As the parent of a child, 5-year old Elijah, who is on the autism spectrum, I must share with you the attached video (see below) that is the beginning of the song I wrote this year to tell Elijah’s story. The story you see when you watch the video is told from the viewpoint of an advocate father, but is so much more than that.
It’s about the AEA team that started to see Elijah at 15 months, the Pocahontas Community School district that welcomed Elijah as its youngest member, September 2009 at 2 years 9 months, the commitment to excellence and overcoming odds as Elijah’s entire team of educators stood hand in hand to fight the uphill battle that is autism with his parents, family and friends. It’s the mutual sharing of joy and pain, but at the end of the day, it’s the story of Elijah…that despite budget cuts, reducing staff, and other obstacles thrown his way along with his disorder…the child that didn’t fall through the cracks.
I stand here today fully in support of the Area Education Agency and the job they do for early intervention services. I was recently quoted in the Pocahontas Record-Democrat, regarding an upcoming golf tournament fundraiser benefiting the AEA, as saying, “The AEA is a prime example of a wonderful organization, with hard-working people who are passionate about their work, which is severely underfunded. What results is children like Elijah are stuck on waiting lists for the resources that can help them learn to the best of their ability. We should never have a world where money is more important that giving children the opportunity to learn.”
Each day of my life I will not only fight for the quality of life for Elijah, but also for those who follow in his footsteps, those who aren’t the 1 in 88 like Elijah, but the one in 50, the one in so many. Please join us in fighting because “we won’t wait, tomorrow’s a future we can create. All it takes is someone like you…”