Raising Autism Awareness on the Fourth of July
This post is by Sarah Hamilton
After the Chicago Walk Now for Autism Speaks, our family and friends were so revved up to do something more that we came up with the idea to raise autism awareness in our local community – South Elgin, Ill. – and decided to walk in the 4th of July parade. As we brainstormed, with the help of Autism Speaks, we came up with the idea for the float. We liked the big puzzle pieces that were at the walk and thought that would be perfect for a float. We all wore our “Cole’s Crew” shirts to the parade because this year, our t-shirts just happened to feature red and blue (very patriotic!).
The night before the parade we started working on the float and put the finishing touches on it as we were lined up to start the parade. Everyone was so excited! My son Cole, who is autistic and who I thought wouldn’t like this kind of thing, was really into it! He liked riding in the back of the truck and though he didn’t say anything during the parade, later that day he told me he had fun!
During the parade, we heard many people commenting, “Thank you for doing this” or “my cousin/sister/brother, etc. is autistic” or “it is so good to see something like this”. When our float was being announced during the parade, many people stood up for us and clapped or cheered (although many were waving and cheering along the route as well). Some people looked like they were wondering what our float was about, and I hope those are the people who went home and looked up Autism Speaks!
We ran out of goodies to give out to the crowds lining the street and we were all tired, but it was such a great day and such a great way to raise awareness! After the parade we got many compliments on the float – some people even said it was the best in the whole parade. All the family and friends that walked with us have already posed the question of doing this again next year…………
Definitely a success!