An unwelcome silence

This blog has experienced its share of silences over the past couple of weeks. Last week was spring break, so Bruce and I headed with the girls to St. Louis for a few days. I was scheduled to present a paper at a conference, so we figured we’d take the opportunity to tour a city that I haven’t been to since I was a kid. Great fun.

Right before leaving B’ham, I sent out an op-ed about traveling last summer to Autism Care Nepal. The center and the people who make it a place of hope for families with a child experiencing signs of austism spectrum disorders (ASD) have become a personal passion for me, and I wanted to write a story about the disparity between talk and action for those afflicted with ASD in Nepal and in the U.S.

Drawing on the advice often given to freelance writers to pitch timely topics, I planned months ago to send out the op-ed in advance of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. The days are ticking away, and try as I might to be hopeful that the piece will be picked up, all I hear is, well, silence. Editors once known for a quick reply aren’t saying a word either way, and I’m left waiting.

Normally, I pick up my wounded essay (and corresponding pride) and repackage it for another editor, another media outlet. This time, though, the situation is different.

The folks who run Autism Care Nepal desperately need help to keep the services they provide available for families lacking the knowledge and resources to keep their children safe. More importantly, they seek encouragement to keep fighting for equal rights for individuals with ASD who currently are shunned–by teachers, grandparents, sometimes even fathers who believe that their child’s fate is the result of the mother’s bad karma. It seems that the path one forges in this life is plagued by unknown baggage from another time.

My fear is that if I am unable this time around to hang this op-ed on a news peg–a day devoted to people everywhere with ASD–then I may miss the opportunity to assist the wonderful families I met last summer. I’m hoping for an end to the silence.

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