Tuesday, February 12, 2013


18, 532.  That's how many balls were displayed in the Utah-shaped enclosure.  I showed up late to the event on Capitol Hill, and there was only clean-up to do.  I held out a big plastic bag while Home Depot volunteers scooped balls into it with a shovel.  We filled up bag after bag, until the pit was not very deep.

Mirella said, "At some point, it's easier to pick them up one-by-one," so I squatted down and started picking up balls.  After a few minutes, I stopped and looked at the ball in my hand.  This is a child I'm holding.

We had bags and bags of them...big bags, stuffed to the brim, and there were still so many on the floor.  I looked at the bags against the wall and the remainder in the pit.  I wonder which one of them is Ben?

I don't know if this display had any effect on our legislators, but it got me right in the feels.

So, that's a lot of balls kids.  I was impressed by Senator Mayne when SB55 was discussed in the Business and Labor committee.  She was an educator for many years and talked about seeing the impact of autism on not just the kids, but the families too.

I shouted at my monitor when I heard this Fox News story on the meeting.  Towards the 2:30 mark, the reporter says something like "there are about 18,000 parents watching this debate with a real investment in its outcome."  I'm sure it was just a brain fart on his part, but it usually takes 2 parents to make a child, so that would be 36,000.

It's not easy to be the sibling of an autistic kid either.  Utah has the highest rate of children per couple in the country, but let's say it's 2 for easy math.  Two grown-ups and two kids times 18,532 = 74,128 people whose lives will be directly impacted by this bill.  It's not as straightforward as that, of course -- some people have multiple autistic kids, and this bill won't affect uninsured people, and so on.  On the other hand, I'm not including grandparents or classmates or friends or co-workers or any of the other relationships that wind up being altered by one kid with autism.  When you help one kid...just one, you are helping all those people too.

Okay, enough talk...time to go make dinner.  A family's got to eat.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, I forgot about uncles. Uncles are part of that equation, and can be pretty damned awesome.


No bots, please.