Last night, my dear friend Judith posted the following on her personal Facebook page. I asked her this morning if she would be willing to let me share it with you. I am so grateful that she said yes.
Please share it. With anyone and everyone who might listen. I”m begging. Because the judgement won’t stop until the compassion starts. And the compassion will never exist without understanding.
Take a close picture and you’ll notice something — each member of our family has a hand tightly placed on Jack. That’s how we live our lives — always with at least one of us keeping a grip on our dear boy.
As most of you know, Jack is on the severe end of the autism spectrum. He does not exhibit any sense of danger and often can compulsively bolt or wander away. He is fortunate to have a Project Lifesaver device, which allows law enforcement to track him when he wanders from our home. (And yes, we’ve had to call them.)
For those of you who have been to our home, you know it’s like Fort Knox. Special locks and alarms are on all of the doors and windows to keep him from escaping if we happen to turn away for a split second. When we moved in, the first thing Andy did was to visit our local Police Station to let them know that Jack could potentially wander. I went to all of our immediate neighbors, met them and then asked that if they ever saw him wandering down the road, to please grab him.
Jack requires 24/7 supervision. He is surrounded by a loving family who is “hands on” just as the picture indicates. But he has gotten away from us — more than once. For those who say that this sort of thing doesn’t happen to parents who are doing their job, with all due respect, please spend 24 hours with a family like mine. Your perspective will change dramatically — I guarantee it.
Less judgement. More education, support, awareness, treatment, acceptance, accommodations and understanding.
Thank you, Judith. And amen.