One Silent Minute…

Mister Rogers had such a major impact on me growing up. I advise you you to, in the words of Fred Rogers, to “Just take a minute, in honor of those that have cared about us all along the way. One silent minute…”

Who did you think of? Let me know in the comments. As for me personally? I have a LOT of people I thought of. And I can’t possibly think of them all in one mere minute. I would like to acknowledge just some of the people who have helped me and cared about me personally. Luckily as this is an online forum and not “live”, I am not necessarily limited to one minute. So today, I feel it’s time I give these people their dues.

Starting off by stating the obvious: my family. One person in particular I want to acknowledge and give a massive thanks to is my Mom. My Mom, I feel, has helped and cared for and about me more than anyone else I know. She is my biggest advocate. I think of my Mom as not just a parent, but also one of—if not—my best friends.

Next up is my Dad. Yes, I find him to be extremely annoying at times, but at the end of the day, he is still my Dad and has supported me in most of the things I do in my life.

Finally from the family category are my two younger sisters, Abbey and Caroline. Much like my Mom, my sisters and I are VERY close! Again, like my Mom, my sisters are among my biggest allies, advocates, supporters, and best friends!

Caroline in particular I want to give a special thank you to. A few years ago, I was invited to be a Keynote Speaker at a national Autism conference here in Baltimore. I had to fill a 90 minute time slot. Look, I love to talk—it’s my job—but there is no way in Hell I could talk about my diagnosis for a full hour and a half. That’s where Caroline comes into play. She offered to speak with me. She and I alternated roles. Caroline spoke about what it was like growing up with a sibling on the Autism Spectrum, and I talked about what it is like for me personally to have Autism. What makes this a highlight moment in my life was having my parents there, and being able to do it with Caroline up with there with me by my side. So Caroline, thank you a million times over!

Next I’d like to recognize the people I consider my “second family”. Those are all the people at my job, Pathfinders for Autism. From day one on the job as a self-advocacy trainer (I talk at hospitals and medical campuses about being Autistic and having medical issues), I just felt so at ease and comfortable, if not “at home” or in my element. Trish K. and Neal L. are the ones I interact with the most, but it’s the entire company I owe so much to. People including Shelly, Rebecca, Trish, Neal, BJ and Polly Surhoff…these are the people who helped me find my niche and my place in the Autism community here in Maryland.

Speaking of the Autism community, I want to give a special, massive, and heartfelt thank you to my Autism “hero” and “icon”, Dr. Rebecca Landa. Dr. Landa is a world-renowned person in her field of Autism research. She is the one who invited me to be the Keynote Speaker at the afore mentioned Autism conference. I am truly honored, humbled, and gratified to have an ally like her on my side.

Also thanks to my agency, Itineris. If it hadn’t been for Itineris, I never would have discovered Pathfinders, my place, and life’s calling. It’s been a great 9 years and thanks to everyone there!

Last but for damn sure not least, it’d be remiss of me if I didn’t mention my muse, best friend, and love of my life, Allison Love. Allie is a self-advocate like me. We have been dating for nearly a decade, and they really have been the best years of my life! Allie, I love you more than words can ever express! Thank you for always sticking by my side!

Thank you for reading! Thanks to all my readers and followers on WordPress. My life has been enriched by everyone mentioned in this post, and more! I feel truly blessed to have such a great life, and it is all thanks to everyone brought up in my post today.

So to go back to the initial Mister Rogers quote, “Take one silent minute in honor of those who have cared about us along the way.” Thanks for reading!

-Tom

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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