**More of summer 2015**
Editor’s note: This was a very exciting evening for us! Dillan received the HollyRod Autism Champion Award at the DesignCare 2015 event, which gave him an opportunity to speak to more people about autism and the need for a shift in perceptions (He has a one-track mind!). How he made it down the red carpet (ok, it was purple) is beyond me, but he posed for pictures and actually typed for several different reporters…typing something different each time, but always a version of the same message – autistic people need to be heard. A big THANK YOU to HollyRod and their generous supporters for all they do for our community!
(Dillan’s acceptance speech)
Many autistic sons and daughters might get a moment now and then to find a way to communicate their thoughts. Many times a family member hears and sees old tough behavior and buys into the all powerful notion that autism is an overwhelming impossible assailant who has taken their child’s mind. Not until their child’s voice is heard by alternative communication are they able to see past the autism and discover their child. Having come this far, I have learned that we autistic people also want to be heard, not just for a reward, but because we are individuals who want to be in relationship as much as any of you. Getting this honor and having the opportunity to be allowed to be a representative for another perspective has been amazing. I so hope to change the way that autistic people are seen. I hope that you all can begin to let go of the same old beliefs and listen to autistic voices all over the world. We are people easily disregarded but we are more like you than you could ever imagine. Thank you.