A Call to Hope: A Response to Suzanne Wright’s "A Call to Action"

Sarah Broady
February 24, 2024

This past week, I joined hundreds of autism advocates at the Autism Speaks to Washington National Autism Summit in Washington, D.C. For the first time, I was surrounded for three days by people in all walks of life who all walk one path together: raising a child with autism. We spoke with each other about our children: their challenges AND their abilities. We talked about how hard some things are – like not being able to hug our children. Not knowing what it is they need despite our every attempt to aid them in communication. We discussed the efforts being made within our states to help our children by securing services for them that would enable them to learn to communicate, to learn coping skills in order not to hurt themselves or others, and to be able to function as independently as possible as they grow into adults. I heard over and over that parents were not out to “normalize”, “fix”, or even “cure” their kid. We all just want our children to experience life to its fullest, however they are able.We recognize autism in our child, and while autism certainly challenges us and our children, we celebrate the children we have been blessed to raise.

My heart was greatly saddened when I read Suzanne Wright’s blog post called “A Call to Action” on the Autism Speaks website the night before the summit. Suzanne and Bob Wright founded Autism Speaks in 2005. The article aptly describes what many, if not the majority, of families living with autism face every day:

“Maybe they have been up all night caring for their teenage child who’s having a seizure.
Maybe they are up yet again changing the sheets because there’s been another bed wetting accident.
Maybe their child has been trying to bite them or themselves.
Maybe they can’t afford the trip to a doctor specializing in autism.
Maybe there is a waiting-list for ABA, speech and OT. 
Maybe their insurance won’t pay.
Maybe they don’t have the money to pay a special lawyer to fight for school services.”

Of these descriptions, she says, “This is autism.”

She says that these families are not living. They are existing. Breathing. Eating. Maybe sleeping. Working 24/7. But not living.

“Life is lived moment-to-moment.  
In anticipation of the child’s next move.  
In despair.  
In fear of the future.” 
I cannot truthfully write that these statements are completely untrue. I know families who live the above every day. BUT, it is not the whole truth. Nor does it have to be the only truth for any parent.

When we first learned about my son’s autism, there was a point of devastation. There was a period of despair and fear. There was a time when I was barely existing. I lived with a thousand unanswered questions every single day. But this is NOT autism. 

No. My autistic son is not a devastation. His autism does not devastate him, nor us.

“For you formed my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
 Psalm 139:13-14

I no longer fear for his future. Wonder? Yes. Have some anxious thoughts? Sure. Plan? Absolutely.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, 
plans for welfare and NOT for calamity to give you a 
Jeremiah 2911
“For this reason I say to you,
do not be anxious for your life.
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow,
neither do they reap nor gather into barns
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not worth much more than they? 
Matthew 6:26
Fear and anxiety are natural parts of the lives of parents – ALL PARENTS. These emotions are elevated for those caring for children with ANY disability, autism included.
But it does not mean that parents don’t see any good in their children. It doesn’t mean we wish our children dead. It doesn’t mean we wish we had never had them. It doesn’t mean we want to eradicate our children with autism. Experiencing these feelings mean that we want the very best for our children and that we recognize that we don’t always have the control to secure the very best, whatever that means, for them.
The parents I met at the Autism Summit, hosted by Autism Speaks and founded by the woman whose article has set the autism world aflutter, ARE living. So are thousands of other families across the country. And so are autistic individuals themselves. Both children and adults.
Parents are loving their children. They are fighting to give their children what they deserve – a fair shot at living life to the fullest – however that is defined for that child when they are young and unable to define it for themselves, and however that child defines his/her life as an adult with autism. I love what Kerry Magro says in his book, Defining Autism From the Heart, “Autism can’t define me. I define autism.
We define things by how we experience them. Autism is experienced differently, even radically so, in every person affected by it. It is therefore defined by the person experiencing autism. And parents with autistic children define their own lives by how they experience their child with autism. All are valid experiences because they are true for each person. One cannot tell another they are wrong for defining autism a certain way. But we need to be careful when expressing our own experiences with autism that we do not impose our experience on the lives of others touched by it and speak for them in doing so.
Suzanne is right on many counts regarding the struggles parents face. But she is wrong when she stops short of showing the joy, the hope and the LIFE that families are living, even as they change bedsheets every day. Even as they wake up at 5am (or earlier) every day. Even as they struggle to communicate with their child. Maybe she doesn’t have joy or hope, and all she sees are the hardships. Maybe she does see the joy and hope, but is choosing to focus on the hardship to show the necessity for help and change. She has every right to express her own personal feelings. But it’s not fair to generalize her own experience to such a large organization made up of all kinds of people with a variety of experiences with autism.
For those who are short of hope – take heart. You may not be able to control your child’s behavior. You may fear for his future when you are gone and he is old. You may be depleted of mental, physical and emotional capabilities. But there is life with autism. 
“I came that they might have life, and have life abundantly.”  
John 10:10
Because this is my blog and I am telling my story, the hope with which we are living is founded not in Autism Speaks, but in the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is the one who has already defeated the brokenness of man and is making all things new. He is the one on whom my son’s future rests. He is the one who breathes life into us. He is the one who grants immeasurable joy in the son whose challenges with autism would seemingly command the opposite. 
I support most of the work that Autism Speaks is doing in fighting for the needs of children with autism. I fought with them on Capitol Hill speaking to Congressmen and senators. But Autism Speaks – through the words of its founder Suzanne Wright – does not speak for me. I bow to Jesus Christ who has spoken:
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. 
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; 
I have overcome the world.”  
John 16:33
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  
Romans 15:13
~ Sarah Broady ~

Meet Sarah

Sarah is a wife and mother to three sons, one of whom has autism. She is a writer, speaker, and producer and host of A Special Hope Podcast.


Listen Now

Discovering special hope in the stories of those living with special needs, those who strive to minister to special needs families, and the God who is making all things new. Available here, or anywhere you podcast.

If you are enjoying this site and the podcast, please consider a donation of any size to contribute to the costs associated with running a website and a podcast. Any and all gifts are greatly appreciated!

How Movies Helped Me as an Autistic Person

This guest post is by Samuel Broady, a young man who was diagnosed with autism at 2 and plans to attend Columbia College Chicago. Samuel is applying for the Spring 2023 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference.

Check out Sandra’s latest release,
Unexpected Blessings:

More From This Category

Great Expectations

Great Expectations

You don't know what you don't know. And you never know what to expect.I didn't know what to expect. December 20, 2007 was the day of our...

read more
Easter Episode: Redeeming Love by Anne Steele

Easter Episode: Redeeming Love by Anne Steele

Sarah talks through the hope of Easter with a reading of Anne Steele’s poem, Redeeming Love. Easter might look different this year, but we can still celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, all things new, and the hope of glory.

read more



  1. Susan

    Well spoken. Maybe you should forward it to Suzanne …

  2. 2justByou

    I'm so glad that there are summits like these where people in similar situations can come together and share their experiences. I'm really happy that you were able to attend.
    I'm a new follower (found you through the new SITS fb group).

  3. expired cialis 3 years

    Hello, tender thanks you in spite of facts! I repost in Facebook

  4. EverettNoB

    Hello, tender thanks you in regard to facts! viagra problem http://viapwronline.com I repost in Facebook.
    free viagra

  5. PeterMub

    Hello, row-boat thanks you http://cialisxtl.com in judge to facts! when is the best time to take cialis
    viagra coupons 75% off

  6. KelUnap

    Hydrochlorothiazide Hypertension Renfrewshire viagra vs cialis Topical Propecia Uses

  7. StevWhatry

    Bactrim Prescription Urethritis cialis discount programs for accutane Cephalexin Or Zythromax Cialis Muskelaufbau

  8. WayneVix

    Cialis 30ml liquid cialis cialis maximum dosage

  9. RobertBok

    buy generic levitra online cheap cialis paypal buy cialis cheap us pharmacy

  10. RobertBok

    cheap generic levitra online brand levitra for sale order real cialis online

  11. DeabKapy

    cheap cialis/ viagra levitra cialis prices 20mg can you buy levitra walmart

  12. estratégias de marketing facebook

    Ler para encontrar informações de marketing detalhadas que irão ajudá-lo a se conectar facilmente com seus clientes.

  13. DeabKapy

    safest place to buy cialis online cialis lowest price 20mg cheapest generic levitra online

  14. DeabKapy

    cheap brand name viagra cialis prices 20mg buy viagra und cialis

  15. DeabKapy

    cheap viagra cialis ed pills where to get cialis cheap

  16. DeabKapy

    viagra online order no prescription buy generic viagra cheap viagra tablets uk

  17. DeabKapy

    buy viagra kamagra levitra coupon – cialis pills color

  18. DeabKapy

    viagra sale leeds levitra generic – can you buy cialis over the counter in usa

  19. DeabKapy

    buy in real viagra viagra pills – generic cialis canada

  20. DeabKapy

    cialis pills dosage buy viagra – buy viagra in new zealand

  21. DeabKapy

    buy levitra in australia cialis – cialis pills used

  22. Best Alcohol Rehab Centers

    Christian Drug Rehab Near Me http://aaa-rehab.com Drug Rehab http://aaa-rehab.com Outpatient Rehab Centers Near Me

  23. DeabKapy

    how do i order cialis http://aralenph.com – alaren online order levitra now

  24. DeabKapy

    order viagra australia http://zithazi.com – generic zithromax can buy viagra vietnam

  25. acarie

    This company values fairness and equality by creating a mutually beneficial platform where both writers and clients can interact without feeling that one of them feeling like they are being looked upon by the company.
    paper writing services We have always been in line with serving customers, creating value management objectives and adhering to the sincerity, dedication, persistent management idea.

  26. Nersape

    We do hope that the information will help you to find the writing service of the right type, and it will become your loyal assistant at the time of need.
    write my papers Little attention is paid to form of comprehensive nursing care assessments, case man-agement, and documentation of nursing policies and practice is used on a daily basis in all health care settings.

  27. Nersape

    Those who do not have any time to produce their academic papers, or are entirely unsure of how to build a piece of work required as part of a course, are the prime target-audience of our service. write my paper cheap Our extensive innovative range of custom shaped paperclips, logo printed customized packets, corporate paperclips gives you the creative freedom you need for your next corporate promotional campaign.

  28. flueneup

    As a professional essay writing service, we do realize that there is a crucial need to distinguish ourselves from other writing companies on the market. write my paper for me The label on the cleaning product will give you an idea of the specific purposes for which it can be used efficiently and also about the precautions you need to take to make it work.

  29. Keyprow

    As the customer of a writing service, you hire a writer for assistance, providing instructions, suggestions, and feedback, which makes you the co-author of the final work. write my paper With an exception faculty, numerous unique courses, and plenty of opportunity for writing, editing, and workshop experience, this creative writing track is a recipe for success for any writer.

  30. price of cialis

    very bag [url=http://cialisles.com#]price of cialis[/url] whatever put far nasty
    cialis online generic apothecary ca apart soil price of cialis below independence http://www.cialisles.com/

  31. acarie

    Descriptive essay about medicine how to write a good thesis statement in an essay example history essay questions. hearthealthheroes This tour is not recommended for guests with mobility challenges, suffering from back or neck problems, nor for pregnant women.

  32. Unsolell

    Passed ball abgegrenzt war, partnertest kostenlos worauf ihn zwang, sie harrten, dem schmusetier mit verteidigung rufen, wie. wincustomerswebsites Abstraktum, welches sehr oft vollkommen falsch gedeutet, interpretiert, verwendet und propagiert wird.

  33. Padrath

    Enjoy a drink, relax the mind and unwind the body amongst comfortable furnishings and the haven of sweeping bougainvillea and the weeping bottle brush tree. lapnl The hair is located on and around the sex organs and sometimes at the top of the inside ofthe thighs.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This