Posted by: Autism Speaks | March 3, 2010

Why I love Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Today’s post is by Jared of Utah.  Jared is the father of Avi and Itai. He is also the team captain of Avi’s Angels. Jared has a personal blog where he explained why he is always talking about the Walk.

So you may be asking yourself, “Why is Jared driving everyone crazy with this Walk?” I am, I know it. So first off, I’m sorry if I’m driving you crazy, but this is really important to me and I want you to know why.

Last year was our family’s first year in the Walk. We were still very new to the world of autism. We weren’t even sure if we wanted to participate. We were still reeling from the diagnosis and weren’t sure if we were ready for something as public as the Walk. I only knew a few people who had children with autism. I could feel the quizzical, and sometimes disapproving, looks from others when my son’s behaviors didn’t match their expectations. I wasn’t sure about exposing him so publicly, but as the Walk day neared we decided it was important to join the Walk. 

Before the Walk, I felt isolated and alone. But when we arrived at the Walk I was astounded by the number of people there. As we joined the walkers I was amazed at the cheers for the teams, the love, acceptance and support I felt for the parents, the siblings and especially the person with autism. I was so moved by the acceptance I struggled to hold back tears…several times. I loved feeling engulfed, enveloped and enwrapped in acceptance. It was validating to me as a parent. People understood the struggles and challenges that Debbie and I have and will face. It was accepting of Itai, for all of the challenges he will face as a sibling who loves and accepts his brother. And of course, it was accepting of Avi for who he is and who he can be.

My only regret about attending last year’s Walk is that we didn’t do more to include others. I saw huge teams gathering around one child with flags and t-shirts and cheers. How amazing for that child, who probably rarely gets recognized and praised to be surrounded, absolutely surrounded, by love. This is why I’m pestering everyone. I love Autism Speaks. I love the support and education they provide. I love the research they are doing and I want to help them achieve these goals, but my real goal is showing Avi that he is not alone. So thank you for joining us, for surrounding him and us.

The most important part of the Walk for me was learning that I was not alone. I was surrounded by people who understood and cared. I want every parent who is struggling with autism to feel that much love and compassion. I hope that every year is as magical as the first Walk we joined.



  1. Go Avi’s Angels!! :) Not having my own children with autism, I appreciated your sharing your feelings with me and it all makes me feel even more guilty for not showing up last year after we had been planning to. :( But count on us this year!

  2. What an amazing story!! Our first year we were a small team, just like you described and we felt exactly the way you did. Last year, we went all out. Although we did not raise a massive amount of money, our team was there, organized, and refused to be ignored!! From Will’s Warriors in Kansas City, we send you luck and understanding!!!!

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