(Update: I’m bumping this to the top of my blog again today, since it’s now the last day of April.)
During the 2007 edition of Dan O’Day’s International Radio Creative and Production Summit, I learned that Steve Stone and I have something in common beyond the fact that we both do voiceovers. And it’s that point in common that prompts today’s post. It’s a letter Steve has written and is distributing as far and wide as I can. And no, aside from our common work interests, this has nothing to do with voiceover. Here is Steve’s letter…
April is here, and with that something very close to my heart. It’s Autism Awareness Month. Even more specific is World Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday April 2nd. Autism has become a silent epidemic. Did you know that one in every 150 children born today will be effected by Autism?
I’m truly blessed to have a wonderful wife (Leslie) and family. We have three young children, Jacob (9), Joey (5) and Julia (4). When our first child Jacob was born, my wife and I had no idea what was waiting for us. As Jacob got older, he wasn’t developing socially like other kids his age. He would throw tantrums that lasted for hours, he would obsess over the same toy, or word, he couldn’t look in our eyes, and what crushed me was that when showing him affection….it wasn’t reciprocal. There were many nights my wife would cry herself to sleep because of the stress, and the not knowing what was ailing him. Soon after at the age of 4, Jacob was found to have Aspeger’s Syndrome (AS).
WHAT IS ASPERGER’S?
Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder that is part of the autism spectrum. Signs and symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome include:
* Engaging in one-sided, long-winded conversations, without noticing if the listener is listening or trying to change the subject
* Displaying unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures
* Showing an intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects, such as baseball statistics, train schedules, weather or snakes
* Appearing not to understand, empathize with, or be sensitive to others’ feelings
* Having a hard time “reading” other people or understanding humor
* Speaking in a voice that is monotonous, rigid or unusually fast
* Moving clumsily, with poor coordination
* Having an odd posture or a rigid gait
It’s an everyday struggle, Jacob has been in therapy for more than four years. The constant battle with anxiety and his paralyzing rigidity is overwhelming at times for my wife and me. To make things twice as hard our middle child Joseph has been diagnosed with Asperger’s as well. Again make no mistake Autism is an epidemic. I’m not asking for your money, I’m asking for your help in raising awareness.
After all we are in the “media” business right?
HBO recently debuted a documentary called “Autism: The Musical“, which has received great reviews for it’s intimate look into the world of Autism.
There is also a feature film documentary that is making the rounds at film festivals, about a teenage boy with Asperger’s.
The most comprehensive information can be found at
Autism Spectrum Disorders can be overwhelming for parents and families, early intervention is key.
I’m happy to say that both Jacob and Joey are making great strides, and are learning to cope.
Thanks for your time.
Thank you, Steve. Cinda and I also have a son with autism. Brian is his name. He is our youngest son. He’s 10 and doing amazingly well. But, we too want to be sure you know about the importance of this month and this day. Thank you for reading.