Happy Autism Awareness Month!

Merry Autism Awareness Month?


Beware ...?


Whether you're "lighting it up blue," sporting ribbon magnets on your car, or are feeling kinda Grinchy about the whole thing, as I was this time last year, your perspective on Autism Awareness Month is appreciated and welcome here. If we're truly going to be "aware," we need to be honest. And my "awareness," I'll admit, has been an ongoing journey.

Last summer, I wrote a post called "Loving Lampposts, Curing Autism and the Dark Night of the Soul." It has been suggested by people who love me that I made myself sound crazier than usual in this post. I countered with the fact that it was in no way unusual.

Anyway, shortly after I wrote the piece, including my heartfelt wish that Tallahassee would soon screen the film Loving Lampposts, I got an email from the filmmaker. Todd Drezner, father of an autistic son about the same age as Billy, wrote to just say "Thanks" for mentioning the film. And he said he'd keep me posted if the film made its way Southeast. What a mensch.

Flash forward to Autism Awareness Month 2011 and guess what: Local screening of the now award-wining "Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic!" If you're local, details (date/time/place) are in the sidebar at the right. If you aren't local (or even if you are and can't be asked to attempt campus parking), you can now order the award-winning film on DVD (click on the banner ad above).


"Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic" follows Todd's journey as a parent from diagnosis of his son's autism to acceptance and beyond. He poses the question, "Is autism a sickness or simply another way of being and thinking?"

He introduces the audience to the recovery movement: those who think of autism as a disease that needs to be cured. Among their most notable advocates is celebrity Jenny McCarthy, a proponent of the anti-vaccine movement.

And he speaks to advocates in the neurodiversity movement: those who believe autism is simply another way of thinking and being. They promote the importance of support for and acceptance of autistic people. Speaking for this camp are scientists and autistic adults like the brilliant Dora Raymaker, working on her graduate degree in Portland, as well as Stephen Shore, a professor at Adelphi University. As an autistic child, Stephen was recommended for institutionalization. Now he teaches music to autistic children and lectures around the world.

I'm not giving away any more of the details of this moving film, but I highly encourage you to see it. As a parent of an autistic child, I believe the message of this film is important: The more we can do to introduce the world to real autistic people, the better prepared it will be to embrace and support their unique brains.

And now, because no holiday would be complete without presents ....


I'm going to give away a copy of the "Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic" DVD to one randomly selected reader. To enter the giveaway, here's all you have to do:

  • "Like" on Facebook. That's easy: The button is right there at the top right-hand corner of the page.
  • Post a message -- ANYTHING -- about autism awareness on our Facebook page. It can be a personal experience with autism. It can be an urging to "Light it up blue," or it can even be a "Happy Autism Awareness Month" song you've written. You can even write, simply, "I'm aware."

Post a comment on this blog after you've completed these steps, so that we can give you credit for them. That's all you have to do to enter.

BUT ... while not required to enter, you can get one ADDITIONAL entry into the competition for doing EACH of the following:

Again, post a comment here to let us know that you've completed any of these extra entries.

The winner will be announced on Friday, April 15, 2011. If local, that person will also receive reserved seating at our Tallahassee screening of the the film, along with their family.

I want to say thanks to a few people who helped make this screening happen:

Todd: I can't wait to see your next film, after seeing the thoughtful, honest and beautiful way you addressed our community and posed some very controversial questions.

My sister, Sam Strickland, CEO of Pea Green Solutions: Without your social network (and I mean that in the old-school "I have to actual KNOW people" kind of way) I'd simply be some nerd with a website ... whose son would be going to a school half an hour away.

Florida Commerce Credit Union: Board member J.R. Phelps spearheaded the sponsorship of this screening, and we couldn't have done it without him and them. FCCU is more than a financial institution; it's a community leader in Tallahassee. (And I'm not saying that just because I have two mortgages there ... wait, make that THREE mortgages.)

The Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts is the best-kept secret in Florida. No, make that the COUNTRY. Seriously, this is one awesome film school, and I would go on and on about its phenomenal alumni and dude of a Dean, but you should really just enroll and find out for yourself.

And the CARD Center. Where do I even begin in thanking CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)? From the moment we started suspecting a "problem" to our most recent IEP meeting, the CARD Center has been literally at my right hand. I always feel like I have an advocate, that Billy has an advocate, whether we're facing an autism diagnosis or the equally daunting challenge of potty training. CARD's commitment to the family dealing with autism is the reason we chose their Autism Foundation as the beneficiary of this fundraiser.

Everyone donating $25 or more to CARD's Autism Foundation will receive a copy of the DVD of "Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic." If you're local, we hope to see you there. If you aren't local and can't find a screening near you, click the banner ad at the top of this page and you can order your own copy of this inspiring and hopeful film.

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Liked the Facebook page!


Happily did all of the liking and following! Looking forward to checking out Loving Lampposts at the screening no matter who the random selector picks. =)

Would have done these things without prize incentive

I would have done these without the prize incentive :-P Like (love) your Life is a Spectrum FB page, Like Loving Lampposts, and now following LifeIsASpectrum on twitter.

And I already follow you on twitter @heatherlisa82

I liked Loving Lampposts on FB

I liked Life is a Spectrum on FB and left you a comment :)

Follow you on Twitter @ASDsupportNC

Total 11 comments

We took the kids to see Toy Story 3 today. Awesome. Really, it was one of the best films I've seen in a


long time, and Dave and I both wept at the end. (Looking at me curiously, Billy said, "Mama has a hurchy eye.")

My problem is with the pre-show. We are a well-oiled machine, with a meticulously timed schedule. I don't waste one minute more than I have to on the pre-movie countdown, because I have only a certain amount of hidden snacks and juice in the diaper bag, and they have to keep the kids happy for the whole film.

Once the lights went down and the trailers started, I was pulling out raisins and graham crackers and goldfish and thermoses as quietly as I could when Billy announced loudly, "We're having a picnic!" Hey, it's not my fault my kid is a picky eater and would rather eat crayons than popcorn. When they start stocking graham crackers at the snack counter, I'll start paying the $7.50 to buy it from them ... maybe.

Anyway, half an hour later, we had been sitting through previews for some of the most abysmal looking child entertainment I could imagine when Billy turned to me and said, "I want to go home."

Yeah, I don't blame you.

There really should be tighter controls on how many commercials they can run at the beginning of kids' films. I used to look forward to trailers. Now I'm so exhausted by the end of them that I can rarely remember what movie we were going to see.

Luckily for us, Toy Story 3 started right about the time Billy's patience ran out, and he loved it so much that as soon as the lights came up at the end, he shouted, "More Buzz Lightning! Fast-forward please!" (what he tells us at home when commercials come on during our DVR-ed copies of TS 1 & 2).

Toys Story 3 was great. But here's a warning: If the previews of upcoming films are anything to go by, we parents are in for a rough few months this fall.

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