Today I received an email telling me one of my baskets was featured on a "treasury" on the Etsy site. You can view the treasury at: www.etsy.com/treasury_list_west.php?room_id=81219. The treasury features Etsians that are involved in raising awareness about autism. My shop announcemet tells of my membership in Etsy for autism and that 10% of my revenue for sales at Etsy goes to the Geneva Centre for Autism in Toronto, a world renowned centre for autism research.
I am thankful for this listing since it will lead to more views of my work as well as aiding in increasing autism awareness. However, my advocacy efforts, those of my wife, Anne, and the work we have done here in Ottawa and for many years in Red Lake have been focussed on raising awarenes not only about autism but also about all people with developmental disabilities.
We were privileged in Red Lake to be associated with Harmony Centre for Community Living. This organisation was established to work with all people with disabilities: people with developmental disabilities, people with physical disabilities and people with emotional disabilities. Our son, a person with autism, had his work, his recreation and his home provided through Harmony Centre. He lived and worked for example with people with Down Syndrome, with a person who was blind, with a person recovering from the loss of a limb, and with people with psychiatric disorders.
From 2001, when we moved to Ottawa, we continued to work through the Families Matter Co-operative Inc. for all people with developmental disabilities. Our lobbying efforts were for all such people, and were not limited to people with autism.
One of the sad features of our culture is that groups with particular emphases too often compete with each other for sparse dollars rather than cooperating with each other. I applaud the cooperation between groups lobbying for the removal of barriers that affect people with physical disabilities and groups lobbying for the removal of less visible barriers for those people with developmental disabilities.
My Grandfather was a carpenter and a member of a carpenters' Union. Their motto, "United We Stand; Divided We Fall" has remained with me to this day. It is a motto that needs to be the focus for all people with disabilities. While we lobby for people with a particular disability, we need to bear in mind tha larger picture too.