My cause is autism research. My personal journey into the world of autism began at age 9 when my adopted brother (Harris) joined our family.
My parents told me that Harris could not talk. He looked like us, but he didn’t sound like us. I remember going to restaurants and watching the waitress ask for his order or him laughing hysterically in the grocery store for no apparent reason. Harris was always so organized; he would line up his toys and everything in his room had to be in its proper place. My grandmother would say “Harris is a creature of habit.” Harris never broke routine day after day, year after year.
As he got older, he learned the importance of eye contact and a firm handshake. Even now, when Harris walks into a room, he will greet everyone, sometimes even a stranger. Harris reminds all of us that people living with Autism are not invisible. My four-year-old says it best “Uncle Harris doesn’t talk because he has a different language, it’s not the same as ours.” I hope that the CFC is an opportunity to learn this new “language” and unlock mysteries in the world of autism through research.
Maj Lenora Alva, U.S. Air Force