go through as a family to support our loved ones. We are constantly questioning “how are we going to be able to do this?” or “when is this high level of stress ever going to end? Is it going to end?” And then try to find some level of understanding and acceptance out in the world – and like you said, not every autistic person has the same needs – so trying to find a level of understanding and acceptance for my family, yours and everyone else out there!

      1. And our kids are the ones that have to deal with it–although I feel like my daughter handles it better than I do. She seems oblivious to most of it, even the comments, and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. Sometimes she does have her down moments and says “I don’t fit it” or “I am not like everyone else” (in a negative way–like not wanting to get a job because she won’t fit in). But overall, she’s way better at handling it at least outwardly. We have an eye appointment tomorrow and I’m dreading it. She’s 18 so she is supposed to answer all their questions and I know she won’t. And technically, they can’t ask me about her health now. So that will be fun! I might have to inform them again that she has autism and I struggle with that conversation.

        1. I agree – the comments bother me way more than they bother either of my kids. I struggle with the conversation too. When to say it, Do I say it, How will I say it? I am only trying to explain, not excuse bad behavior (in some cases). I feel for you – I will be thinking of you tomorrow and hoping everything goes smoothly!

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