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I think inclusion is the most important thing we can do to unite a community together. It is a goal of the Autism Awareness Festival to help families and individuals with disabilities to feel they are a vital, needed part of the community. It can bring lonely, isolated, desperate lives into the sunshine of acceptance by being a part of something valued.

HOW does it do this?

Think about what is important to you. Is it your family? Friends? Education? Job?

Think about WHY that matters…

It may be because you find purpose in them. But WHY?

Probably because you are included and a valued part of that group. Your contribution matters to someone. If you weren’t there you would be missed. I think this gives us the greatest satisfaction, knowing our relationship matters. We all want to be needed, not left in isolation or segregation because we are “different”.

It can be frightening to reach out to someone not like yourself and ask them to join you in a shared activity. What will I say to a non-speaking person? What will I do if they have a meltdown? That risk may provide the greatest gift of all. You will learn more about yourself and how beautiful another human can be. It takes courage with understanding and patience to get to know the soul of another. We need to stop looking at the outside and start seeing each other as God sees us….as lights reflecting His Glory!

So, will you reach out today and include someone new in your life?

I hope so, because it means everything to me.

Hope to have you at the Autism Festival Saturday, April 28th. Remember to include someone with you even if they are different!


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