“Autism is not a tragedy. Ignorance is the tragedy.”

He made it here ten years ago on January 1st.  He had a head full of dark hair.  I still say I’ve never seen so much hair on somebody so new to the world.   He was an instant fixture in our hearts.  When you think about babies, you often think about how many great things you are going to teach them, you never really think about all the great big things they are gonna teach you.  They do though. They all end up schooling you more than you thought and Jeremy is no exception to that rule. Through Jeremy,  ve’ve all learned the buttons on our DVD players, much more about Phineas and Ferb than we thought we would, and we’ve learned a lot about what Autism is and is not. Jeremy, has taught us so many great big wonderful things since he’s been here.

April is Autism Awareness Month and I wish I had thought about doing this earlier this month.  I chose the title for this blog from a  quote I found online  and thought it fit perfect. I don’t know who said it, or who wrote it but I think it’s a common feeling.   I asked his mom, Vanessa, what she’d want others to know about Autism and and about Jeremy.  Vanessa writes: ” The main thing for me is acceptance. Autism isn’t a disease, it’s a learning disability. Autism doesn’t mean you are stupid, you just learn in a different way. Jeremy is a unique child with different quirks, but that’s what makes him so great.”

Vanessa also said, ” When he was diagnosed I was devastated. I didn’t think he could have any quality of life. Jeremy has come a long way with a lot of hard work but I’ve enjoyed watching his ‘Little Light Bulb”  light up when he gets something. I get so tired of people saying Autism is a form of mental retardation. That’s the only thing that can be accepted on paper for these kids to get help. I’m overcome with pride this week because Jeremy started riding the bus. I swallowed all my fears and let him do it. I was holding him back because I was scared. Jeremy is one of the bravest kids I know, the only thing is he’s just being a normal kid. He knows he has Autism and Type 1 diabetes but it doesn’t bother him. I see great things happening for him. I’m sorry to be rambling on about how great he is. It’s just that seven years ago I never thought he would’ve come so far.”

I think Vanessa has every right to ramble on about how great Jeremy is.  I think it should be shouted on the roof tops.  We live in a world where it’s so easy to get hung up on stereotypes and labels. Wanting acceptance is not asking others to look over our differences.  Our differences are what make us the same really, because we all have them. We weren’t created with a cookie cutter.  Wanting acceptance is asking for the world to become aware that we may do things in a way that works for us and no one else, but at the end of the day we are still  individuals, personalities, everything that make us human. S.L. Coelho has this quote and I love it: “Autism, is part of my child, it’s not everything he is. My child is so much more than a diagnosis.” Jeremy wouldn’t want you to define him solely by autism,  just as I would hope you wouldn’t define me solely by size, or by my heart, or by my photography. Jeremy is more than a kid with autism.  People, are complex. You can’t just label and and throw everyone into a box.

For more information about Autism please visit: http://www.autismspeaks.org/

  • Jaclyn - Jeremy is an amazing young man. Mandy I adore all of your photos (as you already know!)ReplyCancel

    • Mandy - I think he’s pretty amazing too! Love you. :)ReplyCancel

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