I just read a FaceBook post about the obligations of people who earn a living through helping those with Autism Asperger’s, and it got me thinking. The writer feels that if the passion is truly about generating awareness and knowledge that giving of ourselves for free shouldn’t be a problem. Yes I do AGREE with that … to a point. Let me explain.
You see, I have a child with Asperger's Syndrome, who will be our responsibility for life – emotionally and financially. My reality is I need to earn an income, alongside my husband, so that our combined incomes will provide for the 3 of us for our lifetime and his. (Whatever those needs might be – therapy, support, his rent (it’s his right to live independently), groceries and so on.
At the beginning of our journey with ASD I was passionate that awareness and knowledge were key to changing attitudes, and to that end I delivered my Sensory Detective workshop for free. That is, I travelled around Queensland, at my own expense (travel costs, accommodation, time) and delivered my workshop to schools and support groups.
I donated (and still do) 10 – 20 sets of my books each year to individual families or schools, at a dollar value of $1000 - $2000- per year.
In the past I volunteered to facilitate the Adult ASD Social Group every 3 weeks for nearly 2 years.
I donate my time to talk to community groups such as My Time and the local ASD Support Group 2 or 3 times a year, and I always invite 6 – 8 people to attend my workshops for free everywhere I present. I field phonecalls 24/7 from parents, Carers and ASD people themselves when they’re in crisis or feeling isolated and alone.
I do all this for my son AND for your son or daughter. This is my passion and what drives me.
The Autism Asperger’s community is MY community, my people, and I will ALWAYS give back – I just don’t advertise it. I also align myself with other Professionals who feel the same and give of themselves freely and often – those who go the extra mile. We ARE out there, but we’re usually the one’s who are going quietly about our advocacy work, rather than “blowing our own horns” about how good we are and what we’ve done or do.
“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time: they just have the heart – Elizabeth Andrew”.