Dear Seattle Seahawks,
I’ve been following what you’ve been doing in the autism community for the past several years now. It all started when I learned that Mr. John Schneider, your general manager has a son named Ben who’s on the autism spectrum. Then, The Seattle Times wrote a beautiful piece that made me understand more about their entire families journey. How they not only started a non-profit to help our autism families but how they got your team involved to help raise funds and awareness towards the cause. Than, this week I read another piece about how your team along with the Seahawks Women’s Association started a partnership with A OK Autism to provide toolkits to make CenturyLink Field where you play more autism friendly for our families!
— Autism Speaks (@autismspeaks) October 19, 2015
Growing up, I watched the NFL and thought to myself about how amazing it would be to have a vehicle such as a NFL team that receives millions of viewers every Sunday as part of our autism village. Because of your support we have now made that wish a reality today. You may not know it but your team will forever be a part of my village now as well. Ben’s story reminds me so much of my struggles growing up. I was diagnosed with autism at 4; a year after Ben was diagnosed at 3. My future was very uncertain. However, through 15 years of occupational, physical and speech therapy I was able to grow up to become a young adult who hopes to be a role model for people growing up with autism like Ben today.
I now hope that, if you ever read this letter that you will reach out to me in the hopes that we may be able to spread even more awareness in our autism community. As someone who was non-verbal till I was 2.5 and was once thought that I may one day be institutionalized, I can proudly say today that I’ve traveled the country as a national speaker talking to businesses such as American Express, Wyndham Worldwide and J.P Morgan Chase about overcoming obstacles on the spectrum. I hope as someone with autism I can now do that for your team.
I’m now one of your team’s #1 fans and I hope by your example we are going to make the world a more inclusive place for everyone with autism. Between making your games more autism-friendly, fundraising and your awareness campaigns, you are making a huge difference! Thank you for that.