I felt a distant rumble as I walked away from that conversation. It felt like the start of an avalanche, high in the mountains above, as you stand in the valley below. You stand in the warm spring air, the sun shining upon you, knowing that if you don't take emergency measures NOW you will be buried under tons of snow and ice. You start shouting and running, trying to warn everyone surrounding you of the frozen fury that is about to rain down upon them. But they look at the green grass and blooming flowers, feel the warmth of the sun and shake their heads. You are Chicken Little crying"The sky is falling". You point out the distant rumble that is getting closer every minute. They laugh and say it's just a train going by.
So you do your best to fortify what you can and try to save your family. But there has never been an avalanche in this valley. There is no evacuation route. There are no shelters. You furiously start throwing together what you can with the limited time and resources that you have. Off in the distance, you see a person here or there doing the same as you are. You know if you could combine resources you would all have a better chance of survival. But there is no time. So you nod at each other, offer a slight wave and continue with your own preparations. All the while the rumble is getting closer and it is picking up speed.
Many of you are reading this and are thinking "That's sad but it doesn't affect me or my family. I've got my own crap going on." Oh my friend, you could not be more wrong!! There is an avalanche coming for you and there is no place for us to direct it.
- The U.S. cost of autism over the lifespan is about $2.4 million for a person with an intellectual disability, or $1.4 million for a person without intellectual disability.