speechifying and awareness

(Edit: Major faux pas on my part.  I was completely unaware of the Wordless Wednesday” phenomena.  I promise to be completely wordless next week.  *Side note, I think Husband is really excited about the idea of me being wordless and will probably try to convince me to have wordless Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and so on as an “at home activity”.  That being said, here is my post for today, words and all.)

I don’t know if it has already been mentioned, but Husband and I are currently full-time college students (better late than never, right?) and are taking a summer session oral communications class which means a huge portion of our grade is based on our ability to give a speech.  Yikes!  Actually, we are almost finished with the semester and, I’m happy to inform, we have both survived unscathed and neither of us have fainted or embarrased ourselves in that fashion.  I don’t know about Husband, but despite the nervous shakes and queasiness, I have enjoyed giving my speeches.  Like any mouthy Autism mom, (I’m not ashamed to admit it) I took the opporunity to talk about Autism awareness for my informative speech, and about the importance of vaccinations for my persuasive speech.

This has been a positive experience on a couple of levels.  For starters, ever since I gave my informative speech, several people in the class have approached me and told me their stories about grandchildren, children of friends, etc who have Autism, or are suspected to have it.  Ever since my son was diagnosed last year, I have had very few experiences with being able to talk to others about this and the face-to-face dialogue is so refreshing.

One thing I’ve noticed is that even though we may differ on opinions about medications or whether or not Autism is a “disease,” we share a commonality.  Take away the controversy over vaccines and all the other sensationalism we encounter in the Autism community, we do have one thing in common that outweighs all those other things and that is our love for these amazing, beautiful people in our lives who just happen to have Autism.  I have really enjoyed the opportunity to be able to connect with others in these situations; to be able to rejoice in the triumphs together or shed a tear about something that hurts.

I was also very excited when I wasn’t the only one who chose to speak about Autism or Autism-related causes.  One very nice lady in our class made a speech today about her grandson who was diagnosed at the age of five with Aspergers.  Since his diagnosis, he has made some amazing breakthroughs, including wanting to see a fireworks show for the first time this year after a lifetime of being terrified of the event.  I was really moved by her speech and her love and pride for her grandson.  Also, a young woman in the class mentioned philanthropic work her sorority does in the name of Autism Speaks.

I hate to sound like a gushing dork, but I feel really pumped about this awarenessy-ness.  Sure, our class is pretty small by college standards, but no one is an island and each of the people in class will hopefully take what we have talked about to heart and share it with others in their lives.  It is a powerful thing to be a part of that.  To consider how my research (and boy, have I been doing that!) will benefit others.  I highly recommend this activity and the feeling that comes with it to others.