No one except the 27,000 people at the Rose Bowl last weekend.
My sixth grade daughter and I joined the Kiwanis Kids Team from her school at the 10th annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks. She signed up because she thought it was a cool event and a great cause. I signed up to support her (and to get myself off the couch on a Saturday).
As an educator, I havent had many kids with Autism in my classes – only three spread over the last eight years of teaching preschool. Typically, kids with an Autism diagnosis are placed in a public preschool program rather than a private one.
We saw many large multi-generational family groups walking together to raise money and provide moral support to their loved ones. Many of these groups had team shirts reflecting the interests of the person with Autism: Transformers, Elmo, Thomas the Tank Engine, Superman, Sponge Bob, Tigers, even Angry Birds.
Many parents of children with Autism spoke before the walk including the actor Ed Asner. He has a son and a grandson with autism and he was a great encouragment to the crowd. My daughter especially enjoyed listening to him speak because shed met him in person about a year before. He couldnt have been sweeter to her, posing for pictures and admiring her freckles. She was interested to hear what he had to say about the walk and about Autism.
As we started to walk, she asked more questions about Autism. I was able to give her some answers even though I share a lot of her questions. Standing in the hot sun, listening to celebrities and corporate sponsors talk about Autism, I may not have gained much new head knowledge, but I certainly gained some new heart knowledge: Autism affects families, all kinds of families.
You can see some pictures here.