So, yesterday the “new” CDC numbers for Autism were released. 1 in 88 children in the U.S. 1 in 54 boys. (Insert jaw drop) I am a fact-finder. Always have been…I am someone who is comforted by statistics, data, and evidence. (Shut-up…I know…my kid comes by it naturally…)
Anyway, when I saw the numbers, my stomach churned. That is a BIG number. That means that more and more children are struggling. Are affected by a neurological disorder with varying severity and degrees. Are receiving the same (but not) diagnosis. And, well, the number didn’t comfort me. No. It kind of smacked me upside the head and said, “wake up”. For, these aren’t “numbers” we are talking about. No. These are PEOPLE. People…like my son.
Too many people. Just too many. The numbers don’t say anything, really, other than more children are affected by Autism. More families. More siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and on, and on….
I want to clarify that Tate isn’t represented by the new numbers. We didn’t get his diagnosis until 2011. But he’s here. He counts. And, most importantly, he is so much more than a number.
Tate is a character. He has charm. He has a zest for life. He loves music, rhythm, movement. He enjoys playing (yes, he plays) Candyland, Super Mario Brothers, and bubbles. He loves letters. He loves to count. He can read sight words. He communicates (with some difficulty, but he can and does communicate). He is a son. A brother.
My son, Tate, has a face. He is someone. He counts.