Amy

Dear Mr. President and First Lady Michelle Obama,

Every year, the same day comes. Crunch! go the crisp leaves under your feet, twirling around in the cool, late autumn breeze, before coming to land on the earth below. Children race from house to house, their sneaker-covered feet thumping across the pavement, waiting for the door to open, to see the face of whoever lives there, voices ringing out in a choir of “Trick or treat!” when the moment finally arrives.

I am, of course, talking about Halloween: the time of ghosts, goblins, bobbing apples, and mini-sized candies filling up plastic buckets across the nation. And with the spirit of frivolity and mischievous fun also comes words of caution, issued forth by parents far and wide. From elementary school onward, every kid knew the most important Halloween rule of all: Never go to a house that doesn’t have any lights on.

A light is a symbol of welcome. Come, the light says. This is a safe place. For centuries, a lantern hanging outside of a building meant hospitality, and a darkened establishment meant emptiness—a place to be avoided. Today, we still have lights on the front of our houses, and when we know company is coming, it is often custom to leave the light on.

For individuals with autism spectrum disorders, however, the houses we encounter—be they school, a disability service center, even the place we supposedly call home—are often dark. We have been outcast, shunned, bullied, pushed around by a system that itself sits in darkness. There is no welcome for us, Mr. President. Time and again, we look for the light on the front of the house, and it is nowhere to be found.

Too often, people on the autism spectrum spend their entire lives in these dark houses. We have met rejection even at the hands of our own families, whose inability to understand our diagnosis and who we are leads to prolonged emotional and social isolation—a painful reminder of how much we don’t fit in, even with those whose blood we share.

And yet, with our honesty, loyalty, and compassionate natures, the houses we build as adults stay lit. We grow up; we find our way in this world that is not built for people like us, persevering, and despite the pain we have felt and the heartaches we have suffered, we let others in, not wanting them to face the same dark houses in which we once lived.

It is for these reasons and so many others, Mr. President and First Lady Michelle, that I am asking you to light the White House blue on April 2nd this year, in honor of World Autism Awareness Day. Our voices have typically not been those that are heard in the arena of politics, but with a single action, this can change . By taking part in this campaign, you will bring hope and encouragement  to countless individuals on the autism spectrum and their loved ones. Stand with the autism community, and let your commitment to our cause shine bright.

Let your house be one with the lights on.

- Amy Gravino

Self-Advocate, Writer, Asperger’s Syndrome College Coach

http://www.amygravino.com

59 Comments »

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  1. please light the whitehouse up BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Please light the White House blue for those who can not speak for themselves, for those who need us to advocate for them, for those so deserving of understanding and respect; for my little girl, Sage, a five year old who is beautiful, intelligent and the love of my life.

  3. There are many countries lighting special buildings blue..Why can’t we light the building that means so much to us blue? Please Please Please..Light The White House Blue!! We need to know our president and first lady support this cause.

  4. I am going out ronight to buy some blue light bulbs for the lights inside and outside my house!!!! We are going BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take Care, keep up the great work. A great cause and needs more people to be involved!!!

  5. Beautiful letter, Amy! Please join us, President & First Lady Obama.

  6. They did the empire state building last year. Let’s go bigger this year. We need to spread the word of Autism! Like someone else has said, when the white house was lit up pink for breast cancer many people researched more about it just for that simple fact! Let’s come together and help others understand :)

  7. AMY THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL AND EXCELLENT IDEA! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU’RE DOING FOR THIS MOST IMPORTANT AND URGENT CAUSE.

  8. What a beautiful letter, Amy! Thank you so very much for putting so gracefully into words what others of us feel in our hearts! All of us immersed in some way on the Autism Spectrum need a safe place! And what more fitting place should that safe house be in the United States of America but the People’s House, ALL people! OUR White House!

    PLEASE! Light the White House Blue for Autism Awareness! Give us hope to think we are safe here so that my son may grow up to know he is safe and welcome and to feel he has hope that he can still live his American Dream beyond the Autism Spectrum!

    Karen
    http://www.chameleoninthespectrum.wordpress.com

  9. Mr. Obama,
    Light your house up blue for our son, Timothy. 1 in 150 with autism.

  10. We light our house’s blue and it will lead to chatter around the neighborhood, you light your house blue and it will lead to chatter around the nation and beyond. Be the voice that needs to be heard with just a simple light bulb.

  11. Please light the White House blue in honor o Special Education week, and in HONOR of all the children who need a little extra help, patience & understanding.

  12. Please light the White House Blue. Autism is amazing and so are the ones who have it. My baby Aiden is 3 and was diagnosed when he was 2. He is amazing and the light of my life. Please do you part to light it up Blue. We can take care of the rest by informing people and telling why the White House is Blue. We dont mind.

  13. Light it up Mr. President!

  14. Just imagine the attention that can come to those that are on the spectrum by lighting up the white house blue on april 2nd. this couls shed a whole new light on autism and bring awareness to those who really have no clue!Let the loudest voice in the world Mr. President speak for those who are often not heard. God Bless our children!

  15. We’ll be watching here in Canada!! The United States truly sets a better example of Autism Research and funding than here, so please don’t disappoint and light the White House Blue for those of us who are Advocates for Autism here in Canada!

  16. Please light the White House blue for those who are unaware of Autism Spectrum disorders exisit! Please do so, my son is constantly rejected from his peers, and what can be as simple as to bring light (blue light) to make the american people question and educate, become aware, and tolerate for our differences in this country we all embrace but simply forget.

  17. Please light up the White House blue on April 2nd.
    It would make my son who is 8 and has Aspergers sooo happy:))

  18. Mr President, I ask that you please light up the White House for one night for my brother who has been living with Autism for the past twenty-three years.

  19. Just because you cannot speak doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to say. Send a message to all the families who center their lives around this disorder, all its quirks, danger, heartbreak, and humor. Let us know you care. I bought my blue lightbulb. Have you?

  20. Please light the White House blue or at least one lamp? I don’t want to see tax dollars wasted on blue lightbulbs but rather that you increase funding for Autism programs and services. By the way I am a mother of a young adult who happens to have autism and is also blind.

    Thank you!

  21. Mr. President, in your home at the White House, please join us in lighting our homes with blue lights to draw attention to the plight of my grandchildren, Maddie and Caleb, and all those 1 in 100 children who are diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum. Thank you for helping draw attention of the American people to this disorder as you help educate and teach tolerance and differences in fellow Americans.

  22. Mr. President ,
    please sir…..light the white house blue on April 2nd. I am the very proud Uncle of two wonderful boys with autism. Marcus and Brian Alan have a love and innocence that few ” normal” people can conceive.
    I love them everyday. Why not join me for just one?

  23. This letter could have been written by anyone of the families that is touched by this disorder and comes straight out of my heart. Help us lend a voice to those that haven’t found theirs yet. Light your house up for my 5 year old son Luke and everyone else out there; my house will be.

  24. Beautiful letter Amy!President Obama please light the White House blue, to help raise awareness of Autism.

  25. Today is my son’s birthday. And for him I ask you, Mr. President and Mrs. First Lady, to Light it UP BLUE!!!!! We’ll be lighting ours up, I hope we can count on you too!

  26. In a world that still struggles with acceptance of any and all that don’t fit the every day critirias set forth by society, please light up your house Mr. President and allow all of us to feel your support. Light it up for my little boy Ryan, the most loving, intelligent, and amazing child I could have ever whished for. We support you, please show us your support.

  27. [...] Gravino, self-advocate, writer, and Asperger’s Syndrome College Coach, wrote this letter to President Obama urging him to light The White House blue.Please leave your comments on the blog, time is running [...]

  28. Ditto what they all said, please.

  29. Mr. President please show your support for those on the autism spectrum and their families. This is a national issue! Please, show us some love.

  30. Please help celebrate these precious children and adults Mr. President and First Lady. My son is a beautiful little boy who is in the spectrum. This is the CHANGE that we are looking for!

  31. In loving memory of my nephew Roger, who passed at the age of 9 on January 2, 2005 and for the lessons he taught all whose lives he touched especially me as I deal with my own son Matthew and his autism, I beg you let the light shine blue on the White House for this one day.

  32. Very well expressed,,,thanks for supporting the cause amy…

  33. please mr.president light it up blue

  34. Well written Amy!!! Let’s hope they take some action!!!

  35. Mr. President please turn the White House Blue!! I’m the mother of a 5yr old boy who is on the autism spectrum. This would mean so mean so much to all of us who love someone on the spectrum. Show your support for our Special children Thank you

  36. my little girl is non verbal but her smile says everyword i need to hear come on mr president

  37. Mr. President, I voted for you because I believed you would stand up for what is right, and you would count the uncounted. The number of people with autism is growing every day. Please count those people by lighting up the White House blue on April 2nd! My 8 year old has autism, and is smart enough to change the world, but he needs your help to do it. The world is full of challenges despite his brightness. It would be a tragedy to waste his potential. LIGHT IT UP BLUE!!!

  38. Well said for those that can and cannot. Please, light it up blue, Mr. President.

  39. Mr. President and Family, Since you’ve been President, we have seen how devoted you are to your own family and how you are interested in our youth, our future. Please, for the sake of those with Autism, who try so hard to fit in our society, light up the White House blue. I have a 21 year old son with Asperger’s. I’ve fought for him, cried with him, hoped with him since I first met him when he was three. I adopted him 12 years ago even though he was my “child by heart” years before. Please, Mr. President, consider our request. Just one light, in one window can help spread awareness of Autism and it’s spectrum disorders. Thank you.

  40. So many landmarks will be lit up blue for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd. Our family will be spending the weekend in the Big Apple to watch the Empire State Building turn blue. How awesome would it be if the White House followed suit and was lighted blue too! Please Mr. President, show the Autism community that you support our families and that we matter with a simple gesture of turnng the white house blue this weekend. Thank you!

  41. Mr. President I implore you, please light the White House blue on April 2nd. I am the very very proud Uncle of two autistic young men, Markus and Brian Alan. These boys have posses a love and innocence most “normal” people can’t conceive. I love these boys with all my soul every single day….why not join me for just one day?

  42. Please Mr. President let’s have a day “blue” for each of our families that have been affected by autism. Hope is what gives us the energy to understand our children and to help them be whatever they want to be. The sky is the limit !

  43. I bought my blue lights yesturday. Showing my son, who is on the spectrum that we have “BLUE POWER!” Mr. President the White House is one of the single most recognizable establishments that represents OUR Country. Showing your support will make a huge statement to other business and citizens that they should be part of the “LIGHT IT UP BLUE” Campaign. Please be our leader in this cause. Our kiddos need the White House to show their support. Thank you in advance for making the right choice on this cause.

    Great letter Amy!!!

    Sincerely,

    Traci Heffernan

  44. Please light the White House blue for my son Steven who is 5. He may not be able to ask you to do this himself, but the light you shed on autism may very well affect his and so many others lives. Please do not let the White House be another dark door step for our family.

  45. I think it is a great idea!!!! Here’s hoping the white house turns blue to raise awareness! Wish my little autism angel (Madelyn) and I could come from Australia tl see it :) xo

  46. Well stated! Please, Mr. President, light that house up blue! Do it for the children and do it because it is the right thing to do. Do it for my 2 of the 1 in 150 with Autism! You will lead by example and that example means acceptance, awareness and understanding. Please!

  47. Be the (blue) light of the world on World Autism Awareness Day.

  48. Please Light up Blue for Autism Awareness. Finally I have an IEP for my son Austin, after 3 years of fighting. Daycare assistants were like he does not like to sit in groups or socialize at all. He only will do work one on one. Today I have to repeat the same to every Principal and every teacher or sub or specials teacher I encounter. I had to stand up for my son to receive help. In fact we are still trying to get him tested for Autism. He meets every diagnosis that should be Autism but has to have more tests. He is ADHD combined, anxiety disorder, communication and social disorder and destructive disorder. Teachers say a mystery child seems to be in his own little world. I strongly believe he has Autism but there are so many different spectrums it is hard for the doctors to even figure out. Again a child left in the darkness reaching out for help. Please support Autism. It is a disease like any disease. I treat my child like a normal child, even though I now something is wrong. I keep the faith in my child. He went from not being able to sit with 2 people, shaking in the car not wanting to get out if he saw two people, to be in cub scouts. It was a struggle, then I went with him and supported him even if we sat in the hall. We then joined the flag football team this was after the Colts came to Indiana. He got to go into the practice field at Anderson University and shake Peyton Manning’s hand. Peyton had let him and my dad into the field. Peyton Inspired my son. He started to play on a team, it was hard at times if it was a bad day and I knew he was not going to play we left but there were a few times he did actually play. Then he joined a basketball team a struggle again he sat the bench half the game and if it was not a good time or day we left. But we never gave up you have to keep trying you have to keep Autistic kids in the light you have to keep going.

  49. If you can light it up pink and green, you can do Blue for a GREAT cause… my two boys 10 & 3 have Autism… show your support! LIGHT IT UP BLUE!!!!!!

  50. ‘Enjoying The Hi-5s of Autism- A Family Experience’ social networkers and ‘EnjoyHi5Autism’ microbloggers hope U.S. President Barack H. Obama & First Lady Michelle and First Daughters Sasha & Malia will join our families as we ‘Light It Up Blue!’ for Autism Awareness.
    Throughout April, multitudes across the globe will show their support for people living om the Autism Spectrum. Kindly show your support for Autism research and fundraisers as you decorate the edifice, foyers and grounds of The White House in beautiful BLUE lights !
    Additionally, The U.S. First Family can wear blue flowers, accessories or clothing to ‘LightItUpBlue!’
    President Obama, we urge you to encourage the other Staffers and governmental buildings administrators to show unity with the ‘Light It Up Blue!’ campaign. Will you proclaim April as ‘Light It Up Blue’ for Autism Awareness Month? Our 5 year old son hopes you will.
    Everyone can show support for individuals with Autism. If you need anymore ideas, check with Autism Speaks, World Autism Awareness Day (4/2) and our Autism sites at http://familyenjoyinghi5autism.blogspot.com. Our families truly appreciate your your efforts to ‘Light It Up Blue!’
    God Bless,
    The KBJ Cosse’ Family

  51. Mr. President, I am a teacher and I see children in my school that are faced with autism everyday. They are beautiful children and their families are wonderful. Please support these children and families by showing that the most influential family in the world believes that they are special! LIGHT IT UP OBAMA’S!

  52. Dear President Obama.
    Please light it blue on April the 2nd for Autism Awareness. My son was diagnosed with autism last year.If you light it up blue for Autism for that day. You are showing your support in the Autism awareness that there are 1 out of 150 children are diagnosed with this disorder everyday.

    Thank you,

    Michelle Fleming

  53. This would be a great encouragement to all of us affected by this disorder. Please light up the White House in blue for Autism Awareness Day. Our kids deserve at least this much!!!

  54. As a 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor I see that even if a child has been given the challenge of being autistic, they still can be involved with the shooting sports. All they need is a little more time, a little more instruction and a great big hug.
    Even though green is the color of choice in this 4-H family, our home will have it’s blue light on on the 1st.

    Please Mr. President join us as we light it up blue to show our support of those who are affected by this. Be it a child, an adult or a whole family….they deserve our support. Thanks.

  55. Light it up!

  56. This brought tears to my eyes. I truly hope that the President feels the passion in your words and agrees to light the White House up with blue :)

  57. My son was diagnosed with Autism. After coming home from the Neurologist with that diagnosis, I was numb. That night I couldn’t sleep. I sat in my dark house just weeping. I didn’t know what to do, where to get help or what would happen with Nick. He was kicked out of preschool for his unusual behavior. No one understood. I wasn’t sure I even understood. That was 9 years ago. This post brought tears to my eyes because it reminded me of that awful evening.

    Today, I do understand. I educated myself, and became an advocate for my son. He is mainstreamed in school and is now learning to play the violin. He is a sweet, well mannered boy. His laugh is infectious and his sense of humor is extraordinary.

    He deserves a chance.

    Light it up Blue Mr. President and join us on this journey called “autism”.

  58. I think it has all been said so I will just add my request to please light it up blue.

  59. [...] Read the passionate and moving posts on the “Light the White House blue for autism awareness” blog that features incredible posts from Jess, Mrs. Sergeant Major, Suzanne, Kerry, Wills, Laura and Amy. [...]


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