by Katie Batagianis
Recently, while my husband and I were watching a basketball game on television, I noticed that one of the coaches was wearing a lapel pin in the shape of a puzzle piece, the nationally recognized symbol for Autism Spectrum Disorder. I looked up the coach, Jason Kidd of the Brooklyn Nets, and discovered that one of his players, point guard Deron Williams, has a son with autism.
I’m not sure why, but this caught me off guard. I suppose it’s because celebrities often seem untouchable, immune to the problems of the real world. But discovering that this wealthy, famous, and successful person’s life was touched by autism made me realize, in a way I never had before, that the disorder is no respecter of persons. No one is safe – not Deron Williams’ son, not my twelve year old nephew or my ten year old niece – no one. Which is why raising funds for autism research, awareness and support is so critical.
If you know someone with autism, I would encourage you to get involved with an autism fundraiser. My family has participated in Jack’s Walk, the Johnson County Autism Support Group fundraiser, for eight years now. And last year, I participated in the Walk Now For Autism Speaks event in Indianapolis for the first time, and I am excited to say I will do so again on May 31. I would also encourage involvement for those who do not know someone with autism. After all, with skyrocketing autism rates – 1 in 68 U.S. children, according to the recent CDCP study – chances are that someday you will.
Learn More about Jack’s Walk
Learn More about Walk Now for Autism Speaks
Katie Batagianis serves The Arc Master Trust as Trust Account Manager