|Lexi with her pet dogs Kermit and Marbles|
People can talk all the shit they want about New Jersey, but it takes a village to raise a child, and my non-verbal Autistic daughter Alexis is one of the sweetest, kindest, most well-behaved kids I have ever known in my life. She is growing up in a very Stars Hollow "If we burn, you burn with us" type of town, so on second thought, I can only speak for myself when it comes to the tolerance of a small town in NJ.
Why are we so tolerant of Autism here? Because of the Jersey Shore, of course:
Autistics LOVE water!
My kid's looks obviously don't hurt but they have nothing to do with how amazing she is. And she's amazing not just because I happen to be awesome at being a single mother even though I'm the baby (aka spoiled brat due to my one and only sibling being 8 years older and a second Mom to me) of my family, but because of the school she goes to and the treatment that has been available to her. It is also because of the treatment given to myself, her father, my parents, my family, friends, and acquaintances by people who are good at their job and make sure they do their job at no expense to us.
No expense to us because they would rather pay out of pocket and help the cause than choose to follow the money like Toucan Sam and join the 1%. The NJ PASC campus that my daughter goes to always needs donations, and I do my best with what I can work with. Charity begins in the home.
The best way to keep the power of tolerance going is to understand that nothing and no one will just hand it over to you: you have to take it, and if you can't take it outright, you fight for it.
Maybe it's the US army vet relatives in my blood, both alive and dead that's also talking right now, but hope is the only thing that is ever worth fighting for, because despite our differences as human beings, there is always one universal truth that can change enemies into allies: if there is hope, there is no room for fear.