Here’s a worthy cause to support. And it’s primarily about raising awareness, not money.
In solidarity with the everyday challenges of autism, my friend Paul is chopping off his dreadlocks after 15 years. In his case, that’s literally half a lifetime. I’d cue the proverbial drum roll, but there’s no need. Paul has created a YouTube clip which builds up the suspense beautifully.
Here’s his rationale:
It’s not hard to tell that I love my dreadlocks. I’ve had them for nearly 15 years and to this day I regularly get random compliments from strangers who love my hair too. The problem is I love them too much. So much that I’m terrified of losing them! That’s why I’ve had them for so long and that’s why I’ve decided to cut them off!!
3 months ago I discovered I have Aspergers Syndrome (sometimes referred to as high functioning autism). Since then I’ve come face to face with all the coping strategies I use to make sure you never know I’m struggling. It’s time to leave them behind and face the world without my mask.
Kids on the autism spectrum face hidden challenges every day. I am taking on this challenge in solidarity with them. They need inspiration, encouragement and support, just like me. It’s not easy. It may LOOK easy… but it’s NOT! It’s actually terrifying!! Even though the chop date is weeks away I can already feel my hands shaking as I type this.
My ‘I Can’ challenge is to cut my hair and leave behind my crutch, my gimmick, my safety blanket, along with the image and identity I’ve had for my entire adult life.
So please support me by sharing my story with your friends and helping to raise awareness for AWEgust of AWEtism and the I Can Network’s work enabling kids on the spectrum to achieve their dreams.
And here’s another video of Paul’s, which goes into fascinating detail, not only about the importance of one man’s dreadlocks, but also about the daily lived experience of Asperger’s Syndrome.
I am close to several people on the autism spectrum. No doubt you are too, whether you know it or not. You can learn more at Paul’s blog: Asperger’s from the inside.